The Height of style in a smaller Kitchen

The kitchen you see on these pages was designed by Natasha Wegrzyn, of Poggenpohl Chelsea Studio. We asked her about the brief and inspiration for the kitchen.


Creating kitchens within small spaces can be a challenge. The client will have specific requirements, the inclusion of particular appliances, for example. But there will also be structural issues, and in this case, as the property was a first-floor apartment in a Georgian townhouse, the position of waste dictated where certain elements of the kitchen could be placed.

The most important thing for the client was the fluidity of the design from kitchen through to living space, and that while it would be a separate area for cooking, it must also be one entire space for living and dining.

From the outset I wanted to embrace the period features of the building, like the original sash windows.

The addition of the Crittall framework to create a glass wall between the kitchen and living area was a suggestion from the architect, and one that we think looks so striking. Once we knew the Crittall separation would be there, we incorporated it into the design by using the top of the arch as a focal point and designed the wall units to reach the same height.

The ceilings in the apartment were incredibly high, so even though we added additional storage by using the height, there was still more space above, ensuring the kitchen didn’t overpower the space, but instead extended the elegance that aligned with the door height.

The glass doors at the top of the tall units help to elevate the space and draw the eye up, while also ensuring that light is bounced around the small space. The fluted glass that we chose to use in these door fronts also gives a more traditional feel and added texture without overpowering the space – just a subtle addition that adds so much to the overall design.

There were two columns that initially were going to be removed, but actually it became so problematic that we suggested we build around them to conceal them rather than the homeowners’ having to undergo significant structural work.

We therefore changed the kitchen design to incorporate the columns, creating a broom cupboards for utility type storage to include an ironing board. Low shelving was also included for cleaning products. So while this area was initially going to be more open, we ended up helping by providing a solution to an otherwise expensive and messy problem for the home owner.

We incorporated a breakfast station with pocket doors, in order that all the smaller breakfast style appliances could be hidden from view, to reduce clutter, keep the worktop clean and tidy - due to the size of the space it was important not to have the kitchen too busy with coffee machines, kettles and waffle makers.

The client was mindful not to over-complicate the kitchen and have too many units, as it was quite a small space. Therefore they agreed with me on the design to include the open shelving on one wall. This allowed a place for plants and herbs and decorative items to have pride of place, while keeping the wall open, allowing light to be able to bounce around the room and stop the space feeling too enclosed.

The customer was keen on the use of natural colours and textures, and using organic tones to create a soft and welcoming feel to the kitchen. This desire from early on in the process led us to the warmer tones and textures that we ended up with, like the beautiful natural walnut doors with the brass accents and highlights.

The dark wood wall cladding was original, but had to be removed and reinstated after the kitchen installation to ensure it wasn’t damaged. It was very much part of the design process and therefore we had to incorporate the wooden tones into the design selection from the beginning. There is also wall cladding in the living area, and so by incorporating it into the design, it was a nod to the integral look and feel of the space as a whole. The wooden floor was also a prerequisite, it needed to run throughout the kitchen and living area, ensuring fluidity of the space as a whole, rather than having a defined kitchen area.

The customer liked the idea of a real marble worktop, but due to practicality and heavy use in a busy family kitchen, we recommended porcelain. It gives the desired look, but is supremely more practical as it has heat- and scratch-resistant properties, while also coming in such a wide range of colours and tones – this one has a beautiful gold vein running through it. The chosen worktop helped to achieve the organic look that the customer was after – a soft, warm, homely feel, while also being luxurious. The use of the same porcelain for the splashback ensured an elegant and clean overall appearance. The bronze accent on the handles and lighting was enough, and so we decided there didn’t need to be an additional colour or material to over complicate the space.

Initially the client wanted a Shaker door, a more classically traditional style, but eventually we persuaded them that a classic look doesn’t need to be Shaker. With the use of textures, colours and materials you can make a modern door look more traditional. The addition of wall sconces and cornice gives the kitchen a more classical feel and ambience.

The customer wanted a bar area, so we created a drinks area at the end of the worktop run with a wine storage unit as well as cabinets for glasses and accessories.

The use of the Crittall doors, while an addition by the architect, adds such beauty to the overall design. It’s a wonderful juxtaposition – with the black, modern, metal in the beautiful organic shape. Both sets of Crittall doors open up, with the set to the right as you look from the living room opening to reveal a monolithic porcelain clad worktop returning to the floor. This offers a much softer aesthetic for the space as it appears from the living area, rather than the back of a kitchen cabinet, or a false door.

Additionally, the use of soft, elegant lighting in specific areas rather than just having bright, overhead and task lighting wouldn’t have offered the right ambience for such a serene space. When not cooking, the area needs to be lit in the right way. It’s so important that lighting is considered while planning the space as a whole, and for different tasks and times of day.

Finally, around the edge of the wine storage unit door, we changed the trim to bronze to match the aesthetic of the rest of the room, ensuring no steel was visible anywhere and that it matched the handles and wall sconces. Such a seemingly simple addition to the design can elevate the space. And we are simply thrilled with how it has turned out!

Designer’s words of wisdom:

Don’t let the definition of ‘traditional’ or ‘contemporary’ limit your style or choice. What is classic? What is modern? You don’t have to choose a Shaker door if your house is a period property - your style shouldn’t be governed by a door front, but instead enjoy the use of textures, tones and colours to give a more traditional feel. Allow the room to bridge the gap between traditional and contemporary, or go for a more classic approach which sits neatly in the niche between the two.

Can you provide three pointers to help readers when planning their own renovations and with particular reference to space-saving ideas.

1). Don’t be afraid of height – but be cautious that by building up, it doesn’t feel too bulky or over powering. You must consider how it will affect the overall environment and that the space doesn’t feel too heavy, but ultimately, there’s a lot of available space above where a standard wall unit ends.

2). Be mindful of the overuse of colours and textures. Less is sometimes more. Two different colours on the door fronts in this space would have been too much. Simplistic elegance is a far more sophisticated look and here always works to combine the traditional with the contemporary.

3). Commit to the architecture – Use the style of the home and embrace all it has to offer while designing what your kitchen will look like.


Kitchen cabinetry - Poggenpohl Classic. Natural walnut, vertical grain.

Worktop – Porcelain, Neolith Himalayan Crystal.

Sink - 1810 Axix, porcelain clad. (same material on the sides as the worktop, so it appears seamless, but the base is stainless steel).

Kitchen tap - Quooker brushed brass tap. Fusion round patinated brass.


Original panelling, but re-fitted. The same architectural detail was created in the living space for a seamless design.

Handles and fittings - Knurled antique brass handles

Cooker hood - Falmec Gruppo Incasso No drop, Built in flush extractor

Cooker - V Zug Black mirror finish. Combi and Standard oven.

Metal-framed arched windows - Architect installed Crittall windows.

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