For The Love Of Kitchens – A Kitchen Designer’s Kitchen
10th November 2021
We’ve reached the penultimate episode recap which is rather sad, but this might be my favourite episode of the whole series, so let’s dive in! This week we’re getting to know our Creative Director, Helen, a little better. Helen’s path to deVOL was a little unconventional. She actually met Paul whilst working at a deli, he decided to take a chance and offered her a job as a kitchen designer then and there! In just seven years, Helen rose through the ranks to become our Creative Director, totally transforming our style and creating the unique and iconic spaces that people immediately recognise today as deVOL.
Helen and Paul chat about starting a career later in life.
Plus we got to glimpse at a few shots of baby Helen and hear how her passion for design first started!
Helen chats about how her father inspired her love for design.
There has been one particular house which Helen has coveted for a long time, a Victorian home with tall ceilings and grand arched windows and enough original features to make us swoon… Well, in 2019 she got the chance to buy this house, which meant we were lucky enough to catch on film the process of Helen designing and styling her own kitchen!!
Helen discusses buying her dream home!
After designing so many kitchens over the years, Helen wanted to create a simple but eclectic space for her own home. A room filled with antiques and heirloom pieces where nothing really matched, but everything had a quiet Mediterranean vibe, so you could step into the kitchen and feel like you were on holiday.
Helen chats about designing her kitchen.
And then, in a total reversal of normal procedure, Helen became the customer in a design appointment with one of our Senior Kitchen Designers, Frankie! For those of us that work with Helen, it was a little bizarre to see her on the other side of the design process, but it was also so fascinating to hear her describe how she wanted her kitchen to look and feel, and the elements she was going to include to do this.
Helen has her design appointment!
For Helen, our Classic English cupboards were really the only suitable option and a lovely nod to her journey with deVOL as when she first started, this was the only range we had! Of course, it wouldn’t be Helen’s kitchen without a few vintage pieces too, and Phil and Ben did an incredible job in the workshop renovating a curvy pine chest of drawers and a lovely painter’s table. Can you spot the drips from the painter’s brush peeking out from behind Helen’s kettle?Ben added little block feet and casters to this vintage painter’s table so it would match the height of the worktops. Picture by Helen (@hapdesigns). Helen’s curvy pine cupboard was given a good scrub by Phil before Ben added some paint and craquelure to give it that perfect vintage, aged look.
With all the big pieces of furniture sorted, Helen was still on the lookout for some Victorian influences to tie into her kitchen. So, she and Paul headed off to visit a longtime friend of deVOL, Sera Hersham-Loftus, otherwise known as Sera of London. Sera lives in one of the most incredible apartments I have ever seen. In fact, most of the main drawing room is made up of pieces that she had shipped from Amersterdam, including the beautiful paneling on the walls! Sera has strictly no ceiling lights, and the windows, doors, and lights are all adorned in lace drapes that she designs and makes with her business partner Antonia. It really is a plush, elegant wonderland, and I couldn’t help but be inspired through the screen!Helen, Paul, and Sera discuss all things design! Sera’s beautiful home. Picture by @seraoflondon
Inspired by her visit to Sera’s, Helen was keen to include an element of lace in her kitchen, so we headed over to the ceramics studio to meet Hannah. Back in 2020, we were able to acquire an original Victorian tile press from a lovely old man in Stoke-on-Trent. It’s a big beast of a machine, but it’s also the most common way tiles were made in the Victorian era, so it was a perfect nod to the history of Helen’s new home. Hannah then had the idea of adding some scraps of lace to the mould to make a delicate pattern across the tiles. She actually used some 1950s lace from her Grandma’s own fabric shop in Nottingham, the home of British lace. It’s the small details like this that make these tiles so special, and it’s lovely to know that there’s a little bit of Hannah’s heritage in homes all over the world!
Hannah makes our Vintage Lace Market Tiles.
Helen always says to go big and bold when it comes to tiles, and true to form she decided to cover a whole wall with the Vintage Teal Lace Market Tiles!Vintage Teal Lace Market Tiles.
