Meet the Designer: Christopher Peacock
CTC&G sits down for a Q&A with the kitchen tastemaker.
Driving cabinet delivery trucks as a sideline led to Christopher Peacock’s transformation from his intended career as a rock-band drummer into cabinetry design. After working at firms in England and moving to America, he launched his own company in 1992 in Greenwich. An early installation was named House Beautiful’s 2008 Kitchen of the Year, and the firm has gone on to produce handcrafted cabinetry of the finest materials and highest quality with a high level of professional service to clientele. Peacock says his wife, who works with him in the business, keeps his feet on the ground. They have three grown children, plus homes in Connecticut, London and Cape Cod, where Peacock spends spare time reading and cooking—and playing the drums in cover bands for fun.
Growing up in a family of carpenters and builders, why did you initially opt to be a musician?
I’m creative and visual, and people like that tend to be musicians, artists, writers. I tried trumpet, violin, guitar, but drumming was easier. I liked the feel of it.
What attracts you to cabinets?
I like the space planning, construction, creativity of the design. It came naturally to me.
The cabinets are built to order in West Virginia. How do you maintain quality control?
It’s a team effort. I have an amazing group that works with me, some for many years. I’m involved every day, but I’ve got people much better than me who do that.
Why does hardware play a critical role?
It’s often a starting point rather than an afterthought, an important element of what we do. I think it sets the personality of the cabinet. It’s designed by me. I find it easier to create my own than to go out to the market to search.
What is your take on the all-white kitchen?
I love color—strong color. But in my experience, it’s a balance, depending on the surroundings. You have to look at everything, and sometimes white is the best thing. But a splash of color can make something spectacular.
How does the process for your acclaimed showhouse kitchens differ from working with clients?
It’s mostly the time period. You’re given a very short time, a blank piece of paper, and there’s a pressure to strut your stuff and design for mass appeal. And designing for others is easier than when you have to make all the decisions for yourself.
Your designs are popular worldwide. What is grounding about Connecticut?
The style we created really evolved in New England, which reminds me of where I grew up. I love the scale, proportion, architecture and the environment— rolling hills and trees, not wide-open space.
Next year, you’re opening an office in Palm Beach. How are kitchens there different?
The homes there are much bigger, the scale and proportion is large; they are showpieces more than working kitchens, so they are more opulent.
What building would you like to design for?
Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill. It would be very classic, a working kitchen down in the basement for the staff—not for show but a robust kitchen to crank out the food.
You work with many high-profile clients. How do you handle them?
What makes a successful project is communication and having them understand the process. We provide the design, manufacturing, installation, hand finishing—but communicating with the client is key.
How was the experience of designing for the Chappaqua home of Bill and Hillary Clinton?
They were fully immersed in the process. When we had a meeting, they had gone to great lengths to think through our discussion from previous meetings. They listened, took advice, and it was an extremely enjoyable collaborative process.
Who is a celebrity you’d like to design for?
Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham. He’s a powerhouse; incredibly talented. I gravitate toward strong characters who live a full life. I like being challenged.
The print version of this article appeared with the headline: Christopher Peacock.