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A Talk with the Master of Traditionally-Designed English Kitchens

The kitchen is where the heart is.

The kitchen is the heart and pulse of a house, a heritage, passion and inspiration to create sumptuous meals. Samira Tamimi met up with Middleton designer Jasper Middleton to discover how to create a traditional English style kitchen in your own home.

Which colours and types of wood are most in demand?
As a designer and maker of traditional kitchens, I think that oak is a pliant material, and I like to use it. However, there is an increasing demand also for English elm wood, which is characterised by its special structure, beautiful shape and colour shades that makes kitchens more attractive.

A wide range of colours can be used. Customers are more daring in choosing colours such as blue, green and grey. I guess cream-coloured rural kitchens are outdated. People choose strong colours now. Generally, we use at least two colours to give the kitchen a luxurious look.


Jasper Middleton

Do you think big kitchens offer greater opportunity for creativity?
Certainly, I do. Large spaces provide an opportunity for designers to use their experience and skills, in order to satisfy customers’ requirements, however, difficult or complicated they are. Smart designers, however, are those who manage to achieve the same result with small spaces, by making use of every inch, maximising the narrow spaces and creating practical multi-purpose pieces. In addition, they deal in a flexible manner with the geometric construction of the place. This is what we do when we work on small apartments in London, for example; we try to make them luxurious, modern and elegant despite their small kitchens.


A traditional English kitchen with modern touches

Can you describe the perfect kitchen? Do you change your kitchen décor from time to time?
The perfect kitchen is a long-term investment that combines functionality with elegance, meets the requirements of modern families and offers ease of use, comfort, pleasure and happiness. You can change the look of your kitchen by making small changes that add a touch of freshness to it and make the family feel comfortable, such as changing upper surfaces, adding white Italian marble or any other fashionable colour. You can also change the floor, curtains or accessories, while keeping the basic cabinets. 

What do you think of kitchens in the Arab world?
Arab architecture strongly focuses on elegant geometric shapes, such as soft arches, which are not present in Western kitchens. It is safe to say Arab and Western environments focus on manual techniques, artisanship and small details. We look forward to work on Arab houses and blend Arab heritage with a traditional English one, especially since our designs are a reflection of customers’ desires. I think the result will be wonderful.


A high demand for strong and bold colours


The Middleton family: the new generation receives its inheritance


A kitchen design that reflects comfort, tranquillity and simplicity

Do you advise customers on choosing accessories?
We are able to work with our clients in any way that would result in adding comprehensive and harmonious aesthetic touches to the entire kitchen area. Our long experience and dealing with designers who work for the most elegant décor offices in London help us to achieve this. We usually work together to achieve the final look.


A traditional rural kitchen


A library is an essential part of English kitchens


A library is an essential part of English kitchens

What do you think of open plan kitchens?
The kitchens in most houses and apartments that were built before [the year] 2000 are classically designed, with an independent kitchen area, living room and dining room. Things have changed since then. Kitchens have other functions because of the changing relations of contemporary families in the society. Cooking has become the responsibility of all family members, not just the mother… everyone wants to participate. That is why the idea of [an] open plan kitchen was born, which enhances this vision, embraces all family members and increases their interaction with each other. That is why we tweaked our kitchens to perform this job and produce smoother pieces, concentrating, for example, on the dining table. I think the open plan kitchen is here to stay because it is responsive to the conditions of modern life.


Cabinet and shelf for food and spices


Harmony between the architectural structure and interior design


There is a growing demand for English elm wood

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