FOR THE LOVE OF KITCHENS – A KITCHEN FOR ENTERTAINING
1st November 2021
I’m back for another episode recap, and today we’re visiting quite an unusual home, an old schoolhouse in London with the most gorgeous original features and dramatic tall ceilings, but a rather disorganised and dysfunctional kitchen… The owner, Rachel, lives in one of my favourite parts of London, Brixton, an area famed for its food, shops and eclectic nightlife. It’s the perfect spot for Rachel, who loves nothing more than entertaining friends and family and cooking up a storm in her kitchen. However, her love of entertaining has been made slightly tricky since moving into the Old Schoolhouse, as she has almost no storage, the drawers don’t work, and the freezer is miles away from the kitchen, hidden under the stairs! Our challenge this week was to transform this clumsy kitchen into a host’s paradise, fit for drinks, parties, and long Sunday lunches.
Paul discusses how to create the perfect kitchen for entertaining.
This episode treated us to the very satisfying process of watching an old kitchen get ripped out, plus Rachel’s friends helping her paint the walls. In a rather adorable moment, Beattie the dog attempted to get involved with the decorating and ended up running away with a brush, dripping paint all over the 100-year-old wooden floors and staining herself white in the process!Walls before and after! Picture by Rachel, @symphonyhouse_london
Meanwhile at Cotes Mill, after a detour to the workshop to watch Rachel’s cupboards get put together, we once again returned to the ceramics studio, where Paul and Claire decided to take on the rather daunting challenge of making a handmade ceramic teapot. This turned out to be a very long and arduous process, where the colours of the glaze would change dramatically if Claire changed the chemical ingredients even a little bit, where many teapots were lost to the temperamental nature of the kiln and Paul’s personal bug-bear, many a spout was produced which dripped after tea was poured…
Paul chats about our latest foray into ceramic tableware!
Paul explains why making a teapot is so tricky.
After much trial and error, they settled on the perfect hand-thrown teapot, however, that was when we hit the next roadblock, the teapots were taking too long to produce and would be much too expensive to sell. Luckily, we have an incredibly talented ceramics team, and Ellie suggested we try slipcasting the teapots, something that would allow us to increase our numbers and speed whilst still keeping that perfectly imperfect handmade feel.
Paul explains how slipcasting works.
Paul and Ellie take a look at the slipcast teapot.
As Paul says, working with ceramics can be exhausting, and it can be easy to give up, especially when you hit as many issues as we did making this teapot. But we’re so glad the team kept going, because the final result is the most beautiful teapot, made even more special by all the time and passion that went into making it.The final deVOL teapot!
This was a particularly special episode because we got to follow not one, but two customers as they had a deVOL kitchen installed! Our second couple, Doug and Danielle, live in an incredible home called Priory House in St. Neots in Cambridgeshire, a town that goes back to the iron age! Incredibly, this house is over 500 years old and was built during the Tudor period. In fact, the priory that this house is named after was a victim of Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th Century. In its long history, Priory House has been occupied by a Boy Scout Troop, a brewery, and most recently offices. All of this made transforming the building back into a home a mammoth task. Since moving in, Doug and Danielle have tackled 20 of the rooms, but have lived for 6 (!!!) years without a kitchen. Because of this, it was particularly special to see Doug, Danielle and their family enjoy a meal in their completed deVOL kitchen.
Discovering an Inglenook fireplace (a traditional large, open fireplace) in Doug and Danielle’s kitchen.
Danielle explains why the kitchen is so important to her.
For their kitchen, Doug and Danielle chose a dramatic San Simone quartzite worktop alongside a few of our Shaker cupboards dipped in ‘Bakehouse Green’. Their boot room was similarly dark and moody, and we designed some lovely lift-up bench seats to store away shoes and floor-to-ceiling cupboards for their outdoor equipment. But we didn’t stop there! Doug and Danielle also asked us to create a bright utility room to make family life run more smoothly, so we went for our sunny ‘Scullery Yellow’ to make the chores a little more fun!Doug and Danielle’s moody kitchen. Photos by @prioryhouserestoration. The ‘Bakehouse Green’ boot room. The ‘Scullery Yellow’ utility room.
Back in London, the big day has finally arrived, and it’s time for Rachel’s kitchen to be installed. One of our favourite parts of the show has been highlighting the skill of all the incredible people who work at deVOL, and this week we get to meet Ged, one of our fantastic fitters. Installers are often the unsung heroes of a renovation project, but they are vital to making sure the kitchen actually looks good in your home. From adjusting the height of cupboard legs, to scribing wood around wonky brick walls, our fitters give that final personal touch which makes a deVOL kitchen so special.
Ged discusses the final step in a deVOL project, installation!
With the kitchen installed, the only thing left to do is sit back and have a nice cup of tea! So Helen headed down to London to visit Rachel with our brand new teapot.
The first cup of tea from our deVOL teapot!
From a poky, disorganised kitchen, to a space fit for entertaining all of Rachel’s friends, I was blown away by the finished result of this project, and now I’m wondering how I can wangle an invite to her next Sunday roast!Tall ceilings and original wooden floors, dreamy! How satisfying are all these organised jars? The Brixton kitchen in all its glory!
If you too are an avid host, check out Rachel’s kitchen directory to create your own space perfect for parties…
R A C H E L ‘ S K I T C H E N D I R E C T O R Y
Kitchen Range – The Real Shaker Kitchen
Cupboard Colour – ‘Mushroom’ by deVOL
Wall Colour – Original brick walls painted in standard plain white
Industrial Island – Existing stainless steel island by Bulthaup
Worktops – Honed Carrara marble
Handles – deVOL’s Shaker painted knobs in Mushroom, Antique silver cupboard catches & Pewter cup handles
Tap – Stainless steel tap by Grohe
Sink – Undermount stainless seek sink integrated within island
Oven – by Bosch
Fridge – Fisher & Paykel 90cm fridge / freezer with ice maker
Flooring – Original school floorboards
Lighting – by Loaf
Stools – Helen’s Stools by deVOL
Jars – Weck jars
Painting – (on wall by the sink) by Jonquil Williamson
Rachel and Helen enjoy a cup of tea in her completed kitchen.
Gosh, I’m not sure how we squeezed all of that into forty minutes!! If you want to catch the full episode, head to discovery+ or the Magnolia Network, and if you’re having trouble watching, do take a look at my blog where I break down all the instructions you’ll need. But perhaps the most exciting news this week is that all our lovely followers in Canada and The Philippines can now watch the show on discovery+! We can’t wait to hear what you think and see all your favourite moments, it still blows our minds to know that people are taking a look inside deVOL all over the world!