Get innovative ideas for your own dream cooking and dining space by stepping into one of these design-led stores
Whether you are looking to buy a new kitchen or scouting around for clever ideas on how to refresh your existing one, a visit to a luxury kitchen showroom will open the door to a world of design possibilities. Here’s our pick of the most impressive so get ready to be inspired…
Railway Arch 213, Newnham Terrance, Hercules Rd, Lambeth London, SE1 7DR (0203 972 0150, life-kitchens.co.uk)
BEST FOR: TRENDS
The techie geeks have infiltrated the world of showrooms at new Waterloo-based kitchen designer Life. This new conceptual space’s standout feature is an innovative, 3600 4D virtual-reality theatre where clients can fully immerse themselves in a bespoke kitchen of their own choosing. It’s the next level of try-before-you-buy! The wide range of stylish kitchen options means you can personalize and get creative with everything from doors to worksurfaces.
2 Tysoe Street, EC1 (020 3837 5900, devolkitchens.co.uk)
BEST FOR: CRAFTY LOOKS
Searching for a chic-er Shaker? Head to Clerkenwell where the soft grey beauty on display proves the words ‘modern’ and ‘country’ really do mix.
Of course, there are other options too (available to view at the Leicestershire showroom and studio). All are handmade and include the frankly fabulous new design by Sebastian Cox made from sustainable British timber. Just the right side of rustic.
Holloways of Ludlow
113 Shepherd’s Bush Road, W6 (020 7371 1787, hollowayskitchens.com) and 36 Friar’s Stile Road, Richmond (020 8332 9442)
BEST FOR: THINKING BIG
Let your imagination run wild. Holloways of Ludlow is waiting to turn your ideas into something tangible at the west London workshop, where its bespoke (and award-winning) kitchens are made. There’s no set style, so this really is a creative, collaborative process, but there’s distinct crossover between furniture and kitchen design.
We love the company’s old-meets-new look (think cupboards fashioned from antique oak) and its passions for island units. Gorgeous materials abound – Holloways supplies French brand LCDA’s concrete and even make its own Corian. German Schuller kitchens are also available.
British Standard by Plain English
41 Hoxton Square, N1 (020 7870 7688, britishstandardcupboards.co.uk)
BEST FOR: BOHEMIAN LOOKS
Want a kitchen with some character? Tour British Standard’s Hoxton showroom and be inspired by cool blue cupboards teamed with a Moroccan tiled splashback, sunny orange units with some modern rustic accents, or, for something more subdued, charcoal paint combined with brass handles. Everything’s handmade in Suffolk and cupboards are ordered online to keep costs down.
149 St John’s Hill, SW11 (020 7078 9912, espressodesign.co.uk) and 203/4 Design Centre East, Chelsea Harbour, SW10 (020 7078 9912)
BEST FOR: A CRISP FINISH
It may be fully ensconced in southwest London, but Espresso Design has a thing for Italian kitchens, namely those designed by Cesar and Euromobil.
Silk-effect, white-lacquer units topped with white Corian are the purest of the looks on offer, but there are textures and colours too, including dark cement, antiqued wood and a wonderfully rusty-looking lacquer. Smart storage includes deep drawers, open units and shelves that connect to a table.
37 Wigmore Street, W1 (020 7495 3663, bulthaup.com), plus 36-42 Clerkenwell Road, EC1 (020 7317 6000), 142-144 Holland Park Avenue, W11 (020 7822 2800), 145-149 Lower Richmond Road, SW15 (020 8785 1960), and St Albans, Herts
BEST FOR: ‘ENGINEERED FUNCTIONALITY’
Innovative design and impeccable attention to detail are the secrets to this German brand’s success. There are three main looks: the sculptural simplicity of b1; the workshop concept of b2 with its ‘tool’ cupboards and workbench; and the b3 kitchen with its multifunctional wall. Hand-selected veneers, immaculate lacquers and technologically advanced laminates demonstrate style stakes that are as high as the environmental standards.
