Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Duck Egg Press Release for 'Kirstie's Vintage Home'

Image copyright of www.facebook.com/KirstiesHandmadeBritain

After stripping walls, digging up an over run garden and some painting, we were, however, stumped by what to do with our kitchen. A medley of Formica cabinets, dodgy wiring and the obligatory woodchip, the kitchen had become a a place to spend as little time in as possible. Cooking was not a joy and any more than one person and the kitchen felt crowded. It was a room where nothing fitted in the cupboards and we shut the door to it and tried to forget about it. After reading on Twitter that Kirstie Allsopp was looking for domestic disasters for her new series ‘Kirstie’s Vintage Home’, we decided this might be a great way to find inspiration for our kitchen. Our limited DIY knowledge had no solutions for a galley style kitchen, that we wanted to integrate into the dining room without any huge structural changes and have the fresh country feel of the lovely seaside cottages we have rented in Norfolk. Kirstie’s blend of vintage and the handmade coupled with her sensible approach has always appealed to me, so after a glass of wine hubby and I filled in the form with answers we thought suitably hysterical and eye catching. Oh dear. After assessing our sleep deprived application form we were less than hopeful, however somehow the production team believed we had potential and we started the whirlwind procedure of phase two of our renovation work for ‘Kirstie’s Vintage Home’! We were guided by our fantastic stylist, Chehvani Leonard and a plan of works began to materialised.

Image copyright of www.facebook.com/KirstiesHandmadeBritain

Exiled from the disaster zone that was the ripped out kitchen, I managed (pestered) our builder and my husband remotely. Demanding updates and photographic evidence and trying not to think too much when the photos were rather slow arriving! Rewiring hiccups and beautiful tongue and groove assembled and we had the shell of our kitchen and the designing process began. It was at this stage that the wonderful Lynda from Sandford Mills kitchens collaborated with us and after some creative brainstorming we all came up with the most practical yet aesthetic layout of the kitchen. We moved the cooking unit which had perilously sat behind the back door to a unit isolated in the middle away from little hands. We also began the incredible, yet slightly daunting task of filming. Filming took place both at our house and in the gorgeous craft café set up for ‘Kirstie’s Vintage Home’. I knew we would be in safe hands with the designs for our kitchen and dining room when I saw what they had created in an old antiques shop in Portobello. Beautiful crates were attached to the wall with handcrafted blankets, a beautiful work surface had been created from school lab worktops and the whole place was inviting and special, creating a wonderful environment for the crafts for the series to take place. It was in this café that we crafted stunning willow mats with Kirstie Allsopp, although mine somehow ended up rather hole-y and my husband excelled in his! We also created plates for our dresser with the talented potter, Richard. It required some imagination both physically and verbally to craft and chat at the same time. Surrounded by the endlessly patient and enthusiastic crew, there were moments when we were rather tongue tied, but Kirstie was effortless in guiding us for answers and soon we were chatting away and pretending the cameras were not there! 

We had an indulgent and hilarious afternoon at Ray’s salvage yard in North London. After being in the wholesome air of the countryside I eagerly breathed in the fumes of  the city as I walked to this eclectic treasure trove of a salvage yard. From mirrors to basins, fridges to garden ornaments we had a a happy afternoon wandering and bartering with Ray. Kirstie had a great eye and was keen to display the different uses of the items on show. We came away with some beautiful pieces, of which my favourites were a vintage knife sharpener and some gorgeous salvaged handles to make a unique statement in our kitchen.

Inspired by the vintage pieces we had picked up, the team of specialists, builders, carpenters, plumbers and production team and the Duck Egg crew set to work on transforming the kitchen. The amazingly talented and patient Lynda came to oversee thee painting and installation of her beautiful Sandford Mills kitchen and under her watchful eye and that of her brilliant carpenter the kitchen was installed. Our Ebay finds of a butler sink and vintage looking taps at a fraction of the prices we were quoted also started to display what the overall result would be. With the warmth of the tongue and groove replacing the peeling woodchip, it was a welcoming place to be. Further transformed the production team and stylist artfully decorated with beautiful shelves, clever storage and mirrors to reflect the light in the dining room. We had always said we wanted some form of chalkboard from which to write up our business plans for Duck Egg and were astounded by the beauty of the chalkboard they created, still in line with the era, but a wonderful family noticeboard of first letters, doodles and shopping lists! In amongst this chaos, Nick still had to work and the crew still had to film. Our sitting room stored the filming equipment that was endlessly fascinating to our little toddler, a mini Steven Spielberg in the making!

We are thrilled with our makeover and the whole experience. From a Duck Egg point of view the experience has been invaluable. We have met some incredible and very talented people; crafts people who are essential to a vibrant creative Britain. Working with Kirstie was immensely fun and stimulating and reinforced how much we enjoy what we do. We have gained a beautiful kitchen and dining space and gained confidence in what we stand for; for vintage design that is always communicating with the network of artisans.
Image copyright of www.facebook.com/KirstiesHandmadeBritain

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