It’s been a while since we’ve had a Readers Kitchens feature, but when I recently saw Helen’s kitchen, so beautifully restored by her and her partner (and a brilliant carpenter apparently) I begged her to let us put it up. Helen bought most of the original fixtures and furniture you see here on ebay, patiently waiting for the perfect design to appear at a good price. Inspiring stuff.
Name: Helen Palmer
Location: South East London
What do you do in the kitchen and with whom?
The kitchen is the very heart of my home and it’s where I love idling about. At weekends I enjoy nothing more than pottering and cooking up a veggie storm for my partner, with the familiar hum of the radio in the background and a sherry on hand when stirring the Sunday-lunch gravy. Quieter moments I relish in the kitchen are occasional working-from-home days at the table with my pretty courtyard garden in view or on colder evenings nestled in the reading nook near the log-burner amidst cushions and blankets with a classic novel, hot chocolate and my adorable cats close-by for company and warmth.
How would you describe your style?
The bones of the kitchen have been restored to reflect its early Victorian style and pretty much everything I have sourced and collected is salvaged or remade, as I can’t bear throwing away anything that could be usefully re-imagined. I have an amazing carpenter friend who has creatively re-modelled my kitchen units along with impulsive junk shop finds, including the oak kitchen island unit which I bought for fifty pounds and took us a weekend to bring to life. My appreciation of textiles and crafts defines my style and the kitchen is a decorative jumble of shabby Victorian Arts & Crafts furniture, Scandinavian textiles, rustic studio pottery, post-war appliances, deco lighting and even mid-century Modern finds.
Most useful or most used item?
It’s difficult to define one particular thing but I’m particularly fond of the Coleman’s mustard hued 1930’s Electrolux refrigerator lovingly restored and donated by a friend, which really keeps food well and has a natty copper ice box to boot, and I really enjoy using my rustic salt-glaze jugs and vessels as they are so heartwarmingly tactile, not forgetting my inherited aforementioned sherry glasses which evoke memories of Norfolk family get-togethers and Christmas cheer.