Rachel Khoo

Notebook

Posted by Rachel

June 16th, 2020

{AD} A little tour around my kitchen

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I am so excited to finally reveal my family kitchen renovation. It’s taken me almost 6 months to get around to posting about renovating but I’ve finally caved to the requests from close friends for photos.

Before photo: Gina Mannberg

Gone are the days of creating a bachelorette kitchen this was a kitchen that had to cater for the whole family. There was a lot to take into consideration. How to make it family friendly. Picking a colour everyone likes (not easy!) What gadgets do we really need? It turns out a microwave with small kids is a must whereas before I happily lived without one.

Before photo: Gina Mannberg

While the kitchen we inherited was fine bar the tap spouting water from the side when you turned it on and the spotlights dangling from their holders. I needed a space that would work on numerous levels. Professionally it had to be a kitchen that can take a beating with all the recipe testing and developing I do. Visually it had to work for photoshoots and filming. But most importantly it had to be a kitchen that would be the heart of the home.

Before photo: Gina Mannberg

A timeless design was key to the feel of the place. I only intend on ever doing a kitchen up once. So a modern minimalist style was a definite no. The shaker kitchen cabinetry was one that I am particularly fond of. And that’s where Skandinaviska Shakerkök came into the picture. I’ld discovered them through a friend’s instagram, Malin (follow her she’s doing an amazing painstakingly accurate job at restoring an old Swedish house). We started talking design end of 2018 but then baby no.2 happened and everything was put on hold.

Knife drawer insert: Practical but beautiful details make a huge difference.

When it came to the design, spending more time to get to know the old kitchen actually helped me with knowing what I needed from the new kitchen. I realised that the old style breakfast bar had to go as an island would give me more work surface but also make it more social. A cabinet to hide all those ugly gadgets (for us it’s a coffee machine, toaster, microwave, sparkling water machine and food processor). Handy spice racks in the doors so you don’t have to rummage to the back of the kitchen cabinet. Skandinaviska Shakerkök were ever so accommodating to all my changes, tweaks. Their knowledge and experience helped guide me through the design process.

A cupboard to hide away the gadgets. Handy spice racks make for less rummaging.

Come Autumn 2019 we were back on track and colours were being picked out. I think out of all the decisions that had to be made, picking the right colour took the longest. Painting big pieces of cardboard and hanging them up in the kitchen for weeks to see how the light would change the colour at different times of day aswell as how the colour made me feel helped making the decision. It’s not something you rush. Having a green kitchen is nothing new to me with my last kitchen being pea green so moving from a fresh light green to a dark British racer green didn’t feel like a big step.

When it came to white goods, the two points: price and function came into play. You get more space with a free standing fridge and freezer plus that’s one kitchen cabinet less you’re paying for. The fridge/freezer is now camouflaged with kid drawings, emergency phone number papers and a plant.

The same goes for a cooker. It was a major toss up between having a range cooker and an integrated oven and hob. I’ld discovered Bertazzoni cooker via my close friend, Frankie who as a talented food stylist puts her kitchen equipment through it’s paces. Design + aesthetics + function = the holy trinity when it comes to kitchen design. The Bertazzoni heritage range cooker ticks all those boxes. Playing around with the layout of having a range cooker instead of an oven and hob meant that I could create an uninterrupted island counter top, a cabinet to hide away the gadgets and some work surface between the sink and the cooker too.

Beautiful design details on the Bertazzoni heritage range.

Also by keeping the original set up of where the hob was meant the extractor fan stayed in the same place (no extra costs for rewiring). One of my pet peeves is having a huge extractor fan break the view of the kitchen when it hangs over the island.

The dishwasher is tucked away in a cabinet next to the sink. A sink deep enough to hideaway a stash of dirty dishes always helps. One element that has been a total game changer is the boiling water tap. Considering the amount of tea I drink a day, the price per use will be down to pennies in a year or so. I can’t ever imagine going back to a kettle that clutters up the counter space or having to wait for water to boil. The Quooker fusion tap combines the regular hot and cold water with boiling water (no additional tap needed which is a bonus as I wanted a clean look). Operating it requires two taps and a twist, so it’s safe from any little hands. Making a cuppa has never been so easy.

Marble and terrazzo combo.

When it came to worktops I have always dreamt of having the silky milkiness of a Carrera marble but using it throughout the kitchen would have been a bit of an overkill so that’s why we combined it with Terrazzo Fior di Pesca on the island. Spot the small details such as round corners, honed edges and shelving with plate rack inserts.

Love a rounded corner (less worries about small kids bumping heads)

Those details plus having a kitchen fitter who knows what they are doing makes all the difference. House of Design who supplied and fitted the work surfaces also fitted the kitchen. The kitchen has lots of awkward angles which meant the cabinetry required some custom adjustments to make it work. A bad fitter will make even the most beautiful kitchen cabinetry look cheap. Do the research/get some recommendations.

Lamps were found in the attic of my husband’s family home.

I love open shelving but having it throughout the kitchen wasn’t feasible with the extractor fan needing a cabinet to hide in, so we kept it to just above the sink. A handy plate rack was integrated into the marble shelf (thank you House of design for making that happen). The open shelving was important not only because I wanted to be able to display my kitchen knick knacks but also as it opens up the space and gives it a lightness.

The finishing touches were the handles and brackets. I discovered the small family run company Yester home down an instagram rabbit hole and loved the fact they use traditional craft methods to make their brassware. The brassware from Yester Home is a timeless polished brass design (although even with it being less polished now it still looks amazing) fits seemlessly with the rest of the kitchen.

No cooking here, just a slice of bread slathered in butter.

I’m so looking forward to sharing recipes from my family kitchen. Stay tuned!

New kitchen photos: Julia Rajkovic

End note: I realise that this might not be the best timing to be sharing an expensive renovation. I do not take for granted how fortunate I am in to be able to renovate my family kitchen. This is not something that happened overnight (the project started in 2018). Hard work and saving made this happen.

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Rachel Khoo's Simple Pleasures e-cookbook.

Over 24 recipes that find those good food moments in everyday ingredients. Ranging from roast chicken parcels with a crunchy slaw, a summer salad that celebrates the best of the seasons, utterly moreish cake pesto bites to a deliciously decadent dark chocolate pudding with caramel shards.

All the recipes are featured in Rachel Khoo’s Simple pleasures TV show.

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