'Strawberry Hill Gothick'

This very beautiful country house is described in Pevsner as follows:

'In 1750, and again between 1759 and 1762, much of the original house was pulled down and rebuilt on a larger scale by Sanderson Miller, who designed the exquisite SW front in his imaginative style of Gothick. The bays are panelled and decorated, and the windows have architraves with roll-mouldings and Gothick glazing. Polygonal ashlar buttresses, at the corners, crowned like medieval chimneys...'

When it came to the kitchen for this house, the owners decided that it had to be either ultra-modern or 'Gothic-with-a-K’. They invited us to collaborate with them on designs for cabinets.

Chris Eckersley : ‘I just loved this house, and loved this job from beginning to end. There was some talk about a very modern look for the kitchen, and no-one was really against this, but we kept coming back to the 18th century. We looked at Strawberry Hill of course, and also at Lacock Abbey, but were trying to avoid a pastiche. Somehow in the end though, we were intoxicated by the Gothick; the clients had a really good feel for this - I'm sure it was the right decision as this kitchen looks so natural in that house.’

Once the design was agreed we made the cabinets, and got period house specialist Nigel Gilks to carve the Gothick door panels, which were painted in a historically-accurate colour. The clients decided that cabinet handles would spoil the very architectural look, and so we fitted all the doors with touch-catches, and handmade leather ‘pulls’ for the drawers. Various modern appliances were unobtrusively built in, and two large deep Belfast sinks, which were already in the house, were re-used. A big old sofa and a vinyl record-player fitted into an alcove helped create a cosy, welcoming feel in this lovely old room.

Alan Minchin : 'We are always careful on every job but due to the historic nature of this building, everything had to be done with great care. On the one hand the huge old sinks and granite work-surfaces were unbelievably heavy; on the other the intricate carving on parts of the building and on some of the new furniture was very delicate. And we were fitting modern appliances into furniture with traditional hinges and very narrow tolerance gaps, so there was no room for error and no hiding place.... it was a challenge, but very rewarding.'