My favourite space: Kiwi designer's London kitchen

Copper pans from the French House hang like art above the Smeg cooker in Bridie Hall's London kitchen.
CATHERINE GRATWICKE

Copper pans from the French House hang like art above the Smeg cooker in Bridie Hall's London kitchen.

Kiwi designer Bridie Hall and her partner Andy Thornton are a rare breed among Londoners. "We're some of the very few homeowners who didn't rip out the kitchen and start over again," says Bridie.

Others might have been tempted. When the pair moved into their four-storey home in North London a decade ago, the kitchen, located on the lower-ground floor, was decorated in what Bridie describes as "a challenging array of colours and finishes". The bones where there, notes Bridie, but "visually, there was a lot going on".

According to Bridie, the tiles were bright turquoise, the walls were an egg yolk yellow, the worktop was polyurethane orange, the cabinets "a tasteful, straight-off-the-production-line sage green that seemed totally out of place" and there were huge Mexican terracotta floor tiles.

The lower-ground floor kitchen opens onto the conservatory.
CATHERINE GRATWICKE

The lower-ground floor kitchen opens onto the conservatory.

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Bridie's first instinct was to paint everything white, which "calmed everything – and everybody – down", though she later settled on a pale grey. She stripped back the shiny hard orange polyurethane on the worktop and "broke loose with the wood bleach and liming wax".  "In next to no time it had mellowed out to a lovely silvery oak colour which I wax from time to time and that keeps it improving with age." She also painted the turquoise splashback tiles cream – a paint job that, aside from the odd small repair, has lasted 10 years, says Bridie.

Although Bridie sometimes wonders whether the kitchen might have been better located elsewhere in the house, she thinks she'd miss its proximity to the conservatory. "In the summer it's easy to take dinner out into the garden or it's nice to just open the doors to the garden and let the evening in while cooking."

Looking through the kitchen to the conservatory and garden. 

New Zealand designer Bridie Hall.
CATHERINE GRATWICKE

New Zealand designer Bridie Hall.

What are the key features of this space? The key feature for me is the kitchen layout. I have that kitchen sink to cooker to fridge triangle pretty sorted, so that moving around the kitchen when I'm busy cooking is really easy, as those three points are easy to access instead of having to double back on myself. And I love that it is in between the conservatory and the dining room.

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How do you change the look of your kitchen? I paint the cupboard doors every couple of years because I think this is the best way to make a quick change and I like the finish on wooden cupboard doors to be painted with a brush. I know it's an insanely small detail but it seems a bit friendlier to me.

How do you use your kitchen most often? I love entertaining. I don't do it that often, but my favourite thing is to cook for a huge number of people (about 15 to 20). I start first thing in the morning, put the radio on and just potter all day long making as many different delicious things as I can.

Reminders of New Zealand sit among Hall's museum-inspired collection of trinkets.
CATHERINE GRATWICKE

Reminders of New Zealand sit among Hall's museum-inspired collection of trinkets.

What do you like best about your kitchen? Its width; I like the free space in the middle and it's a luxury to be able to push the little trolley to the side and have a hula-hooping session in central London!

 - NZ House & Garden

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