Step Inside a Warm Kitchen in the United Kingdom

Christina Nielsen remodels a kitchen/dining room in an English manor house.
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Designer Christina Nielsen selected olive Plain English cabinetry for a Berkshire, UK, kitchen, and removed upper cabinets in favor of open shelving. Photography by Nick Guttridge

For a dual kitchen/dining room in an English manor house on a horse farm in Berkshire, UK, Christina Nielsen (of her eponymous New York– and London–based firm) set out to create a warm, welcoming space for the family to enjoy for years to come. “As this kitchen leads out to the beautiful gardens, I wanted to instill unity between the landscape and interior,” Nielsen explains. The designer enlisted Plain English for the millwork, paint and hardware, and selected a rich array of hues.

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Nielsen upholstered the dining chairs in complementary, but not matching, Robert Kime and Christopher Moore fabric. Photography by Nick Guttridge

“My favorite color combinations are purples and greens,” she notes. “I especially love leaning toward jewel tones for both of these colors. I find them to be warm and timeless, and they act as neutrals for the space.” In some cases, the designer actually removed color, like at the hearth, which originally housed a blue Aga stove surrounded by red brick. “This felt very heavy and outdated to me, it also darkened the space quite a bit,” Nielsen says. “Opposite the hearth is the back door, which leads out onto the beautiful English gardens and their purple, green and white hues.” To brighten the space, she painted the brick a distressed white, letting some of the original rust shine through, and opted for a white Aga stove.


In the eat-in dining area, a white Aga stove is the highlight of the hearth. Photography by Nick Guttridge

Open shelving replaced upper cabinetry to further brighten and open the space. In the dining area, chairs wear Robert Kime and Christopher Moore fabric for a splash of pattern. “The patterns all work together but do not perfectly match,” the designer adds. “This is a space where the family will enjoy many memories and meals together, and I wanted it to be a place of comfort rather than feeling too posh and uptight.”

The print version of this article appeared with the headline: Main Character.