ProjectDelft | Sustainable Kitchen Renovation


Hey guys, Holly here. If you follow us on Instagram you’ll know that I’ve been working on a secret project behind the scenes – my own home renovation. It’s been a rather epic adventure that I’ve kept tightly under wraps for the last year while I navigated the chaos that was unfolding around me including living in the middle of a building site, a busy schedule at the studio working on other design projects, the usual hustle and bustle of family life, and all the while growing a human! Now that the dust has settled (literally) I am ready to share the results with you. On our Instagram feed you can find the whole renovation progress under our story highlight called ‘ProjectDelft‘. After a suspenseful three days sharing the dirty work, it brings me so much pride and joy to share with you the first reveal of this series – our brand new kitchen!

Step inside our new and drastically improved ground floor, through a set of glass doors that brings you directly into a beautiful kitchen, designed by Avenue Design Studio and brought together in collaboration with Ask og Eng, our friends in Norway who make sustainable kitchens and furniture out of bamboo. As you might remember we visited them at their home and studio to create a series of photographs a while back and it was there in their Drammen workspace that I feel in love. Hard. The grain, the finishes, the organic properties and minimalistic sensibilities of the material were speaking to me in a big way. When it came to designing a kitchen for my own home shortly after that trip, I wasted no time in reaching out to Kine and Kristoffer of Ask og Eng.  

I chose the finish ‘Bean‘, a beautifully rich coffee bean colour that would add contrast but warmth to our home and work with the varying shades of wood throughout the rest of the house – oak, walnut and rosewood.

To highlight the length of the kitchen and create a slenderness and understated elegance in the overall look and feel, I asked Ask og Eng to work with me to design a custom drawer pull that would work with their A Collection series (fronts designed to work with an Ikea base). We came up with a very simple ‘block style’ pull showcasing the layered edge of the bamboo as a subtle detail, with an inset ledge underneath for your fingers to grip onto for easy opening. This was a special collaboration between our two studios, and the handle will be made available to those also looking to achieve the same look on their A Collection fronts.

When we bought the house 5 years ago, I dreamed of designing a long, slender kitchen with no upper cabinets but plenty of lower storage space. I envisioned an effortless and functional kitchen that could perform, with enough counter space for food prep and a clean and elegant look and feel.

As we weren’t planning on doing any major construction work at the time, we chose to work with Koak Design to fashion new oak fronts for the original kitchen that was already in the house. Click through for a tour of the old kitchen. We made some impressive updates and it worked really well for us. I loved having a wooden kitchen.

In fact, wood is a material that wins my heart over every time, and I love to mix different shades and types in all that I design. For our floors we worked with local wood supplier The Wood Store, opting for warm, pale oak planks with a subtle knot for movement and texture in an otherwise minimal space. I love how it works against the striking bamboo kitchen and walnut bar stools.

You’ll notice we brought several elements along with us from the previous set-up to the new kitchen, trying to repurpose and reuse wherever possible to be sustainable and save some pennies along the way. Things we kept were the brass kitchen rails I still love so much from Schoolhouse Electric, and of course all of my favourite kitchen accessories including ceramics from July Adrichem, Scharp Keramik, Mauk Studio, and my treasured travel momentos and vintage, inherited and gifted pieces. We also managed to repurpose our Ikea fridge and cupboards, and even the self-made shelf we fashioned out of multiplex birch wood for the old set-up too. We had to make some minor adjustments to make it fit in the corner niche beside the front window but it worked and fills the space nicely and provides more valuable storage.

We brought in walnut stools from Ethnicraft which add a lovely warm hue to the wooden tones. Ask og Eng’s A7 wall shelf provides just enough wall storage and display space, while contributing to the minimalist vibe we wanted to channel in our newly renovated home. The striking architectural artwork is by Hague-based artist Rob van Hemert.

We worked with Hi-Macs Solid Surface countertops in the colour Carrara Bruno. It is a marble inspired composite that has the most beautiful chocolate brown vein (or swirl) through a milky white surface. Hi-Macs is a non-porous solid surface material that allows thermoforming (inconspicuous joining of sheets), which was great for our kitchen because we wanted the whole six meter countertop to be one surface without joins. The process in which the panels are joined together is fascinating – I have shared a video of it HERE on Instagram stories. Due to the composite makeup of the material and the fact that it is non-pourous, it is an extremely hard wearing and durable material, which is perfect for us as a family that really use the kitchen and don’t want to be precious about the work tops.

