Q&A with the Kitchen designer

When Rachel Davies decided to revamp her kitchen, she knew it wasn’t going to be a straightforward task. ‘We wanted a space that would work as a family room but also as a kitchen for my cookery school,’ she explains. Rachel started her business, Rachel’s Kitchen, in 2010. She ran cooking classes at different venues across London but was keen to create a base for the business at home, generating a unique, approachable atmosphere for her sessions. ‘It was important we had a large, practical space. But it also needed to be warm and homely so my husband, Simon, and I could relax there with our two young children, aged one and three’.

Rachel worked with Scenario Architecture to create an extension to her Victorian home in East Finchley and then turned to Matrix Design to help with the kitchen. ‘Our designer, Jaimee Warda, was brilliant. It was great that we could create a kitchen based on our specific needs, and she was really responsive to our ideas,’ explains Rachel. ‘She even plotted out the size of a chopping board and replicated it around the island on her computer to see how many people could fit around it in a class.’

How did you approach this complex brief, Jamiee?
I started by having an in-depth discussion with Rachel about how she wanted to use and live in the space. It was clear we’d need to strike a balance between something that was robust and industrial but still suitable as a comfortable kitchen for a growing family.

Did you come across any obstacles?
One of the biggest decisions was what to do with the extractor. It is unusual to have such a large and powerful hob on an island, however this was important for the cooking school. It was vital that the extraction solution did not obstruct people’s view during classes.

How did you maximise storage space?
One side of the kitchen has more storage than the other, with double-stacked cabinets up to the ceiling – this is dedicated to all the cookery school equipment. It was important to keep it separate from the family’s things. There are even separate fridges – one for class guests and one for the family.