Artist Daisy Sims-Hilditch lives in a first-floor, light-filled apartment in West London that she initially bought as a studio but ended up making into a beautiful home that perfectly reflects her personal style. The flat is relatively small, but architectural features such as the high ceilings and large windows are stunning and the way Daisy has designed the space means she has a place for everything.
One thing Daisy knew she had to change was the kitchen. “It wasn’t very well laid out before,” she says, “and now we’re really making the most of the space. It felt very pokey and was cut off from the rest of the apartment. Plus it very wasn’t cleverly designed – the door to the kitchen went into the fridge for example.”
Daisy designed the space with her father, John Sims-Hilditch, who founded the interiors brand Neptune.
“My dad has a great design eye, so he and I sat down together and mapped out ideas. I love the way it’s done now because it’s open and sociable. If people are in the sitting room area while I’m cooking, I still feel really involved and can come and sit down with them without having to go out of a door and back in again.
“It’s very light and cosy but it feels pretty big for the size of the room. I think having the high ceilings and the ladder really helps.”
The kitchen cabinetry is from Neptune’s Suffolk range and the handles are the Bow design from Beata Heuman.
As an artist, the choice of colours used was hugely important to Daisy and she came up with a palette that is both fresh and pretty. The cabinetry is painted in Edward Bulmer’s Verdigris and the walls in Farrow and Ball’s Pink Ground.
The splashback is made up of tiles from Marlborough tiles and the wood floor – which perfectly complements the colours used – is from Neptune, as is the bench. Daisy chose the latter because it has storage and she was keen to have something that was both beautiful and practical.
The most difficult thing about the renovation was deciding on the kitchen layout.
“We had a few different options, but when we came up with this, we didn’t question it,” Daisy says. “Once we had that it was easy. I knew the colour I wanted way before we had the kitchen. I’ve always wanted this colour kitchen. I love the combination of the brass handles with the green. The green colour is uplifting and fun and always puts me in a good mood. I love the wiggly Colefax and Fowler fabric on the bench seat too. I love interiors that are fun and make me happy. It’s inspiring to be in the kitchen and I love how the light comes in in the daytime.”
When Daisy bought the flat the kitchen was cream and black granite and she describes it as “pretty much falling apart”.
She was initially concerned about how she might cook in such a small space but has created a room that is now great to look at and workable too.
“I think if you’re in a small space and have high ceilings you can really make the most of it – and they hadn’t done that before. Having cabinets that reach to the ceiling makes a big difference too.”
Daisy was always sure she wanted an AGA cooker. She grew up in a cottage in the country with one and has fond memories of baking cakes with her sister.
“We used to sell the cakes to the village when we were little – it was our entrepreneurial thing. I loved the AGA and, to be honest, I didn’t know how to cook on anything else. It’s so lovely to have here. It brings the countryside into London and makes it feel very cosy.”
Daisy chose an AGA eR3 90 which, at 90cm, is the perfect size for her kitchen. Getting the AGA into the first-floor apartment was an interesting experience as it had to be craned in through a large window.
“It’s a super practical AGA as it has the induction,” Daisy says. “Often, I’ll use that when I’m on my own, but if I’m cooking for a dinner party, I’ll use the hotplates and the ovens. I still make cakes in the baking oven. I love the cake oven!”
Daisy is a keen cook, so wanted to have a kitchen space and cooker that allowed her to be creative.
“For dinner parties I tend to cook risotto or a vegan curry. I’m not vegan, but I do eat a lot of vegan food. I love using the AGA for vegan food like stir-fried tofu, noodle curry. I cook most days when I’m here. I love to cook in this kitchen.”
Daisy’s AGA eR3 has ovens that can be operated independently, one which can be set to roasting or baking (Daisy’s ‘cake oven’) and one for simmering. It also has a tall warming oven which is great for resting food ahead of serving and keeping plates warm. There’s an AGA hotplate which can be set to boiling or simmering and which heats up in just 10 minutes. The induction hob is another super-practical feature, making it a great cooker for smaller kitchens and for life in a city.
“It’s great that I can switch it on and off,” Daisy says, “and often if it’s freezing in the flat, I’ll just turn the AGA on and not have the heating on. When I was a child in a cottage that was our only heating for a while. I chose a white AGA because I knew I wanted a lot of colour in the apartment and the white it keeps it fresh, modern, clean. The kitchen would not be the same without the AGA.”