As a freelance interior photographer, I find myself traversing the diverse landscape of the South West, each assignment taking me on a journey through homes that tell a unique tale. It is often said that every picture tells a story, and in my recent venture to a hamlet between Stokeinteignhead and Newton Abbot in Devon, I had the chance to document a truly remarkable transformation story – an old-fashioned, dark thatched cottage reimagined into an awe-inspiring family home by Michele and Sam.
The Birth of Wisteria Kitchens
Ten years ago, Sam and Michele embarked on a journey of their own when they started Wisteria Kitchens. Having previously designed kitchens for a national DIY chain, Sam had a dream to offer a more personalised, bespoke service. He was confident that he could make a real difference by utilizing local, skilled businesses and trades in Devon. This idea led to the establishment of a kitchen business that was all about bespoke qualities, bringing individual visions to life with impeccable detail and craftsmanship.
An Old Thatch Gets a New Life
Fast forward and two years ago, Sam and Michele took their combined expertise to a personal project. They purchased a quaint thatched cottage in the rolling hills of Devon. The old-fashioned, dark property cried out for an upgrade, and who better to bring it to life than the very founders of Wisteria Kitchens?
The Attention to Detail
In the transformation of the thatched cottage, Michele and Sam infused a kitchen that was tailor-made to their individual needs and invited me to photograph and capture their special kitchen and encompass the atmosphere of what it feels like to be there in person. Each frame captured the exquisite attention to detail that makes this Wisteria Kitchen stand out from the rest.
The sculptured ogee edge around the Calcutta Gold quartz island, for instance, speaks volumes about the commitment to detail. This beautiful and functional centrepiece was engineered and supplied by SCI Masonry in Newton Abbot. You can’t help but be drawn to the bespoke pantry housing, measured and built to house their microwave and meticulously designed to accommodate individual drawer depths and shelf height requirements. Not to mention the uniquely designed integrated cocktail bar and wine cooler.
Michele’s detailed design paid homage to tradition as well. The kitchen plinth was crafted to mimic a classic skirting board design, while the Shaker cabinetry was elevated with cockbeading. This in-frame door styling is carved and applied onto traditional kitchen cabinets, giving the kitchen an undeniable traditional aesthetic feel.
The Finishing Touches
Perhaps what makes this bespoke Wisteria Kitchen shine are the hand-crafted sink and pot filler taps. Manufactured in aged brass by Perrin & Rowe in England, they lend an air of sophistication to the space. The Club Wall lights and elegant Foster Pendant lights with their fluted-glass shades, were expertly created by the Sussex-based artisans at Jim Lawrence employing age-old metalworking techniques, is the epitome of timeless craftsmanship, embodying both modern and classic aesthetics. Each piece is meticulously hand-forged from robust, natural brass, and gently antiqued to lend a subtle, aged charm.
The Art of Transformation
Sam & Michele pushed the boundaries of their bespoke cottage kitchen and extended it into an inviting, lofted ceiling dining room filled with light from the floor-to-ceiling folding double-aspect wood and glass doors. For this ambitious venture, they called upon the expertise of Whiteway Carpenters of Kingsteignton, specialists in crafting oak-framed extensions. The final result was an enchanting, airy space that perfectly complemented their idyllic home, seamlessly blending tradition with contemporary style.
In the end, Michele and Sam’s story is more than just a tale of transformation. It’s about the blending of tradition and innovation, the importance of supporting local trades, and the beauty of bespoke design. It’s about an old thatched cottage in the heart of Devon that became an idyllic family home – a testament to their tenacity, vision, and, above all, their unwavering commitment to creating something truly unique.
And as for me, I couldn’t be happier to have had the opportunity to photograph this transformation. Here’s to more such inspiring journeys!
Click here to view Sam & Michele’s full gallery.