A new kitchen is an investment both financially and emotionally. While a kitchen project is exciting and rewarding, the process requires an investment of money and time and it can be an interruption to family life, so people tend to keep their kitchens for many years. One way to make your kitchen stand the test of time is to choose a handmade kitchen that is built to last and update it as time goes by. So, what makes handmade kitchens perfect for this and how can you update your handmade kitchen to give the design a new lease of life?


How long a kitchen lasts depends on several factors such as the quality of the kitchen furniture, how heavily used it is and how the design fairs as trends change. As we explore in this article, thoughtful design can play a part in ensuring that your kitchen design has a timeless feel. However, another way to ensure that your kitchen stands the test of time is to choose a handmade kitchen that is exceptionally well made in a design that is suited to be updated.


Handmade kitchens of superior quality are more robust and durable than flat-packed alternatives. Handmade kitchens are built using high-quality materials such as oak and walnut, as opposed to chipboard or MDF. The construction of a handmade kitchen also provides additional strength as the cabinets are often assembled in the workshop rather than on-site and specialist joints such as dovetail drawers add extra stability.

A dovetail joint is crafted by finishing one panel with a series of pins that intersect with the tails on the panel that it is being joined to. This interlocking technique makes dovetail joins incredibly resistant to being pulled apart and is more robust than a join where two panels meet and are glued or screwed together.

It’s because of this quality in materials and construction that handmade kitchens have been known to last 20, 30 or even 40 years. If you know that your kitchen will last several decades, you can invest in confidence to enjoy the experience of a beautifully crafted kitchen in your home.


While having a kitchen that lasts 30 years is an exciting concept, we know that what is considered current today will be very different in 30 years, so how do you keep your kitchen looking current? One option is to choose a hand-painted finish. Not only will you be able to design your kitchen in any colour of your choosing, but you will also have the freedom to update the colour to completely transform the look of your kitchen in the future. As well as updating the paint colour, you can go one step further to update the worktops, handles and other accessories too.


The handmade Extreme kitchen below is a perfect example of how you can update your handmade kitchen to completely transform its design. First installed in 2009, this kitchen has been updated several times to create three very different looks. Read on to see photos of each look and learn how to upgrade your existing kitchen.

Handmade English Kitchen Handpainted Green

2009: Look 1 – Orange & Zebrano

This kitchen certainly wasn’t afraid to make a statement when it was first installed. Burnt orange cabinetry and striking Zebrano wood give the kitchen a bold and vibrant aesthetic. The layout of the kitchen itself makes a statement too. The area in which the kitchen sits is a square and could lend itself to an L-shaped kitchen, however by designing an S-shaped peninsula the kitchen offers additional work surface space for food preparation, storage and bar seating for three people. The White Spring Granite worktops have a golden veining pattern which pairs perfectly with the orange kitchen doors.

Handmade Kitchens in Orange and Wood

2012: Look 2 – Elephant’s Breath & Zebrano

Three years later, we gave the kitchen a new look by re-painting the cabinetry in Farrow & Ball Elephant’s Breath. With some quality paint and the patience and skill of our specialist painter, the transformation was astonishing. As the Zebrano wood is a natural material it had lightened in the sunlight to give off more muted wooden tones. Rather than stain and treat the Zebrano to restore its original appearance we chose to keep the Zebrano as it was and embrace the lighter finish.

Handmade Kitchens - Hand Painted

2019: Look 3 – Drawing Room Green & Timber

2019 prompted another renovation of this kitchen. The entire kitchen was repainted in Farrow & Ball Drawing Room green and the Zebrano handles were replaced with dark stained timber handles. For the first time, the Zebrano feature panels and mirror on the back wall were swapped for an antique bronze mirror. Bronze mirror is a popular choice with our clients as it brings an elegance and softness that can’t be achieved with a clear glass mirror. The mirror is finished with bevelled edges and bronze glass shelves, perfect for displaying objet d’art and botanicals. The barstools, Buster+Punch pendant lighting and accessories were also updated to reflect the new design.

Handmade English Kitchen Handpainted Green


This kitchen features the Origin door, designed in the early 2000s by Marcello Cuconato, Extreme’s Creative Director. Origin is a contemporary take on traditional English furniture, offering a modern alternative to the shaker kitchen. The Origin combines much-loved features of traditional style handmade kitchens with European styling to bridge the gap between classic and contemporary design. Classic features such as the in-frame cabinetry, wooden carcasses and drawers create a feeling of craftsmanship and authenticity, while the flat panel door and modern inset handle give the design a contemporary European aesthetic.

Fundamentally, it’s the quality and versatility of Origin that makes this kitchen stand the test of time. Expertly crafted in walnut, the kitchen offers everything that you would wish for from an English kitchen; dovetail joints, wooden cutlery inserts and bespoke engravings. The kitchen looks as good on the inside as it does on the outside, a testament to the artisan skills that went into making it. The inset handle can be finished in almost any material of your choosing, including wood, metal, stone or leather. Combine almost unlimited paint colours and handle finishes and you have one truly versatile kitchen design.

To find out more about Origin, or to explore how we can help you to create a kitchen design that will stand the test of time, contact the designers at one of our studios.

You are also invited to pop into our London and Buckinghamshire kitchen studios where Origin is on show, to experience the quality and craftsmanship for yourself.