We considered a backsplash out of the same material, but were also into a tiled backsplash. In the end, we used a water resistant, wipeable paint for the walls (Farrow & Ball Strong White used throughout) and decided – given the speed at which things were moving and the decision making overload one of us in particular was suffering from – to cross that bridge (maybe) later. So far we are really pleased with the durability of the walls and the practicality of being able to wipe them clean after cooking. Where’s our extractor fan, you ask? We don’t have one and don’t intend to get one either. We haven’t had one for 5 years now and don’t miss it. We have sufficient ventilation. Does our house smell of food? No.

One of the most game changing elements of our remodel was changing the direction of our staircase, so that it juts into the kitchen and becomes a bit of a feature as well as allowing us to make the most of every square meter of the space.

To give you a bit of context on the new layout compares to what it was previously, and to give you an idea of how the new kitchen is laid out in relation to the rest of the ground floor, see the below sketches :

As you can see we removed the existing extension containing a guest toilet and laundry/mudroom in favour of adding more living space. It was rotting away and in desperate need of renovating, but sprucing it up didn’t feel right and simply knocking it down wasn’t as simple as it seemed because it meant we would need to re-house the guest toilet and laundry, which was proving both tricky space wise and costly (since a full extension would mean a new kitchen, staircase and floors).

After much deliberation and many layout options, we bit the bullet and went all the way, deciding to invest in the ground floor properly and really add value. We re-situated the laundry on the upper floor and made room at the entry for a guest toilet. The deck out the back was lovely but it was dark and ended up being a bit of a dumping ground for bins and garden mess, so saying goodbye to that in favour of a big kitchen and more spacious living area was an easy compromise, and we still managed to retain our tiny pebbled garden. You’ll see some of that when we reveal the living room in a few weeks.

To say we are thrilled with the kitchen would be a huge understatement. Working with Ask og Eng was a dream and the whole thing from designing, planning, decision making to implementation went so smoothly. Would I recommend living in your home while renovating the entire ground floor? NO. Absolutely not. But despite having to wash our dishes in the garden crouched over a bucket of cold water, cook from a camping stove for weeks on end, live like gypsies with all of our personal belongings piled up around us, the painstaking wait for freshly plastered walls and concrete floors to dry and the mammoth amount of personal effort it took to get the house to the state it is now in, is worth all the blood, sweat and tears (and first trimester nausea). We did it, and we are so pleased with the results.

So what do you guys think?! Let me know if you have any questions or remarks in the comments section below.

We’ll be back soon to share the new living room next! See you then.


|| Interior design, styling and photography: Avenue Design Studio 

12 Responses to “ProjectDelft | Sustainable Kitchen Renovation”

  1. Holly, it’s absolutely beautiful. Well done!

  2. Paula says:

    Love it!
    We are in the middle of a renovation (whole) house. We will move to the 2nd floor soon and prepare the otters. This is such an inspiration!

  3. Aliyah says:

    So amazing guys!!!! Love the simplicity and high contrast. Those countertops are my favorite part (and the cabinets and the flooring :))
    Well done! Can’t wait to see the rest

    • Holly says:

      The countertops are absolutely beautiful and so practical too which is such a pleasure. I’m pretty sure my cooking has improved too 😉 Thank you, Aliyah! Next instalment not far away.

  4. Steph says:

    Holly, what an amazing transformation. Love how it all turned out. You did an awesome job!

  5. Absolutely gorgeous Holly!
    Must be such a joy to work in a space like that.
    Do you have a dishwasher hidden in there somewhere or have you decided against one as well?

    • Holly says:

      Thank you, Corinne! A pleasure to cook here indeed. Yes we have a dishwasher, right next to the window. It has a matching panel to disguise it for a streamlined look 🙂

  6. APK Gift says:

    I absolutely love what you have done with this space. The small gallery of artwork, the cushion choice and the rug are just everything!! Such a talented lady.

  7. Linde says:

    So inspiring. I absolutely love your style (and this kitchen)!

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