28 Blandford Street, W1 (020 7486 2674, plainenglishdesign.co.uk)
BEST FOR: LOFTY IDEAS
Contemporary kitchens needn’t be all about engineered materials and state-of-the-art gadgetry. And, as if to prove the point, Plain English has designed the Osea, one of five kitchens in its attractive range, all of which are hand-crafted in Suffolk. Celebrating the natural ruggedness of raw materials such as wood and metal, it has a soft-yet-sturdy aesthetic and plenty of personality. Choose from 12 ‘inherently English’ colours and embrace the studio/cabin/loft look.
87-93 Wandsworth Bridge Road SW6 (020 7371 9997, neptunefulham.com), plus Chiswick, Weybridge in Surrey and Tonbridge, Kent
BEST FOR: DOING IT THEMSELVES
Step away from the MDF and treat the heart of your home to some solid wood. From the oak worktops to the birch and poplar cabinets, all the material is hand-picked from sustainable sources. It’s the first step in a process that’s full of admirable control-freakery.
Not only is each of the four kitchens designed and painstakingly handmade in-house, the company even constructs its own handles and catches. As you’d expect with bespoke design, the focus is on your personal needs, so if you need space for a sofa or a dog basket, consider it done.
Alno at Halcyon Interiors
120 Wigmore Street, W1 (020 7486 3080, halcyoninteriors.com), plus 509 Uxbridge Road, Hatch End, Pinner, Middlesex HA5 4JS (020 8420 1124) and Beaconsfield, Bucks
BEST FOR: FABULOUS EFFECTS
Branded ‘The Alno Store’, this West End showroom has ten of the dazzling German kitchens on display over its two floors. Finishes are numerous and include the innovative and visually convincing Art Woodglass and Art Stoneglass. Meanwhile, the ergonomic and supremely practical designs prove once and for all that big drawers really can be sexy. There’s an average lead time of 8 weeks and the option of full installation or supply only.
Smallbone of Devizes
220 Brompton Road, SW3 (020 7581 9989, smallbone.co.uk) and 6/7 Thurloe Place, SW7 (020 7581 9989), plus Beaconsfield, Bucks
BEST FOR: A HISTORY OF INNOVATION
Master of reinvention, Smallbone has a talent for spotting forgotten favourites and bringing them bang up to date. A new look for painted cabinets, rustic schemes fashioned from recycled wood and a fresh enthusiasm for freestanding furniture, this company has championed them all.
There are some thoroughly modern designs in the extensive collection and while they all still come out of the Devises workshop, they now make their way all over the world.
The Old Timber Yard, London Road, Halstead, Kent TN14 7DZ (01959 532 553, chamberfurniture.co.uk)
BEST FOR: PERSONAL SERVICE
Forget compromise and have your ideal kitchen designed and made to order at this Kent showroom/workshop. With no standard-sized cabinets, everything is genuinely bespoke, handcrafted from hardwoods such as oak, walnut and maple.
Choose from hand-painted, burnished, sprayed or lacquered finishes and a plethora of bright ideas, such as retractable doors and cool lighting. Lead times are usually pretty swift and plumbers, electricians and builders are on hand to take the job from cupboards to completed kitchen.
182 Northcote Road, SW11 (020 7228 4454, harveyjones.com), plus Islington, Hampstead, Fulham, Notting Hill and outlets across the Southeast
BEST FOR: EASY REVAMPS
This ever-popular kitchen company has a simple premise: Three straight-forward cabinet styles made in Cambridgeshire and tailored to your precise requirements. An experienced designer will help you make the most of your space and choose the right style for you, either classic Shaker, contemporary Linear or period-property-friendly Original. All can be painted (and re-painted) any colour you choose and inspired extras include a brilliant free-standing pantry larder. Bet you can’t wait to get those herbs and spices in alphabetical order.
44-48 Wigmore Street, W1 (020 7935 0177, nicholas-anthony.co.uk) and 172 Brompton Road, SW3 (020 7838 0588), plus Ascot in Berkshire
BEST FOR: MATT MARVELS
There are more than 15 matt colours in Nicholas Anthony’s signature collection, plus four gorgeous wood veneers. Both London showrooms also feature SieMatic’s timeless designs, which have been cooking up a storm since the Sixties, teamed up with Siemens and Gaggenau appliances.
Varied as the looks are, featuring dark and light tones, they’re all wonderfully modern and have all the ingredients for culinary and aesthetic success.