The Calm Before The Storm - Eliza Barnes
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The Calm Before The Storm

Eliza Barnes co-owner Paula shares how she approaches new interior design projects.

I am starting a new kitchen job next week in London. It’s an exciting time, a new design, open-minded clients with interesting lives, a piano (amongst many other musical instruments) and four children from 7 to 16.

Right now, they have a tiny kitchen space that has not been touched for about 11 years and is in a state of total dilapidation. A tight budget, so we have to be smart with our money and the open brief to ‘do what you think we will like’. It’s a particularly interesting challenge for me.

Where to start?


Before starting any such project, ask yourself some important questions about how you live. Find out how people live. How much time do you spend cooking or entertaining or generally hanging out it the kitchen. Where do the kids do their homework? Where is your favourite place to sit in your house? How do you use your kitchen?

Basis for inspiration


I always start with an object that I love. It might be a kitchen workbench, doors, lights or tiles. In the case of the job starting next week it’s some Victorian double doors with leaded detail that I simply could not resist. They need restoration but they have become the centre piece for the look of the kitchen.

The doors have lead to me to give the kitchen a look – I would call it minimal luxury. Minimal luxury is a kitchen with a simple and clean aesthetic with some elegant or grand detailing to add in an element of luxury.

Next I found the reclaimed copper lights from the Netherlands. These were too good to pass up and became the next item from which to design the whole kitchen.

Bare bones


Make sure you have the bare bones in place before you start work. Do you need planning to alter your space? Do you need building regulations to check what you are doing? Is your builder up to the job? Is the structure good? Can you afford what you want to do?

Try and make sure there are no hold-ups by checking how long things take to fix, build or get on site. That way you can make sure you order on time.

Heres another shot of the house before my work begins, we will post the results soon.