houzz interior design ideas

The Ibbotson's kitchen, designed by Beau-Port Kitchen, featured in EKBB magazine July '16

One of the first things most people do when considering a new kitchen, is to buy a bunch of interiors magazines for ideas and inspiration. One of the UK’s leading interiors magazines, ‘Essential Kitchen Bathroom and Bedroom’ magazine, recently selected a Beau-Port project for one of their main editorial features (July 2016 issue). The nine page feature focuses on the fascinating story of Jo and Dave Ibbotson’s new build eco-home on the borders of Surrey and Hampshire. It explains how they called upon the expertise of Beau-Port’s Mark Johnson, who helped them create a statement kitchen as part of their large open-plan living and dining space.

The Ibbotson's kitchen, designed by Beau-Port Kitchen, featured in EKBB magazine July '16.

The contrasting working side of the Beau-Port designed kitchen featured in Essential Kitchens magazine

The major design focal point of the kitchen is an industrial-inspired stainless steel island and Jo Ibbotson explains this choice in the article. “It’s handsome, chunky proportions suit the scale of the room, and we love the contrast of the textured raw-look oak breakfast bar against the sleek steel.”

The extensive editorial feature uses full page photographs of different angles of the kitchen, giving readers the opportunity to really get a feel for how Beau-Port’s design expertise created a unique kitchen, that perfectly balances dark and light shades and contrasting materials.

The article tells the couple’s story of how the kitchen design evolved to become a mix of steel, white, carbon and oak to create this striking contemporary kitchen. Mark was also featured in a Question and Answer section of the article, explaining his approach to the design:

EKBB: How did you begin the design?
Mark: Jo and Dave chose the stainless steel island to make a stylish feature in the room, so that was the starting point. It is custom made at over 3m long, with an integrated sink, seamless worktop and side panels that sweep to the floor, making it an eye-catching design. To add more interest and provide a soft and warm contrast to the cool steel, the attached breakfast bar has a painted and distressed oak effect finish, to work with the warmth of the solid oak floor and beams.

Can you tell us about the wall furniture?
Picking up on the drawers in Snow matt lacquer on one side of the island and Carbon on the other, the base units are finished in the same white. The wall units in the same Carbon are designed to tie the look together, and provide more storage. The handleless design is clean-lined and contemporary, in keeping with the linear island, while the slender black granite worktop echoes the monochromatic look.

And the hood?
In a large open plan room, the ducting required for a conventional extractor hood above an island can be unsightly. This Twister design has a stylish black aluminium finish and integrated LED lighting, does not require ducting, is easy to install and uses an ionisation system to purify the air.

The full article, by leading interiors writer Amelia Thorpe, is in the magazine’s July ’16 issue.

We only have to look at the fashion pages and on-line fashion sites to see how styles come full circle again, and the clothes that some of us wore in the 80’s and 90’s, have again become key fashion statements of today. The same is true of interior design.  Some of us may remember the TV campaign from a certain Swedish company a few years ago that prompted us all to ‘chuck out the chinz’. The return of colour and pattern back on the interiors ‘cat-walk’ (namely the interiors media), is clear to see in recent years.  The interior writers are now saying that natural textures and patterns in textiles and home ware are the next big thing. Maybe not a return of chinz perhaps, but a more sophisticated way to bring floral and other images of nature back into the home. Up until recent years people were also chucking out furniture by iconic furniture makers such as Ercol, which is now widely sought after and fetching top dollar prices.  Their arch back chairs with delicate spindles and tapered elegant legs are the perfect fit for any modern kitchen, living, dining space.  Some have been restored and repainted in contemporary bright colours, bright yellow, turquoise, red and classic cobalt, bringing them right up to date.  The timeless style of the Ercol range allows them to fit into any type of kitchen from traditional Shaker to the ultimate contemporary design.  Ercol is a great example of enduring style and quality.

Shaker Kitchen in Juniper Ash Blue

A sneak peek at one Beau-Port Kitchens most recent installs…

Our colour palette has also been extended in recent years – remember the sad, bland old days of ‘magnolia’ paint everywhere.  At Beau-Port we see clients who may have chosen one of our traditional Shaker style kitchen designs, yet are being more daring in their paint colour choices for the furniture.  Those who have opted for the more muted colours of the Farrow and Ball range for their new bespoke Shaker style kitchen, are then adding splashes of bright, vibrant complementary colours with painted furniture, ornaments, accessories, coloured appliances, abundant bowls of colourful fruit or vibrant orchids.

Handmade In-Frame Shaker Kitchen in Blackened

Handmade In-Frame Shaker Kitchen in Blackened

“One of the major benefits of having one of our handmade painted kitchen, is the option to change the colour to suit changing tastes and styles,” commented Mark Johnson, Beau-Port’s Design Director.  “By simply changing the colour and perhaps the handles, you can transform your bespoke kitchen to keep up with changing trends.  Or  change the colour of a central island into something brighter or much darker, can give your kitchen a totally different look and feel.”

Ted the dog in front of our British Total Control AGA.

Ted the dog in front of our British Total Control AGA.

