We think of the kitchen as the new living room – “we live in here now” is what so many of our Humphrey Munson customers tell us after their projects have been installed. And it does make sense – these open plan spaces mean all the family can be in the same space but without getting in each other’s way and everyone likes a bit of personal space to do their own thing.
The flexibility within the space to cook, eat and most importantly relax together in what has now become the central hub of the home is so important. Whether a breakfast bar or a more formal dining table is for you, here is a selection of our favourite seating options and why they work so well.
I . SOCIABLE ISLAND SEATING
The light and welcoming kitchen at the Cobham project has been designed with family life and entertaining in mind. The island is of particular importance to this space as it provides an informal seating area with wooden bar stools for breakfast together on the weekends, quick family meals during the week or a place for a guest to perch with a coffee whilst catching up. Rather than sit in a row, the clients chose for the seating to go around the corner making the space much more sociable for conversation.
The breakfast cupboard is concealed at the end of the cooking run behind the island within arms reach of the informal island seating. With plenty of countertop space for the Dualit taster, coffee machine and shelving above for tea and coffee supplies, cups etc guests can easily help themselves.
An ‘around the corner’ island seating area is ideal for entertaining and busy families and provides a great spot for the family to eat together as it is more inclusive than meals at a large dining table. It also provides a perfect spot for guests to relax out of the way of the host preparing food at the island.
II . BANQUETTE ISLAND SEATING
Carefully zoned with a space for food prep, cooking, dining and also providing a great place to relax, this kitchen at the Walton Barn project has been designed with ease of use in mind whether it is for family meals or low key dinner with friends. The banquette seating at the island takes on a sociable feel while the island and cooking run are the workhorses of the room.
Sub-Zero refrigeration behind the banquette is perfect when your starter just needs to be removed from the fridge and served and the integrated Fisher & Paykel cool drawer on the opposite side of the island provides wine and soft drink storage nearby – so entertaining in this kitchen is as stress free as possible.
Banquette seating built into the island at the Sevenoaks project provides a comfortable place for children and guests to sit whilst dinner is being prepared as well as low key meals rather than sitting at a much larger formal dining table in a separate room.
The false chimney (which is central to the cooking run) houses the extraction and has an integrated Gaggenau induction hob beneath with an antique effect mirror splashback behind that serves multiple purposes – one of which is being the ideal tool to keep an eye on children doing homework after school.
Some weekdays the clients like to watch television while eating their supper at the banquette and this provides the best of both worlds.
We designed the cabinetry so the television could be closed away at a moment’s notice.
The banquette is upholstered in a custom leather and the Langham dining table is finished in portobello oak to match the upholstered Havisham dining chairs – both the chairs and the Langham table were designed and manufactured by Humphrey Munson.
III . BREAKFAST BAR
The Ludgate oak accent wood used on this island at the Park Lodge project contrasts perfectly with the surrounding light grey painted cabinetry and is a wonderful place for guests to sit at the weekend or for a catch up with a cup of coffee.
On the other side of the island is a Lacanche range cooker and countertop space for storing small everyday appliances like a toaster and chopping board which is ideal to serve warm toast, eggs or a comforting bowl of porridge straight from the hob to hungry guests sitting at the breakfast bar.
The breakfast bar at the Barnes village project is a great place to perch before dinner with a glass of bubbly and nibbles. The bar is finished in the same accent wood as the kitchen and the upholstered Havisham counter stools (designed and manufactured by Humphrey Munson) help to break up the space to create a more inviting, comfortable place for guests and family to sit at for long periods of time.
IV . DINING TABLE
The Grange project in Ascot, Berkshire has a large open plan space that is just perfect for a large island with seating and dining table opposite – the best of both worlds.
The Vincent Sheppard Joe counter stools provide a place for guests to sit and chat to the host at the island whilst the large Refectory dining table finished in Smithfield oak provides a formal dining space, behind the dining table is a bespoke glazed cupboard that is used to store glassware and crockery.
Although there is a separate dining room in this project, the clients said they absolutely love to host their dinner parties in the kitchen as it’s such a sociable space.
The refectory table made by HM and finished in classic oak at the Ashurst House project sits in a stunning orangery designed and installed by Westbury Garden Rooms which completely transformed the space.
Located opposite the island, the table can sit up to an impressive 14 people but is close enough to the kitchen to fetch wine or finish off food prep without the feeling of leaving the room.
The scullery is tucked around the corner which keeps the space feeling calm and uncluttered even in the midst of a big dinner party.
A kitchen with a nearby dining table is the ultimate way to maximise your social kitchen. The Oak Lodge project in Norfolk has yet another stunning orangery by Westbury Garden Rooms which invites natural light to flood in and offers a really lovely spot to sit of an evening with the family.
The island is the main prep space for this kitchen and is close enough to the table to chat to guests or keep an eye on children finished homework whilst you put the finishing touches on dinner. The oak table contrasts with the HM Brolly Blue painted island perfectly and creates a welcoming sense of calm, a space you can truly relax in whether it’s for formal or informal meals.