For more than half a century now, the main trend when it comes to kitchens has been to make them as minimal and functional as possible. However, there is a kitchen style that has been holding its ground against this contemporary trend; we’re talking about traditional English style. Let it be clear: we are not talking about country-style kitchen, specifically. There are of course a few similarities between the two, but still: two different things. The kind of English kitchen we are discussing here is what you’d expect to find in the basement of Downton Abbey, the majestic setting of one of our favorite British shows. Traditionally, this basement area was a bit of a secluded space, where the house servants would store the food and cook the meals both for the family they were working for and for themselves. However, the good news is, you don’t need a basement, or an army of cooks, butlers and waiters to style a perfectly acceptable English kitchen! You’ll see: you’ll get all those old-timey English vibes, minus the classist human exploitation bit.
A timeless kitchen design by Officine Gullo
This is one of our favorite elements of a traditional English kitchen. In fact, semi-recessed sinks used to be popular inside country houses and manors in general, the main reason being there usually was a need for larger sinks than the ones we’re now used to: bigger houses meant a higher number of dishes to do, vegetables to wash, and so on. However, what we’ve been loving about 2018 so far, is that apparently, semi-recessed sinks are back! Now, this type of sink already looks a bit old-school, mostly because even when it’s made of simple white ceramic, it doesn’t have that minimal look that’s characteristic of contemporary sinks. However, it is not that hard to emphasize its Old World appearance. Consider another material instead of plain white ceramic, like brass, for instance. Don’t choose minimal faucets, and add a few more features, like a hanger for your tea towels.
A timeless but contemporary brass semi-recessed sink by Officine Gullo
Since we mentioned brass: if we’re styling our kitchen like a traditional Downton Abbey-style kitchen, then brass is actually one of the best materials to convey that feeling. Brass is a material that was used quite often in the past, therefore we tend to normally associate it with old styles and fashions. It is fairly easy to employ it in the interior design of your kitchen, as it is possible to find just any sort of appliances and decorations that involve the use of brass. We are not just talking about doorknobs, but also kitchen parts, like inserts, faucets, and so on. Even lamps, like the one we are showing you in the picture below. In particular, we believe this one would be absolutely perfect for an English kitchen: it’s super simple and unpretentious, just like the footmen and maids’ area would be in a place like Downton Abbey. Moreover, the elongated shape of the light bulb helps to make it look like a relic from a time travel.
Take a look at more by FRAMA!
Mainly because again, in the past and in the English countryside, the kitchen used to be the reign of butlers, servants, footmen and maids, this space was kept surely tidy and clean, but quite simple and unpretentious. As far as colors would go, the general preference would be towards warm, neutral colors. Both because of the use of natural materials, such as wood and stone, and because even when paint was involved, it was usually made from natural materials as well. Other neutrals like white and milky white used to be quite popular, possibly because they naturally transmit a feeling of order and cleanliness. However, there are a few more shades that may not have been so widespread back then, but that you can totally feel free to employ now, like light robin egg blue and mint.
Aren't you in love with this cozy kitchen design by Minacciolo?
Well, we dare say Downton Abbey’s cook Mrs Patmore probably didn’t see so much marble in her basement kitchen; however, remember how we said natural materials were by far the most commonly used? Well, marble is a natural stone as well, after all! Of course, in a kitchen of the time it might have seemed a bit extravagant: way too luxurious and definitely out of place. However, remember that you live in the present, not the past. This means that marble is actually a great solution if, as much as you adore the timeless English kitchen look, you’d still like to upgrade it a little bit. A bit of luxury is always welcome!
Dervi Stone serving looks all the way from Turkey
Of course, besides natural stone, what is the natural material par excellence? Wood, of course! You’d expect most of the cabinets, as well as tables and chairs, to be made of wood. Try avoiding styling your whole kitchen with wood though: the best home décor idea is to combine wood kitchen cabinets with stone, or terracotta tiles. As far as the color is concerned, we did say the general tendency used to be a preference towards natural shades. Still, you’re free to choose brighter colors; this decision will turn your Downton Abbey kitchen into a slightly more country one, but it doesn’t matter, as long as you feel more than satisfied with the final result.
You'll feel happier the minute you walk into this yellow kitchen Gicinque!
AGA cooker and stove
This is a feature that would have been impossible not find inside every single English kitchen. When electricity was not so common, this type of stoves were the only way to cook food; when they were not being used to cook, they were still kept burning to create warmth. For instance, you don’t necessarily have to employ yours to cook: you can just keep it because of the warmth and atmosphere that it’s going to add to your kitchen.
Find out more about the cozy stoves by ΤΗΕΡΜΙΚΙ TSALIKIS!
Larder cupboards are sort of a rarity nowadays. But what were they used for? Well, they were essentially pantry storage for goods that need to be cool but not in a fridge, like cheese or eggs, which we don’t always refrigerate but which can be stored in a larder. Back then, a larder would have an air vent that connected it to the cool side of the house to enhance its refrigeration properties. Again, today larders are not so common anymore, but they do remain a useful and handsome way of storing and displaying frequently used items. Of course, it would be great to employ a larder for its original purpose, but you can also simply use it as a storage space for kitchen accessories.
We pretty much love everything by Bulthaup
Considering how much food the cooks of a mansion like Downton Abbey would have to prepare every day, work surfaces were key to the success (or failure) of an official dinner. Of course, one of the quickest and best ways to increase the number of surfaces you can use is to install a kitchen island. However, considering that most of us do not live in a mansion, you’re probably not going to need a huge island: just get whichever model suits your needs.
A tiny but functional kitchen island by Altacorte
Shake it up
Old, traditional English kitchens have less in common with country style, and more in common with one of the latest trends that have become popular in the US: the shaker style. Simple, essential lines, unpretentious materials, sober colors. These table and chairs are an excellent example, spiced up by colors.
We love the basic but never predictable designs by Carl Hansen & Son -- and you?