On the other side of the ceramics studio, we got to take a look at another of Helen’s projects, ceramic platters. Just like the rest of her kitchen, Helen wanted the platters to feel like quirky heirloom pieces that you might find at the back of your grandma’s cupboard. A one of a kind piece that evokes the feeling of big parties and gatherings in the kitchen, of plates laden with tasty food and lots of happy memories! After much back and forth with designs and prototypes, Helen and Claire settled on two styles, a large oval platter and a deep circular bowl. Claire then used a few vintage Indian printing blocks to press a pretty, intricate pattern into the soft clay.
Claire explains the nuances of clay.
Paul takes a look at Helen’s platters.
Now, if you’ve been following along with all these episode recaps, you will know that working with ceramics is a tricky business, and these platters were no exception… This time Claire got to the final stage of the process before hitting a roadblock! The beautiful blue and green glaze that had been applied to the platters was flowing off the steep sides and pooling in the centre of the dish, obscuring the pattern and changing the depth. However, Claire really is the queen of ceramics, and with a little adjustment to the glaze recipe, we had the most perfectly imperfect jewel coloured platters.Helen’s ceramic platters piled with delicious treats!
Ooh we’re almost at the end, but before Helen was ready to photograph her kitchen, she headed to London to pick up the final essential component, some plants!
Helen visits Walkers Plant Shop in East London
Helen discusses the importance of choosing the right plant for your room.
After a quick stop in our favourite deli, Leila’s, Helen was back on the road and ready to photograph her kitchen and whip up a meal for Paul using the new platters. Helen wanted to achieve a seamless mix between Victorian and Mediterranean style, and gosh did she do that! Elegant marble floors and Classic English Cupboards sit beside a joyful mix of bright colours and even a plush velvet sofa! It really is everything and more than we would expect from our Creative Director.Helen’s Victorian Mediterranean kitchen. A big Italian marble sink and our Classic English cupboards, but the main showstopper is the full wall of Vintage Teal Lace Market Tiles! A Curiosity Cupboard in ‘Printer’s Black’ and ‘Trinity Blue’.
If, like me, this is your forever inspiration, here are all the details you will need to replicate Helen’s incredible kitchen…
H E L E N ‘ S K I T C H E N D I R E C T O R Y
deVOL Kitchen Range – The Classic English Kitchen, with a Real Shaker Curiosity Cupboard
Cupboard Colour – ‘Printer’s Black’ by deVOL
Wall Colour – ‘Setting Plaster’ by Farrow & Ball
Worktops – Honed Carrara marble
Handles – deVOL’s Handcrafted Aged Brass ‘Classic’ knobs (small) & Aged Brass ‘Boho’ handles
Tap – deVOL Aged Brass ‘Mayan’ taps
Sink – deVOL Carrara 1000 Double Sink with flutes
Range Cooker – by Lacanche
Fridge – ‘Coloniale’ fridge/freezer by Smeg in colour ‘Anthracite’
Hanging Rail – Aged Brass Hanging Rail by deVOL
Lighting – From antiques fair
Tiles – Lace Market Tiles by deVOL in ‘Vintage Teal’
Floor – Parisian Chequer Marble tiles by Floors of Stone
Sofa – Vintage, from ‘Desired Effects’ on Instagram
Fish Painting – By Wendy Prather Burwell
Table – Sourced from antiques fair
Chairs – Vintage, but for similar take a look at the Bentwood Café Chairs by deVOL
Plate Rack, Pantry & 2 Pieces Either Side Of Range – Sourced from antiques fair
Well, what did you think? Is Helen’s kitchen what you expected it to be? I don’t know about you, but I think it’s just so fascinating to see Helen’s creative mind at work! If you’re ready to binge-watch, or even take it one episode at a time, the full series of For The Love Of Kitchens is available to watch on discovery+ and the Magnolia Network. And if you need a little extra help to find us, do check out my blog with all the instructions for how to watch our show.