Before the year, 2022, runs away with us completely, here is the long-awaited kitchen re-fit which took place this March over the course of 2-3 weeks all-told, amidst much upheaval in the household. The kitchen at Blackbirds, as will be described in fuller detail elsewhere (in Blackbirds Revisited, if ever such a thing is written...) has been almost six years in the waiting; and whilst the make-do-and-mend version which is featured in my book, Mid-Century Modern on a Shoestring was fairly functional and had a cute retro vibe (see also some early Instagram photos @blackbirdsandme), the dreadful tiles (these can be witnessed on my previous post!) and awful 80s cabinets really were beginning to wear thin. It was time for me properly to put the Blackbirds stamp on the house. This meant creating a kitchen which I thought would really suit the 70s-designed property, whilst offering a practical space for actually cooking in and a contemporary flourish to bring it comfortably into the 21st Century. Mid-century modern would provide the main vibe, with pale wood-lined walls for a Scandinavian feel and contemporary accessories mingled in to keep the look relevant and fresh.
The initial idea was to go with white wood cabinets and teak-toned work surfaces ( I was under no illusion that genuine teak could be either afforded or sourced). However, the right tone of wood just couldn't be settled upon, and the white cabinets, whilst in keeping with the property's overall look, felt boring given that we would be replacing white cabinets... This situation gave rise to rather a fortuitous one: I had for some time secretly harboured a desire for a concrete kitchen, with a Barbican-style vibe and pops of colour, but had given up on the idea as solid concrete was too tricky and cost-prohibitive. Now I was to discover that a concrete-effect finish was available, and that such a kitchen was within my reach. A no-brainer! The concrete was paired with light oak-wood-effect surfaces and splashbacks to soften the concrete. The fun bit was the adding of accessories and cookery books in pops of primary colours: blue, yellow and red - a little Mondrian in air, without being overly obvious.
The company we chose to go with after careful thought about the importance of good workmanship and the false economy of a cheap-as-chips new kitchen, was a local, family-run small business, thecolytonkitchencompany.co.uk/. They did an excellent job, with much attention to detail and consultation over every aspect to ensure that what I visualized was in reality achieved. Although our budget meant that we selected mainstream units in our choice of colour and configuration rather than a hand-built option, the panelling which they fitted for us, along with the extra shelves and cubby holes etc. built to exact requirements, gave the overall design a bespoke element and certainly a very individual look, which is most pleasing.
The piece de resistance, therefore, has to be the breakfast-bar wall, pictured below. The serving hatch, a much loved original feature, has - importantly - been retained, with matching light oak wood-effect panelling built around it, and a cubby hole shelf added to display some colourful cookery books.
The curtains have yet to be hung (these will be worth seeing!), so I will picture the room as a whole, in a forth-coming post once the finishing touches are complete. These shelves will soon be filled too...keep tuned!
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