Feeling the warmth

Rose tones of maple and rattan emulate the spirit of Barr Kitchens client Ella Marks.

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As a filmmaker and self-confessed visual obsessive, bringing emotion to a scene, whether on screen or within a space, comes naturally.

We talk to Ella Marks about designing her first home – and why the maple kitchen, and living space, was particularly important to her.

Ella: “Designing the kitchen was really about striking the balance between functionality and design. I wanted to create a space where everyone would feel relaxed and just hang out – like they’re on holiday. I really didn’t want it to feel too precious. I wanted everyone to be able to walk around with their shoes on, spill a glass of wine or smoke out the window. I actually had friends over for dinner and drinks last night – which, knowing we were shooting the kitchen with you this morning, was possibly a bit of a mistake!

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"Getting my own place and working on it from scratch has been really exciting. This was the only place I looked at and I knew straight away it was the one. The layout and character of the apartment is exactly like our childhood home, which was also in Notting Hill. We were all gutted when it was sold and I was definitely trying to replicate the feeling of what we had there - that real sense of warmth and familiarity. I feel like that’s easier to achieve with period buildings - there’s a richness in the original features and history that really lends itself to that.

“Life can be tumultuous – I wanted my apartment to be port in the storm, somewhere to come and hunker down – not just for me, but for the people I love.”

“Chris Leigh-Cattrall [Barr Kitchens and Barr Joinery director] understood what I was trying to achieve straight away and worked with me to develop the concept. There were times where I’d feel a bit overwhelmed by the project and Chris was brilliant at keeping my feet on the ground and coming up with solutions. I knew I wanted to mix woods and textures to offset that clean-cut matching aesthetic that we see a lot in interiors – Chris completely got that. Mixing maple and oak, with the rattan and micro cement really brought the warmth and character I wanted to the space. They do say it’s all in the detail – and that's what Chris and Barr Kitchens were brilliant at honing in on – things like the tiny spotlights instead of LED strips set into the oak shelving made all the difference.

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“My favourite thing has been filling the apartment with all of the bits and bobs I've collected from everywhere I've been. It’s like having your own personal art gallery! And having the neutral foundation of the kitchen to anchor the space has allowed me to add all of my colourful vintage finds, prints and random trinkets. That’s the beauty of the kitchen and the apartment – you can really continue to add to it over time without feeling like it’s ever going to overwhelm the space.

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View the full project

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