If there is one person who has their finger on the pulse of all things bespoke it has to be Charlie Kingham of Kingham Cabinet Makers.
Q: When did you decide you wanted a career in cabinet design and making?
A: I Have always had a passion for furniture design. So a career in cabinet design and making was an obvious path to take.
Q: Tells us about the first project you ever designed?
A: My first project was a 200 year old period mill house in Buckinghamshire which made superb use of our truly bespoke joinery. The Kitchen featured a large island that had to sit across a step as the kitchen was on two levels. We got around this by stepping the island on two planes which became an enhanced feature with seating at one end and double undercounted sinks at the other.
Part of the brief was for the kitchen to have an un-fitted feel. The use of a freestanding larder and open shelving instead of wall cabinets really helped to achieve an airy and spacious look which suited the country cottage feel required to compliment the period of the property.
Oh, and all this needed to completed for Christmas day as dinner was set for 22 family members, this we achieved and everyone could not have been more complimentary about the finished kitchen.
This Kitchen was a great showcase for the Charlie Kingham work ethic and style, making full use of our bespoke hand made joinery to create our clients dream kitchen.
Q: One of your hand-painted kitchens has recently been featured in House & Garden. Tell us about the kitchen featured and what makes it special?
A: Yes, this particular project was a fantastic one to work on. The client wanted a modern feel to the cabinetry, but not a handle-less, high-gloss look. We took the shaker mentality and kept it very simple, then added in industrial ironmongery. It took time to pull the elements together but they provided a spectacular result.
The cabinets are painted in Mylands ‘Bond Street’, contrasted by the central island painted in ‘Crace’ with a reclaimed teak work top. The idea behind the Island is that is stands alone as a piece of furniture. This gives the impression of a kitchen that has evolved over time. We are trying to get away from that pastiche of a ‘fitted kitchen’.
Everything in this kitchen was carefully considered to create the perfect blend of elegance with practicality. I always say, its fine having the prettiest kitchen in the world, but if it doesn’t function properly people wont enjoy it. For example when standing at the sink the bin is located to the left and dishwasher to the right, this way they have every thing accessible. Little touches like this make the kitchen flow and improve the users experience.
Q: Do you have a design hero who influences your work?
A: I don’t have a hero as such, more a period of time that influences my work. I admire the style of design from the Georgian era; an elegant and traditional look that I feel is reflected in the cabinetry I design.
Q: Tell us about your design process, and what makes your kitchens so special?
A: Our design process is truly bespoke. Every kitchen or piece of cabinetry is designed for that individual client to fit his or her space. All of our cabinetry is hand made in the UK using traditional joinery techniques methods then lovingly hand painted.
Q: Paint features quite heavily in your work, do you have any favorite colours?
A: I like to use subtle colours like Chiswick as the main base for the room, it is wonderful how versatile a colour like this can be. I then like use a feature such as an island to inject a bold colour, artillery ground for example, into the room to add a visually striking contrast.
Q: How would you describe your own style?
A: The Charlie Kingham style is very set in a traditional shaker look. Framed cabinetry with varying levels of shaker doors drawers and detailing. It is completely up to our clients on how simple or detailed they would like their cabinetry to be and there project will be designed with that in mind.
Q: What are the quickest and easiest ways to update a tired kitchen?
A: It is always amazing how much a new coat of paint can bring life back into an old kitchen. A good selection of colour can make a kitchen feel fresh and new again.