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The Kingswood kitchen: hospitality inspirations

Marrying modern and industrial style, this contemporary kitchen is warm and tactile and has plenty of space to entertain.

Carl and Hannah’s modern kitchen space co-ordinates perfectly. A Marmoreal colour palette provides the jumping-off point for a kitchen design that combines dark green kitchen fronts, light birch wood and Hand & Eye’s ‘A Beam’ terracotta lighting.

We sat down with Carl to talk about his design aesthetic being influenced by years of working in the hospitality industry, switching to a more eco-friendly career, and renovating an entire house in lockdown.

‘I met my wife at university here in Leeds. We’re both from the midlands area originally.
At university I started off studying medicine but then I changed routes. I went to work in the hospitality industry, which then led me to the wine industry, where I stayed for fifteen years. Wine has been a fairly big part of my life!

More recently, I’ve joined a tech company. An opportunity presented itself to work in sales for a tech company that provides payment solutions for electric vehicle fleets. It gave me the ability to further my career but to also tell my daughters that I’ve been doing good for the world, not just selling booze to people with lots of money!

My wife is a language teacher. Being able to speak so many languages was definitely handy for the wine trips, but unfortunately the language skills haven’t rubbed off on me!’

‘We both came up to Leeds to university and have ended up staying here. It’s a great city – it’s big enough to give you all the stuff that you want, but not too big that you get lost in it. Also, the connections are great; you can be in London, Scotland, North Wales and the Lake District really easily.

We moved to Roundhay in North Leeds after renting a place together in Chapel Allerton. It’s a lovely leafy suburb north of the city centre, and the park is a glorious green space.

It was my wife that found this place: it’s a 1930s three-bedroom semidetached house. It’s very close to amenities – there’s lots of bars and cafes nearby as well as the park and lots of schools. When we bought it it was unfortunately a bit of a dump and a bit old-fashioned.’

wood and green kitchen cabinet with kitchen island

‘We were about to move house, but after the pandemic happened we had a change of heart. We decided to reassess what we had, extend the mortgage and renovate the entire house.

We started with an attic conversion and gradually worked our way down the house. We didn’t originally think we were going to redecorate every room! It’s been a bit of a monster project but the end result has definitely been worth it. We’re really pleased with it.’

hob on island with wall units

‘For me, the fundamental part of this whole house refurb was the kitchen. I’m the one that does most of the cooking and I’ll quite happily spend hours doing it. I knew I wanted the hob in the centre of the island so that I could cook and entertain at the same time. As we have a young family, we also really wanted a space where we could have the kids in here as well.

I started researching the kitchen by trawling magazines and the internet to see what I liked. I didn’t want something that was too fussy, too shiny or too bling! I found HØLTE through an article about bespoke IKEA kitchens and I instantly knew I liked it.

We designed everything remotely. We had a lot of confidence in the process and the samples that Lisa the kitchen designer sent us were exactly what we were looking for. Lisa and Fiona (one of HØLTE’s directors) were on the end of the line very regularly for us too.’

‘For me, designing the interior of the house has always been about creating a balance that fits the style of the house. We like the 30s, 40s and mid-century look and we’ve also added in some older furniture that we’ve inherited from family. I think I like that sort of look because I’ve worked in hospitality.

Lisa has really nailed the design. That especially comes across when we use the space for entertaining. There’s really nice little tweaks and quirks – such as the wine fridge and the drinks cabinet – that we love.’

white cupboards with dark green island unit

‘Sustainability is really important to me. I really like the combination of IKEA’s sustainable forestry and the long lifetime kitchen guarantees. With that combined with HØLTE’s environmental credentials, it gave me plenty reassurance that what we were doing was right.

We wanted to buy something for the long haul: that’s exactly what the kitchen is all about to us. I fully expect this kitchen to be around in at least the next 20 – 30 year’s time.’

‘The kitchen is a genuinely amazing space. Transformative is a big word but it has entirely transformed our family life. The kids are happy doing their homework in here, and as there’s no TV in here they’re also watching a lot less TV!

When we have people around, they always comment on how amazing the kitchen is and how different it looks. Even the builders asked where we got the kitchen from! It says to me that we did exactly the right thing – we didn’t want it to look the same as other kitchens. It stands out and we love it.’