Contemporary doesn’t have to mean cold and austere – on the contrary contemporary design can be warm and inviting, even if everything is white. If this surprises you then take a look at some of the beautiful kitchens that Mark Johnson and his partner in design and son, Jacob, have been designing for their Beau-Port Kitchens clients.
I visited one of Beau-Port’s projects recently, stepping into Jo Bowler’s new all white kitchen and media area to see how imaginative design, stylish lighting and shape all conspire to create one of the most welcoming kitchens I have ever seen. I sat down at Jo’s new circular breakfast bar and wanted to stay there all day. Complete with delicate beaded lighting that encompasses the central island, Jo says it adds enormous atmosphere to the large open plan space that she and her family have loved since the moment it was installed.

Rotpunkt Zerox High Gloss & Grey Wild Oak Kitchen. Medstead, Hampshire.

The beautiful curved breakfast bar, created by Wharf Solid Surfaces for Mrs Bowler in Medstead, Hampshire.

This beautiful Rotpunkt kitchen has given Jo and her family so much. She loves her central island more than anything else, cooking for her children from one side of it while they sit at the long circular end on cosy bar stools chatting to her about their day, doing a bit of homework, playing with their iPads or slipping over to the media centre area with its matching Rotpunkt units to watch a bit of TV. The new kitchen has made the world of difference to Jo and she comments about how the children all want to be together with her in the open plan area, rather than retreating to their bedrooms.
Other areas of the new Rotpunkt kitchen that Jo is really enjoying include the convenient tall larder units that Mark designed, as Jo definitely didn’t want specific wall units over work tops. Clutter was something else Jo wanted to avoid, with a specially designed unit to hide all the daily clutter to keep work surfaces nice and clear. So Mark designed a neat counter top shutter unit that hides the kettle and hot drink making things in the Rotpunkt white and complemented by Grey Wild Oak panels to add a colour contrast to the contemporary theme of the kitchen.

Rotpunkt Cubica High Gloss Kitchen

Rotpunkt Cubica High Gloss Kitchen

Rotpunkt’s Grey Wild Oak was used in the design of another Beau-Port kitchen for Christine Boot and to great effect to form a completely flush floor to ceiling wall of units. Like Jo Bowler, Christine loves the fact that there are no handles needed on the sleek Rotpunkt kitchen furniture – just soft touch and open for each individual unit. Her wall of cupboards is also free of outside handles and surrounds her stylish stainless steel fridge freezer, adding considerable warmth in both colour and texture to her kitchen. The bead-like threads of lights also help to create an intimate atmosphere around the Rotpunkt units and floating shelves, while the high gloss sand units give a neutral backdrop to Christine’s dramatic colour scheme. She commented that she and her husband spend most evenings in the kitchen now, chatting and playing on their iPads, rather than glued to the TV.
Rotpunkt has a history of designing and creating intricate wooden products for the home that dates back to 1930, moving into designing kitchen furniture in the late 1940’s. The company is now a highly regarded player in this field of design and manufacture, with an international reputation for producing the highest quality products using the latest manufacturing technology.
Mark Johnson wanted to partner with a company that would produce the best contemporary kitchens that would last for many decades, stand the test of time and never look dated. The Rotpunkt kitchens have delivered on all levels and Beau-Port now has many satisfied customers like Jo and Christine who just love so many things about their Beau-Port designed and installed Rotpunkt kitchens.

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 chintz’. The return of colour and pattern back on the interiors ‘cat-walk’ (namely the interiors media), is clear to see in recent years.  The interiors writers are now saying that natural textures and patterns in textiles and homeware are the next big thing. Maybe not a return of chintz 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.

Handmade In-Frame Shaker Kitchen in Blackened

Handmade In-Frame Shaker Kitchen using vibrant natural colour on island

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.

“One of the major benefits of having one of our handmade painted kitchens, 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 in our Total Control AGA in one of our show kitchens

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 backdrop 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 of 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.

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