When Lizzy and Adam Carnell first saw their house in a village just outside Wetherby they knew it was the one. They’d loved the area for some time and had been waiting for the right property to come on to the market. They also knew it would be a project. It had been built in the 1960s and they redid all the electrics and plumbing, changed the way the space worked by moving some walls, and they replaced all the windows and added bi-fold doors.
The kitchen is the heart of the home and it has been designed first and foremost as a social space. The cabinetry was designed, built, fitted and painted by Clarity Arts.
“My mother-in-law has the most beautiful kitchen and I’ve always loved it, so used the same company,” Lizzy says. “When we went to meet them I explained the concept and how I wanted it to work and they made suggestions. They took my ideas, put them on paper and made it look really pretty and functional.”
The cabinetry is painted in Farrow & Ball Skylight and the walls in Middleton Pink. It is a calming, light-filled space that is timeless, pretty and functional. It is a social, multi-functional living space, where Lizzy, Adam and their year-old son Harry spend most of their time.
“I love cooking,” Lizzy says, “but I don’t like being by myself while I do it. I like it to be quite a sociable thing, so the kitchen works perfectly. I love the fact it’s a really big space and it’s the heart of the house, which is why we have the snug and the dining area.”
Colour was important to Lizzy. “In our old house we chose lots of beige, grey and green. I wanted this house to be full of colour and quite vibrant.”
The Sanderson wallpaper echoes the pink tones of the walls and cushions and creates warmth. The oak cabinetry, granite worktops and stone floor work in harmony and the warm accents of gold of the light fittings and handles on the cabinetry pull together the look and add some sparkle.
In her last house Lizzy had a tiled splashback behind the cooker, but wasn’t very keen on it. This time she wanted something that didn’t detract from the AGA.
“I love the antique glass look. It reflects the space and the light really well. It doesn’t take away from the AGA as patterened tiles can. I feel like it is a neutral option.”
Flexibility was key to what Lizzy was trying to achieve with the space and it all gets used effectively. The island unit is used for breakfast and drinks with friends.
“During the week we usually sit with trays on our knees while we’re watching TV. If we have people round, or we’re having a nice Sunday lunch or something, we always use the proper table, which is designed to seat around 10. We wanted the space to be really family orientated and able to fit a lot of people.
“I’ve wanted an AGA for ages and I’m not just saying that. When I was growing up we had a small oven at home and it was a nightmare to use and cooking Christmas dinner was a disaster. When I met Adam and he took me to his mum and dad’s house the first thing I noticed in the kitchen was the AGA. It was amazing and ever since then I’ve wanted one.
“Because we knew our last house wasn’t our forever home we didn’t want to put one in, but when we moved here it wasn’t even a question – we knew we needed an AGA.
“I made it the focal point and also wanted to make the space really functional, so we have this area where we can have drinks with everyone round the island and the reason we have bi-fold doors is so that we can all mill in and out. When we have parties in the summer we have the doors wide open it makes it into a nice space. We wanted open-plan living. In the summer we can have the doors open, but in the winter with the AGA it’s all snuggly and cosy.”
Lizzy chose an AGA Dual Control with a module to give her flexibility. She finds being able to have the ovens on either full or slumber very useful and likes that the hotplates can be up to temperature very quickly. The module worked brilliantly in the summer, when they chose to switch off the main AGA during the hottest period.
“It’s very flexible and you need that nowadays,” Lizzy says. “I saw the colour [Pearl Ashes] and loved it because it changed depending on what was around it. In the showroom it looked more lilac because there was a pink one opposite. If we wanted to change the kitchen it will reflect that so will go with whatever colour we decide to paint it.”
Lizzy says they don’t entertain as much now they have Harry, but do have friends over with their babies and often have both sides of their family for lunch or dinner.
“I love batch cooking. I do stuff like lasagne and shepherd’s pies. Adam cooks a couple of times a week and makes things like Pad Thais with steak. We’re quite traditional – sausage and mash, I make the odd Victoria sponge, which the baking oven is fab for. We do like a take away now and again and the warming oven is brilliant for keeping it warm. I never thought we’d use it, but if Adam is running late coming home from work I just pop the food in there so it doesn’t spoil. It actually is really handy having it.”