2017 is the Bicentenary of the death of Jane Austen, who spent the last years of her life living at Chawton, just a short drive from our Beau-Port showrooms. As a resident of Chawton, I get free access to Jane Austen’s House and Museum and one of my favourite parts of the house is the kitchen. I love the simplicity of this restored kitchen and I can imagine how people lived and worked in it two hundred years ago.
You enter the kitchen from an outside door, the only entrance and exit to this room, keeping it separate from the rest of the house. A simple stone floor and furnishings of a large kitchen table, with a restored range where the cooking took place and some wooden seating.
Every time I see the kitchen it makes me realise just how far we have progressed with kitchen furniture, appliances and design and how much easier our lives are now. Back then it was all manual hard graft, slow cooking and washing up by hand. So I give thanks to the invention of the dishwasher and to Mark for supplying a great Bosch dishwasher when my old one broke down, the best dishwasher I’ve ever had!
We can still see the influences of these historic kitchens in our simple Beau-Port Shaker style kitchen designs, they are so timeless and give a kitchen that instant ‘at home’ comfort feeling, with our bespoke range made by our skilled craftsmen to last for decades.
The outbuildings at Jane Austen’s house are also fascinating, showing the original bread baking oven as well as the laundry facility, which is little more than a stone built tub heated by a fire underneath, and I wonder at the hours of hard work it took to get through the weekly wash – setting and lighting the fire and manually filling it with water.
These days Mark and Jacob design in all the best quality appliances to make our client’s lives easier, including boiling water taps, waste disposal units, coffee machines, extractor fans that also purify the air and look like elegant contemporary lights and Total Control AGA’s, which look so perfect in both our traditional Shaker style kitchens and our contemporary Rotpunkt German kitchens.