The cooking icon of all time, AGA, now has a full range of colour options for their much-loved ranges, including ‘Heather’ – one of the 15 different colours available and the colour of the AGA range in Beau-Port’s AGA Kitchen showroom in our 2000 sq ft showroom at Bentworth, near Alton in Hampshire. Keeping a fairly neutral back drop to your colour scheme, accenting with brighter, stronger colours is a good way of bringing colour back into your home with individual pieces of furniture, cushions, throws and accessories such as ornaments, that can be changed each season and is a good way of adapting a colour scheme to fit the time of year. Maybe it is our need for nostalgia, to keep revisiting the past and to bring parts of it back into our present.  Even when we look at the most modern style of kitchen or architecture, with its simplicity of line, its uncluttered appearance, its freshness, we need to remember that even the most contemporary designs today have come full circle as well.  The natural textures and patterns that reflect aspects from nature, that are apparently the next big thing, have been seen before in the Arts and Crafts movement that flourished between 1880 and 1910. The clean, simple lines of contemporary interiors and architecture can be seen during the Art Deco era dated from 1925.  Our designer Jacob Johnson recently designed a very contemporary kitchen for a boutique B & B in an Art Deco house on the South Coast.  The German Rotpunkt kitchen was designed by Jacob to include a screened office area for the B & B business and hidden utility room. This striking, very cutting edge kitchen design looks perfectly at home in this modernistic building.

A new study from the International Longevity Centre suggests that up to a third of home-owners aged over 55 are considering or are expected to downsize.   The figure is considerably higher if those who have already sold their homes and bought somewhere smaller are included – as high as one in two or almost 50%.

The benefits of down sizing your home can mount up to a long list, including the lower costs of maintaining a smaller home, releasing equity to travel, or to buy a holiday home or just to have the funds to enjoy a whole range of hobbies and pastimes.

With more and more people in this age group realising that downsizing can be a great opportunity to have less house and garden maintenance, lower utility, local rates bills and insurance premiums – all adding up to considerable financial savings.

This group may now have empty nested with grown up children now living their own lives in their own homes.  Yet the prospect of downsizing can be such an exciting and rewarding time giving purchasers both the funds and the desire to make their move into a smaller property an opportunity to have exactly what they want in that new home.

At Beau-Port we have had numerous down sizing clients who have the time and funds to invest in the kitchens and interiors projects that they really want, often viewing the smaller properties as their forever homes, so they are looking for quality, style, value and good service.

Moving into a smaller home, with possibly a smaller kitchen doesn’t mean you have to compromise on storage space either.  Our designers are skilled at making the most of every available piece of space, with ingenious solutions creating extra storage. We fitted out a relatively small kitchen in a period character cottage, having to use the original ‘footprint’ for the kitchen layout, yet our designers created a great deal of additional storage space.

Also the creation of multi-function rooms can help those downsizing to have a greater sense of space with the trend for more open plan living combining kitchen, dining and living spaces. We have also helped clients to make the most of their upstairs accommodation, with one project combining a spacious dressing room that was combined to also be a very professional looking home office.

So for those who are considering downsizing, or who have recently moved home, take a look at our new digital brochure which will show you a whole range of inspiring kitchens and interiors projects we have completed.  You can download our digital brochure by clicking on this link.

Home improvements.

Last year a survey by the National Association of Estate Agents revealed the top home improvements that could add the best value to your property.  Adding a bedroom, usually by converting loft space was quoted as being the best modification, with a third of respondents suggesting a new kitchen added the best value.

Conservatories and converting garages into living space also came high on the list.

At Beau-Port we work closely with our clients to make the most of their home improvements, helping them to achieve the best projects for all areas of their homes, not just kitchens but utility, laundry and boot rooms, fitted bedroom furniture for bedrooms, dressing rooms and walk in wardrobes, home offices and media rooms.

But the room that always comes top of the list in terms of adding other kinds of value such as improved lifestyle, comfort, appeal and saleability always seems to be the kitchen.  Especially the new trend towards having open plan kitchens which combine dining and living space.

The kitchen has always been seen as the heart of the home and improvements to this important area are not only in terms of the value that may be added to the property, but also about the improvements to the quality of life.

Mrs Bowlers central island allows her guests and family to sit around her while she prepares the meals.

Mrs Bowler’s central island allows her guests and family to sit around her while she prepares the meals.

At Beau-Port so many of our clients feed back the other important values and advantages of having a new kitchen – how much more time they spend together as a couple or family.  Someone can be cooking dinner, while children sit around a central island doing home-work, or friends can sit there and chat to the cook, who is no longer isolated in another room remote from the living and dining areas.  Some of the adjacent living areas can range from a few cosy seats by a patio door overlooking a garden, to more spacious living areas with wood burning stoves, huge comfortable sofas and wide-screen TV’s installed in one of our Beau-Port designed media centres.

These are special spaces that are bringing families back together again and as one of our clients commented: “Mark’s initial designs were amazing, he understood exactly what I wanted and it was great to see the 3D designs and his great attention to every detail.  He has created a kitchen that is the heart of the home and where everyone could relax and enjoy the space together.  It has really changed the way we live.  The family gathers around the central island and my children are spending more time with me and together, rather than in their respective bedrooms.”  Jo Bowler

So it’s not only about the possible increase in value or saleability that a new kitchen or interiors project could give you, it can be about a whole range of other more meaningful values and benefits!

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