This Tiny, Windowless Kitchen Feels Worlds Away From Foggy London
All thanks to a coat of paint and a curvy backsplash.
Published Oct 24, 2019 12:00 AM
For British designer Beata Heuman, the compact, windowless kitchen in this Victorian Mews London home was an invitation to think small. Many people would have brightened up the space with a lick of white paint or minimal finishes, but she went the opposite direction. “We leaned into that cocooning, comfortable vibe,” she says.
Luckily, the owner, a writer in her 30s, had a similar vision, handing over references of the Peggy Guggenheim museum in Venice, the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, and the work of Italian architect Carlo Scarpa. “She wanted the feeling of stepping into another world,” explains the designer. Breaking all the conventions of a compact kitchen, Heuman filled the space with a shapely marble backsplash, camel-hued grasscloth walls, and rich green cabinets to create a warm, verdant hub nothing like rainy Paddington right outside. It’s no wonder it’s now the best room in the house.
An Eye-Catching Welcome
The kitchen is the first thing you see when you enter the home, so Heuman needed a focal point to draw visitors in. She designed a double-height, rounded backsplash with shelves at its center above the sink, a nod to Scarpa’s work. “We chose a simple Carrara marble to make sure it didn’t feel contrived,” she explains. The additional storage created a new area for small pieces of framed art and ceramics, which would have otherwise taken up valuable cabinet space.
A Subtle Equilibrium
Grasscloth isn’t the most obvious wall covering for a kitchen, but Heuman swears it hides wear and tear and covered the room in a manila hemp by Phillip Jeffries. “It works well in a small space where you might end up brushing against the wall from time to time,” she explains.
Because the floors were painted black throughout the apartment, Heuman was on the hunt for materials that would balance everything out. So when she had to find a way to hide a radiator next to the island, she zeroed in on cane panels: “We decided to continue the detail around the kitchen, as it gives a sense of lightness.”
For drama, she painted the custom cupboards in Woodland Pearl, a moss-hued paint by Dulux. Every detail was designed for maximum efficiency—think: a drying rack that doubles as storage for trays and a small cutout in the upper cabinets above the stove, which made space for a concealed vent hood. On the opposite wall, a floor-to-ceiling pantry and closet fits taller items, like vacuums and coats. This may be the most organized kitchen in London, but it feels like a leafy getaway.
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