Planning a new kitchen in an old or listed property

Planning a new kitchen in an old or listed property – Space saving tips

It’s a relatively new concept that the kitchen should be at the heart of the home. Generally, we find that kitchens in old properties have not always been kitchens.

A lack of space, awkward walls and undulating floors, along with an array of tricky architectures features can lead to unwelcome surprises if not factored in during the design stages.

We are here to help. At Papilio we have taken a lot of time to consider how to maximize usage of the room available without compromising on looks; here are our top tips.

marble kitchen islands, modern kitchen

Work with wonky walls

We always recommend that kitchen carcasses incorporate tricky architectural features, thus creating order which makes a space feel larger. Making an over allowance of materials at the design stages enables cabinetry to be butted up neatly to even the most characterful of walls.

For example, we recently fitted a cabinet along a wall with vertical beams running part way. We kept the run of units straight and designed a space for the beam within the custom-made cabinet neatly scribing around the work surface, so it fits snugly back to the wall.

Kitchen with AGA, Oak kitchen

Incorporating architectural features’ in the Georgian Manor Kitchen

Maximise use of space

If your property is blessed with high ceilings like the Georgian Manor House pictured then take shelving and cabinetry up to the ceiling. This creates usable storage space and an awe inspiring feature that you can restyle time and time again.

We added a false back to this bespoke oak veneer high shelving feature wall in the Georgian Manor Kitchen. Within which we hid away a plethora of services and lighting systems.

This style of ceiling high cabinetry can also hide tricky surfaces and even create a room dividing wall if conservation won’t allow standard changes within the property.


Georgian kitchen, oak kitchen

Tall shelving in the Georgian Manor Kitchen

The Beauty of Bespoke 

Modular kitchens are mass produced to work with the ‘standard’ sizes for appliances. However, if you don’t have appliance in part of the kitchen you don’t need a standard sized unit and it may not be right for the space.

If space is limited it makes perfect sense to reduce the depth of a cabinet to ensure that the transient spaces are not compromised. The same applies if you have a large space standard/modular furniture can make the space feel awkward and imposing, enlarging the depth of the counter tops will make the room feel more comfortable and functional.

Working drawing for bespoke units in the Copper Kitchen

Add a Pantry or larder 

Ask yourself is there a slice of hall or a large cupboard you can utilise for storage? If so a well-designed pantry or larder can revolutionise your life. By doing the work of several cabinets they keep all the clutter away from your main space.

Over the years we have incorporated all kinds of equipment into these spaces, washing machine, condensing dryers, second freezers, wine fridges, dog wash stations and more. Why compromise? They offer a great way to max on space and look fantastic.

bespoke pantry, bespoke kitchen

Plush ‘Butlers Pantry’

Clever Drawers

Well-designed kitchens should appear uncluttered and incorporate a wealth of clever storage solutions to ensure you keep those ‘useful’ spiralizers and avocado de stoners in easy reach.

Whilst drawers within drawers make use of the full depth. Improvements in runner technology means that plates and other crockery can be easily stored away. Dividing storage can make space for herbs, chopping boards, recycling/refuse, knife racks, charging stations and so on.

A good designer will help you visualize how you use the space and plan these systems into the fabric of the kitchen.

kitchen drawers, solid wood drawers

Bespoke solid oak drawers

Hot technology 

Papilio Designers love innovative technology. Induction hobs with built in recirculating extraction have to be the Best tech to hit the market in years and an absolute dream for the retro fit (see Miele’s built in hood and cooker top).

We also love other space saving gems such as zoneless induction cook tops, 4 way taps with filtered boiling, cold, spring and unfiltered hot/cold water, fridge/freezer drawers and nifty plinth integrated vacuums you can sweep bits of peelings into, magic!

Miele hob, integrated extraction

Miele induction hob with integrated extraction
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