When most people hear the words ‘luxury farmhouse kitchen’ the phrase conjours up images of solid oak kitchens or a solid natural wood kitchen with a large wooden table at its centre.
This idyllic image is one which would have existed prior to the advent of Victorian handmade kitchens and the upstairs/downstairs image fuelled by TV costume dramas like Downton Abbey featuring the folk of elegant society, valets with an entourage of cooks and servants journeying between Yorkshire kitchens and London kitchens.
Earlier than these high etiquette days of affluent society and going back towards the Middle Ages the scene was very different and more typical of a handmade farmhouse kitchen. The women of the house would sit around the table socialising while preparing the food. Once the food was cooked the whole family would then eat at the same table, creating that vision so reminiscent of a classic country kitchen. It is fair to say that this rustic scene of rural bliss certainly continued within the farming community right through until the middle of the last century epitomised by programmes like the Darling Buds of May. Here the ‘luxury’ is that quality time together and a family focus centred around the kitchen.
It is these nostalgic images which perpetuate a market for country-style kitchens with natural wood doors and worktops whether the style is of a simple Shaker kitchen, an understated Edwardian kitchen or an ornate Victorian kitchen.
Separation of the dining area from the cooking area arose as a result of what became known as ‘Smoke Kitchens’ where the smells and smoke generated during the cooking process were unwelcome to an enlightened society of freshly laundered clothes and clean hair.
This general move towards better health and hygiene amongst the educated in fashionable London mansions, country farmhouses and the local squire’s residence impacted upon kitchen design. The advent of better ventilation, cooker hoods, more-efficient cookers and cooking ranges eventually saw a return to the country farmhouse kitchen era and bespoke handmade kitchen furniture to house the new dawn of classic kitchens.
For customers the advent of ventilation technology has enabled kitchen designers to incorporate the need to cook, dine, relax and socialise all in one room incorporating that important table, an island, breakfast bar and soft seating without fear of smoke, smells and steam tainting clothing or furniture fabrics. At last the luxury aspect of a country farmhouse kitchen can include comfort seating as well as quality time for the family.
Similarly the need for natural wood and scrubbed-top kitchen tables diminished as marble and granite worktops came to the fore and new, fresh colours in a clean, crisp kitchen environment allowed hand painted kitchens to proliferate.
Now modern treatments sufficiently protect whilst enhancing the surface and colour of natural wood worktops to allow a re-introduction of that farmhouse kitchen style where the island, table top or kitchen dresser is in natural wood whereas the doors, end panels and facings are complementary thereby creating a truly bespoke handmade, painted country kitchen.
Such farmhouse kitchens are no longer the preserve of those owning or farming the land as many who seek to escape the concrete jungles of our cities in search of rural quality living are buying homes in the country. Hence, as a kitchen manufacturer, we have witnessed a return to more traditional kitchens.
Aspirational home owners with a nostalgic vision see a bespoke traditional kitchen as their classic dream kitchen bringing together beauty, design flair and functionality with family togetherness, happy memories and quality time to remember for generations.
Each city like Manchester, Stafford, Birmingham and London has its own pockets of Victorian and Edwardian houses crying out for kitchens to suit whilst demand for classic farmhouse kitchens and classic country kitchens continues to grow in the surrounding green belt areas.
Sourcing a dream bespoke kitchen has never been easier with the advent of the internet and kitchen designers embracing new technology. It makes no difference whether you live in Birmingham, Chester, Gloucester, Stafford or Worcester where kitchens each have their own unique twist you can quickly scan the internet and find a company with the knowledge and experience to create a bespoke luxury kitchen to meet your needs and lifestyle.
The internet also provides inspiration and knowledge because you no longer need to just search in local kitchen showrooms as you can see which companies can honestly manufacture a truly bespoke kitchen and install it in any location.
Photographs of real installations in Victorian homes and country farmhouses (like the Broadway Kitchens’ photos you see in this article), whether contemporary with the property or recently installed can give you a flavour of what is possible and point you to the kitchen designer with the imagination and skill set to turn your dream to reality.
Hopefully this article has fired your imagination in terms of what a luxury farmhouse kitchen could be but that isn’t the only style of kitchen that we design, manufacture and install for our customers.
If you have even just an inkling of an idea that we could help you consolidate then, without obligation, we’d be delighted to inject our own exclusive brand of creativity into your personal idea of a traditional kitchen that is different and certainly unique.