A few years ago, our client Celia and her husband Paul pressed the go button on a special build project, a replacement dwelling on the site of Celia’s childhood home. Behind the plot was their own bluebell woods – a place full of memories and the inspiration behind the name of her creative venture Bluebell Biscuiterie.
We popped over to witness the creation of Celia’s edible delights first hand, and to take a peek at the wonderful surroundings in which her house stands. The house was designed by Simon Mack Architects of Henley-on-Thames. It is characterised by its open contemporary style, clean linear form and an abundance of large floor-to-ceiling glazed apertures. What makes it particularly unusual is that from key spots within the house it is possible to see out in every direction, making the connection with the outside world very real. The kitchen space is no exception. Bathed in light, sliding doors and an open-plan space mean that it has amazing, multi-aspect views. A huge square picture window allows Celia to prep, bake and decorate in bright natural light. The space is both artist’s studio and functional family kitchen.
“The space and light really help with my baking, and has plenty of flat surfaces too which are essential,” says Celia.
“Working closely with Barr Kitchens, the space was designed for baking, family living and entertaining. We absolutely love hosting family and friends – everyone tends to gather round the island – so it’s great to have plenty of space around it. Although we have a massive dining table, we always end up eating at the breakfast bar as a family!
“The Barr Kitchens cabinetry is beautifully designed and perfectly built. Ours is spray-finished for a really contemporary look – and of course it is blue in colour! I'd had my eye on Barr Kitchens for a while. I knew I wanted coloured units and a massive island with no inset sink or hob on it. I had seen that Barr Kitchens had previously created the kind of contemporary kitchens which would suit our very modern new build – so I knew they could achieve what we wanted."
The kitchen cabinetry is a contemporary flat-fronted design, spray-finished in Farrow & Ball’s Stiffkey Blue to create a super-smooth, durable shell. Matt black linear pull handles from Viefe nod to the slimline fenestration and sleek accessories. The worktops, Dekton by Cosentino, are Entzo in colour and mitre-cut to create a perfect waterfall island end. The marbled tops run through into the walk-in larder, where a dresser-style floor-to-ceiling bank of pantry cupboards include a Dekton midshelf – the cold surface pivotal in creating the perfect baking store. A Quooker tap gives boiling water on demand and Miele appliances, including twin eye-level ovens and a "barely there" flat integrated induction hob, allow for professional efficiency.
When Celia started baking she described it as just a hobby – in fact, she would claim that it still is – an idea which we suspect her clients (many of them high profile clients and well-known commercial brands) would dispute.
“I was working in corporate communications for a global soft drinks company, which involved long hours and a big commute. I decided to take a break and look to do something more creative, which I could combine with being a mum. I'd always been quite creative and loved baking, so I was off to a flying start, and of course my background in the food and drink industry was invaluable too. “I receive some really unique commissions which give me the licence to create these beautiful little works of art.
“Working closely with Barr Kitchens, the space was designed for baking, family living and entertaining. We absolutely love hosting family and friends – everyone tends to gather round the island.”
"My focus is on individuality, quality and creativity rather than quantity. "You can't just buy the biscuits off a website," says Celia. "Each commission is completely original, personal and true to the message."
Celia's kitchen is built to last and enjoy forever. The Barr Kitchens team are delighted that this one is performing such a blissful dual function and is set to see many a bluebell season and baking commission to come.
Follow Bluebell Biscuiterie on Instagram here to see more of Celia’s fabulous creations.