Extreme Studio Focus: London
Luxury London Kitchen Designers Since 1993
At Extreme, we have designed luxury kitchens for homes in Central London and the surrounding suburbs for three decades, leading us to open our third studio in the leafy suburb of Barnes in 2014.
In this article, we introduce our London studio and offer a peek behind the doors to reveal what you will find during your visit. Also, Barnes Studio Manager Jade Jones provides insight into Extreme’s London projects and why a unique design approach is required to achieve the very best from homes in the capital.
Barnes: A Country Village With London on the Doorstep
Barnes is a London suburb known for offering a village way of life. Only 5 miles from Charing Cross and a 25-minute train journey from Waterloo, Barnes feels a world away from the city’s bustling energy. Handsome Victorian townhouses on quiet residential roads sit beside green spaces, nature reserves and quality independent shops.
Our studio is conveniently located on the corner of Church Road and Castlenau. Set across two floors with a striking double aspect, the spacious studio showcases several kitchen displays in modern and traditional styles. On the street level, two kitchen displays in dramatically different styles demonstrate the breadth and design freedom possible with an Extreme kitchen.
On the left is a contemporary kitchen inspired by travels in Asia featuring a unique island with statement drawers in burnt orange and an intersecting triangular breakfast bar with bronze detailing. The statement drinks cabinet with pocket doors features a bespoke metal feature panel reflecting the story behind the design.
Opposite, a hand-painted kitchen demonstrates a modern alternative to the classic shaker. The handcrafted cabinetry features walnut burr handle inlays combined with curved features such as an intersecting butcher’s block display cabinet and an integrated dining table. Bespoke features such as the pantry with hand-carved labels demonstrate the unlimited opportunities for customisation offered with our handmade English furniture.
Introducing Jade Jones, Studio Manager of Extreme Barnes
Jade has been an integral team member since joining the brand in 2009. In her current role as Studio Manager, Jade oversees projects in London and key locations throughout the UK.
Read on for Jade’s insight into some of the special considerations when designing kitchens for homes in London.
Tell Us About Extreme’s London Kitchen Design Projects
“London is an incredible city, world-renowned for its rich architectural heritage. An eclectic mix of architecture from Gothic to art deco, Georgian to Victorian, and neoclassical gives the capital city a character unlike anywhere else.
For our London clients, owning a home in the capital is to own a piece of architectural history, whether by becoming a custodian of a historical building in Central London or building a new home in a London suburb that will become a piece of modern history.
One of my favourite aspects about designing for London properties is the wide variety of projects. At any one time, our projects can include individual apartments in Mayfair, Belgravia, Regent’s Park, Knightsbridge, Kensington, and Chelsea, Victorian townhouses in Barnes, Richmond and Putney, and ambitious client builds in the suburbs of St Johns Wood, Hampstead, and Blackheath.
What are some of the special considerations when designing kitchens for London homes?
“London projects differ from those outside the city, such as in the home counties. Heritage buildings and compact floorplans don’t offer the same flexibility as the expansive mansions of Virginia Water, for example, so we take a specific design approach for our clients. The main considerations are:
- Architectural style
- Compact Footprints
- Basement & Loft Conversions
- Grade Listed Properties
We can look at each of these in more detail.
“What I love about London is the juxtaposition of different architectural styles layered on top of one another. The old against the new. This doesn’t just relate to new build properties; we often see modern cube-like extensions intersecting with a property full of character packed with original features.
It is key for us as designers to consider both a property’s exterior as well as interior features when designing. Not only to inform the perimeters of the space but also as a source of inspiration for the design. An example of this is a kitchen designed for a Georgian-style property, for which we reflected the stepped detail of the original coving in the kitchen doors and other design features. Simple details such as this enhance the design and make the kitchen feel like part of the building rather than an addition.
When working on a character property, it is important that we draw on the home’s features to enhance the design and vice versa. In a recent project in North London, the kitchen was relocated from the basement to the front room at the ground floor level. The front room had beautiful period features such as an original bay window and fireplace with feature arched alcoves on either side. By incorporating the alcoves into the kitchen design and introducing a stone shelf detail, the kitchen feels at one with the architecture and celebrates the history of the building.”
City Townhouse Footprint
“Whilst London properties generally have a smaller footprint than homes in the home counties, it’s the intricate details of the space that present the design challenges. Chimney breasts, columns, beams, and service pipes all must be considered when designing the layout of the space. Clients are often retrofitting heating and air-cooling systems too, which need to be hidden and accommodated within the furniture.
It is important with smaller spaces to ensure the design of the living space is functional with plenty of storage as well as being aesthetically pleasing and proportionate to the room. In simpler designs, it is often the details and materials that enhance the design. The use of bold colours and introducing a mixture of textures can make a simple design more visually appealing and interesting whilst remaining functional for everyday life.”
Basement & Loft Conversions
“With limited space at ground level, lots of clients consider either loft conversions or basement extensions. These projects are normally on a longer time frame through planning and construction. Generally, they are quite simple to design as it’s an entirely new space and normally a larger floor plan.
If the ceilings are low, this is a different consideration to ground floor designs, as light is often an important element to clients when they look to extend down. There are normally skylights/tunnels to consider and how they interact with the living space below. There is also normally a requirement for structural columns that need to be considered in the layout of the design. There are many clever ways to disguise or hide these elements, such as building cabinetry around them or applying a mirror finish so the column disappears.”
“London has one of the highest densities of listed properties in England, making it an important factor when we design kitchens and fitted furniture for London homes. Rules and regulations can vary per council, so it’s beneficial to have a team of specialists with prior experience working with listed properties. By knowing the limitations upfront, we can propose designs that meet regulations from the start, making the process simpler for the client. Collaboration is also essential between all designers and architects to ensure that all regulations are followed.
As designers, it is our responsibility to create sensitive designs that preserve the building’s architectural or historic interest. The restrictions placed on Grade I or Grade II listed properties can offer a unique opportunity to think differently and explore creative ways to marry modern lifestyle and design with heritage. We are currently working on a Grade II listed project with a chimney breast that can’t be compromised and we must keep the readability of the form, so we designed the kitchen to sit around the chimney breast.”
If you seek a kitchen design specialist with extensive local knowledge and a vast portfolio of successful London projects, contact the Extreme Barnes studio. We would be delighted to answer any questions or arrange a complimentary appointment to discuss your project.
Call 020 8846 8000 or request an appointment online.