What makes a kitchen extraordinary?
Depending on who you ask, the answer lies somewhere in a mélange of distinct qualities, quirks and characteristics.
Maybe it’s rustic and traditional; a familiar place that embraces with warm memories of a grandparent’s farmhouse kitchen, filled with artfully worn textures and brimming with nostalgia.
Somewhere towards the other end of the spectrum, there sits the ultra modern kitchen; a cool and contemporary culinary space, all clean lines and velvet smooth surfaces, home to a wow-inducing myriad of state-of-the-art appliances that frequently become the hot topic of conversation at dinner parties.
Like most things in life, it simply boils down to personal taste – and a little inspiration.
At HAUS, we know there’s no set template. An extraordinary kitchen is a kitchen designed for you: your personality, your lifestyle, your necessities.
After almost 20 years of crafting bespoke premium kitchens throughout the Isle of Man, we’ve been fortunate to have designed a number of stunning spaces for and with our clients. Recently, we were delighted to pay a return visit to Jill and Phil Routledge at their beautiful Port Erin home to see how they’re faring in their own truly extraordinary HAUS kitchen.
We didn’t have any fixed, firm ideas of what we wanted. We were very much open to the process, and HAUS came up some really exciting concepts.
Inspired by the Island
Upon entering the Routledge’s elevated home, the first thing you notice is the view. The wide pale blue sea crashes against the craggy feet of Bradda Head, gradually easing to a gentle ripple at the smooth golden sands of Port Erin’s beach. An inspiring panorama, showing the island’s spectacular seaside village at its best.
“We moved over to the Isle of Man about fourteen years ago,” Phil explained. “We’d been here on holiday lots of times in the past. And you look out of this window, it’s just fantastic.”
After operating a successful, award-winning bed and breakfast for some years (as well as representing the best of the island’s excellent hospitality industry on Channel 4’s ‘Four in a Bed’) the couple decided to make their home their own once more. With that, they turned their attention to the kitchen.
“My wife Jill’s an absolute hurricane of activity! We did this house up and we had what I thought was a perfectly fine kitchen. But once you started looking at it, it had got quite worn and dated.”
“Then Jill sort of sold me the idea of making the room larger by knocking down a wall, creating one room out of two.”
Jill detailed her initial thoughts as they began to plan their new kitchen and dining space:
“We didn’t have any fixed, firm ideas of what we wanted. We were very much open to the process, and HAUS came up some really exciting concepts.”
“With it being quite a big house, and having family from across, we knew we wanted a large space for entertaining. So that was one of the main priorities: to make sure we had sizeable breakfast bars with plenty of seating places. And we preferred curved shapes over harder lines and square corners.”
“What sold us mostly about HAUS and their service was the design they came up with. It’s a very big kitchen in square feet, and Bob and the team came up with a unique design that used all of it.”
A kitchen is far more than somewhere to prepare food, isn’t it? It’s a social space and it reflects your personality.
Ahead of the Curve
In many ways, the final design echoes the home’s expansive coastal views: surfaces shimmer in maritime tones of soft cerulean blue, bright white and carbon grey, while the ebb and flow of ocean waves is embodied in the vast curved breakfast bar, encircling a perfectly placed central island unit.
Premium German-made LEICHT units and worktops form the backbone of the space, which also features over 50 pullouts and drawers, back-illuminated storage racks with iPad stand, dynamic adjustable LED lighting, and an elegant concealed larder unit cupboard.
Though calm and minimal in appearance, the kitchen is amped up with some of the most advanced appliances available from Miele’s innovative new Generation 7000 range.
These include a highly sophisticated oven with WiFi connection for remote mobile control, an interior oven camera and wireless food probe, a steam oven with vacuum drawer for perfect sous vide cooking, and a warming drawer for dining-ready plates, as well as low temperature cooking. For all those dinner parties, a Miele wine cooling and conditioning unit sits under the breakfast bar.
The unique geometry of the kitchen was achieved via a specialist 3D scan of the room, enabling the HAUS team to capture the ultra-precise measurements required to design the bespoke curved back panels – beautifully crafted by local firm Beachwood Carpentry & Joinery.
It’s a strikingly modern design overall, with harsh lines softened by more rounded, organic shapes. It’s also deeply practical.
HAUS design expert Bob Love described the function behind the form:
“Jill does a lot of entertaining and a lot of cooking – real ‘cooking theatre’.”
“She told us that she could have the whole extended family in the kitchen at any one time. Therefore, we had to incorporate a kitchen design where 18 people could actually share the space. The only way I could think of doing that was to put a central island in with the curved bars surrounding it – so everyone has a good view.”
“It’s very different, very unique.”
Designed from Floor to Ceiling
Of course, when you embark on any major structural change to a home, there will always be a surprise or two lurking beneath the brickwork.
As layers were peeled back and the dividing wall came down, the Routledges discovered that the ceiling and floor heights didn’t match between the two adjacent rooms – now a single, significantly larger space.
Transforming this obstacle into a defining attraction became the HAUS team’s mission.
“The challenge was there were two rooms to be made into one,” explained Bob. “The structural engineer told us that he’d need to drop a beam which was 250mm lower than this ceiling line.”
“I was trying to work out how we could disguise this without it still looking like two rooms. So I burnt the midnight oil one night and came up with a ceiling design. Their whole house is built around curves and I felt that the ceiling could benefit from being made into a feature.”
Coupled with a stunning edge of blue lighting, the custom coffered ceiling makes for a striking and stylish addition.
I just think it’s a beautiful space to be in.
Really, it’s the hub of the house.
The Perfect Finish
After a journey of building alterations and careful fittings, Jill and Phil settled in to enjoy life in their new kitchen.
“We’re very happy with the result,” Phil said. “A kitchen is far more than somewhere to prepare food, isn’t it? It’s a social space and it reflects your personality.”
For Jill, it’s become more than just a place to display her extensive culinary skills.
“I just think it’s a beautiful space to be in. We always eat in there. It’s nice, peaceful, calming, light.”
“Really, it’s the hub of the house.”
A special thank you to Jill and Phil for allowing us back to explore their beautiful kitchen.
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Ready to plan your dream kitchen, bathroom or bedroom? Contact us or visit our showroom for a no-obligation design consultation.