Modus Vivendi: The Way to Live in North London

It takes enormous self-awareness and presence of mind to know how you want to live your life. Not in terms of your goals and aspirations, but in understanding how you are going to imbue each passing moment with significance and joy. That is the great achievement of this North London home’s culinary and dining space.

Having won first prize for Kitchen Designer of the Year at the 2018 Kbsa Design Awards, as well as being shortlisted at the prestigious SBID Awards, at first glance it simply looks like a stylish kitchen. However, its mastery goes beyond aesthetics to encompass an interplay between contemporary design, art and heritage craftsmanship, as well as a laser focus on elevating the lifestyle of the owner.

A way of living

The owners of this property are, themselves, at the vanguard of modern style, with their individual taste skirting the line between the flamboyant and refined. 

As keen chefs, the functionality of the culinary space was never secondary to style. However, a unique condition of the eye meant that an entirely white working space was the uncompromisable starting point on which the environment was created. 

This led to the selection of state-of-the-art Gaggenau appliances alongside seamless white floors and Lotus White cabinet finishes from Siematic. The only deviation came in the form of the calming and grounding presence of a blue calcite stone splashback, and a stainless steel intersection on the island. The sculptural entity of the latter is formed from two solid blocks, with an overhead extraction system that was custom created with a recessed fan emulating professional kitchens.

This is the essence of great design; constructing an environment that is at once intriguing, exciting, welcoming and highly functional, created to facilitate and enhance the daily experiences and routines of those who live there.

Disappearing act

The architecture of this culinary space is almost like a dance that the designer leads you on, gently guiding your focus towards some areas and casting it away from others. For example, two structural pillars that disrupted the seamlessness of the space, disappear into a frame for the full length cabinetry, creating optical divisions between work, dining and storage areas.

Equally, as you go from the kitchen to the dining area and on to the garden, the sections feel whole in themselves but with no visible line between them. The views into the garden are uninterrupted thanks to bifold doors with a flush threshold, as well as carefully chosen vintage lights, which are bold enough to command attention but shaped so as not to interrupt the line of sight.

On the other side of the courtyard garden sits an office, constructed with the same bifold doors, reflecting the kitchen back in the glass.

Rules are made to be broken

It would be all too easy for this home to take its lead from the purist white work space, and run with a theme of neat simplicity. However, this is a place in which rules were made to be broken. Alongside achingly modern fixtures and fittings, sit antique finds and dramatic artworks that unapologetically fuse contrasting eras, styles and colours.

Artwork oscillates from a dramatic Renaissance painting in an opulent gilt frame, to a frameless modern masterpiece on the opposing wall. Warm brass light fixtures sit alongside stainless steel surfaces, incorporating multiple styles including a Sputnik chandelier, and creating a balance that traditional rules would have you believe is incongruous.  

Meanwhile, a solid marble dining table of lavish proportions is surrounded by polished chrome dining chairs, reupholstered in vintage green velvet that was reclaimed from a Victorian theatre. Outside, olive trees reflect the touch of green, melting away the division between inside and out, even when the patio doors are closed.

The power of storytelling

This home is a lesson in the power of storytelling through design. Stroll through and you have an insight into the personality of the owner, their values and their interests. Yes, the vast white space creates a sense of calm and serenity, but this is the home of someone with character, humour and a flair for intrigue. 

They say to get to know a man you need to walk in their shoes. To our mind, if the design is right, you merely need to stroll into their kitchen.

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