DeVol’s Creative Director Dishes on How to Get the Brand’s Covetable Old-New Look
Her own kitchen is a prime example.
Published Oct 22, 2021 1:20 AM
While scrolling through Instagram one day, Helen Parker, DeVol’s creative director, stumbled across a photo that “had the ability to encapsulate everything I love,” she recalls. The post that stopped her in her tracks? A still life painting of a fish by American artist Wendy Prather Burwell. “It’s quite incredible that a piece of art can do that,” adds Parker. So when she decided to renovate the kitchen in her Victorian home in Leicestershire, England, Parker turned to the painting (which she bought ASAP) for inspiration. But first she had to get rid of the cheap chipboard cabinets and tired, grimy appliances. “Underneath it all, it was a beautiful room with arched sash windows, great proportions, and views into the walled garden,” she says.
The teal edge of the plate featured in the painting directly informed the backsplash. Parker opted for DeVol’s Vintage Teal Lace Market tile in all six styles (the pieces vary slightly—some are square, others rectangular; some have an intricate relief pattern, others are smooth). “It’s the busy, textural, and uneven look that makes them so unique,” she says. Then picking up on the soft, mellow, peachy pink backdrop of the picture, she painted the walls and ceiling pink. “I like unexpected combinations best; they feel less curated,” explains Parker. No stranger to what it takes to design a stellar kitchen (after all, it’s what she does for a living), she shares a few more subtle details that make her cozy English cooking space stand out from the crowd.
Splurge on a Fresh Foundation
Parker wanted a new floor that felt authentic to the home but also spoke to her unique color palette. She landed on a checkered marble pattern by Floors of Stone that felt grand yet slightly faded. “It’s where I spent my money and where I knew I had to get it just right,” she says. The tiny flecks of pink within the natural stone play nicely with the Farrow & Ball Setting Plaster hue on the walls.
Put Guests at Ease
The secret to DeVol’s covetable old-new aesthetic? We got it straight from the source: “It’s buying vintage or unusual pieces rather than [big-box] shopping,” says Parker. Putting furniture in your kitchen that might be better suited to a living room or, say, your grandparents’ home will give it some charm, she suggests—think: a faded squishy chesterfield couch in a powdery blue hue. “It’s important to me that people feel comfortable and want to stay, so a little sofa was a must,” she says. Plus there was no room for a central island in her tight galley space.
Accessorize the Ceiling
The very reason DeVol makes so many accessories for its custom kitchen designs is to allow customers to create that old, forgotten, hard-to-find look. One of the company’s best-sellers? The brass hanging rail. Rather than mount hers over the backsplash, as most users do, Parker hooked it up to a once unsightly beam. “I had a few nice copper pans, so I thought why not put it up high, making it a visual feature as you enter the room,” she explains. The hard part isn’t getting to the cookware, but rather not filling it to the brim with stuff. “I have to be disciplined, as I don’t want it to look too much like a country kitchen,” she adds.
Mix Cabinets of All Shapes, Styles, and Eras
Adding the black sink cabinet from DeVol’s Classic English range was a no-brainer. “I adore these cupboards and their proportions,” she says. The Georgian-style cabinets (which can be made to any dimension) blend in perfectly with the pink lowers on the opposite wall. Psst: It’s actually a bedroom wardrobe piece she found at an antiques fair and converted by painting it, raising it up on bun feet, and topping it with a curvy marble work surface. Next to the sofa, a freestanding cupboard doubles as a display case for her eclectic dishware collection.
Channel Your Last Vacation
The Thonet café chairs and the vintage rise-and-fall ceramic light over the breakfast table are nods to Parker’s trips to Italy. The pieces are typical of a Venetian bacari (a café or bar that serves drinks and small plates), while the fancy lace café curtains, decorative colorful ceramics, and the Mediterranean feel in general recall her visit to Sicily. “I love the simple, classic, plain, and sparse look of these places and the way they are a part of everyday life,” she says.