The owner of this Plain English kitchen until recently lived a stone’s throw away, in a farmhouse in rural Suffolk, England, that had been in her husband’s family for nearly a century. Newly widowed and with three children who would soon all be away at university, she decided to downsize without having to uproot: she’s in the process of selling her house to a young family, and has moved with her youngest daughter into new quarters converted from a series of interlocking barns and sheds.

She hired architect Mark Trebilcock to design the conversion, and was able to tick off the first of many decisions on her list by turning to Plain English for the kitchen, which we’re spotlighting here. The Plain English workshop is only 10 miles away, on an old Georgian estate, and had supplied the farmhouse’s upgraded kitchen 10 years earlier. Plain English senior designer Sarah Picton made site visits early on and at key stages all along the way. Trebilcock is also nearby—he left a big practice in London to semi-retire in Suffolk and had converted his own barn into a bright, airy living space for his mother-in-law. Seeing this project, the owner knew she had found a simpatico designer: it was important to her to preserve the integrity of the existing structures—she remembers milking cows feeding in the shed that’s now the kitchen—but in lieu of barnyard quaint had in mind a sunny, sustainable, modern-rustic household hub. Come see.

Photography courtesy of Plain English (@plainenglishkitchens).

The kitchen is housed in a century-old shed that was only a third enclosed—the sliding glass doors were inserted in the formerly open section. The room is approximately 430 square feet with a -foot-tall peaked ceiling paneled in birch plywood with exposed piping. The rafters are original–a look Trebilcock continued by framing the windows in old wood.
Above: The kitchen is housed in a century-old shed that was only a third enclosed—the sliding glass doors were inserted in the formerly open section. The room is approximately 430 square feet with a 14-foot-tall peaked ceiling paneled in birch plywood with exposed piping. The rafters are original–a look Trebilcock continued by framing the windows in old wood.

The owner had loved the gray and white palette in her previous kitchen, but says that here, in such a big space, she worried it would translate as chilly. On a visit to the Plain English showroom, she saw cabinets painted in a powdery hint of pink, one of the company’s proprietary shades known as Mash, and that became the first of a few daring paint choices.

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