Martin Smith is an Architectural Designer at Holloways of Ludlow Architectural Design & Build. Continuously building on his passion for design he has previously worked with the likes of Candy and Candy and Kelly Hoppen. Joining Holloways of Ludlow in 2006 as a ‘Bespoke Kitchen & Cabinet Maker Designer’, he makes each client’s design unique by initially generating realistic 3D images to show a clear visual of how a space will look. Each of these creative designs combine a wide range of materials and finishes that are manufactured at Holloways of Ludlow’s west London workshop.
In recent years Martin has bridged Holloways of Ludlow’s offering as a bespoke kitchen/cabinetry design company and its sister business, Architectural Design & Build as their lead architectural designer. He has transferred the same 3D skills and acquired design knowledge into wider ranging projects which often includes extending spaces and a focus on a complete reworking of an overall layout. Martin’s design portfolio provides examples of these projects whereby the design of individual kitchens, bathrooms, walk-in wardrobes and extensions all became elements of a cumulative vision for a balanced residential space.
The kitchen design within the project Martin has shared with The LuxPad below won the ‘Ultimate Kitchen Design of the Year’ at the prestigious 2015 Designer K&B Magazine Awards. This design also won Martin the ‘Kitchen Designer of the Year’ (over £50,000 category) award at the 2016 kbbreview Retail and Design Awards for a design that blurred the lines between furniture and kitchen design, and integrated seamlessly into the client’s open-plan home. We take a closer look below…
Project Name: West London Family Home
Floor Area: Size of house (in sqm): 500 (internal)
Project Time Taken: 7 months
Date project started: June 2014
Date project finished: Dec 2014
To refresh the tired interior, and modernise the failing infrastructure and function of a family home, as well as improve the circulation of light and perception of openness in the space. The focus was most specifically on the kitchen/dining/living space and master suite. Also a key factor was to redesign the architectural stair, which was failing structurally and also dated visually.
Creation / planning process
My first task was to replan the ground-floor living space, reorientate the stairs and design the kitchen and bar to open up the space. I also suggested the need to re-orientate the kitchen and redesign it with more ‘material value’, with a focus on coordinating it also with the bar, flooring and staircase which Holloways of Ludlow also designed.
We decided we would not affect the exterior of the property so windows and doors were to stay as existing. So beyond that we just needed to re-rationalise the interior fixtures, services and design. Unlike many projects we work on with typical Victorian or Edwardian London homes, this modern building already had a great open plan space, especially so with the triple height ceiling at the centre. So really we looked past any existing stud walls, stairs and cabinets and aimed to make sense of the space and give a real purpose to each space and also improve the relationship from one space to the next.
How it went?
As a design and build company we cannot just excite the clients with ideas, we actually need to see them through to completion. There was a lot of detail that required real precision especially within junctions between different elements, and the key to this was our ability to coordinate design and installation with continuity from concept to completion.
We aimed to make sense of the open-plan space and provide a real purpose to each of the living spaces and improve the relationship from the kitchen/dining/living space on the ground floor and improve the first floor. We installed new 1st fix services (new plumbed under floor heating with additional trench heaters, to replace failed electric mat, new LED ambient lighting and new feature pendants to suit the re-jigged layout), new sub floor insulation, a new stair structure, new flooring throughout, decoration including triple height polished plaster wall, and of course all new fixtures throughout (bespoke kitchen/bar, stair cladding and bookshelves, feature lights, master en-suite/wardrobes). The new stair bookshelves also dramatically improve the corridor outside the kid’s bedrooms replacing a plain wall with a fire-rated glass backed bookcase.
Favorite room / part of the project and why?
I think everything works together so well as a whole, with great quality textural materials used throughout. But I would say that my favorite room is the kitchen, which I am proud to say won 2 kitchen design awards in the past 6 months!
The kitchen design itself is the perfect example of blurring the lines between furniture and kitchen design, and integrated seamlessly into the open-plan home. Their original kitchen was tired and dated and seemed to have become an afterthought at the end of the design process. The wall run had been placed in a space higher than the window it sat in front of, and an island was positioned in a space that gave the owners a barrier in the open-plan space between the ground-floor rooms. After taking references for orientation from existing structural pillars in the space, I designed an angled island and cabinetry to improve the flow and light circulation. LCDA Concrete was chosen for their large format tiles and worktops in both the kitchen and bar and to create contrast, I designed matt oiled stave oak with exposed ply edges for the cabinetry, which was also mirrored on the near-by stairs.
Since the hob and sink were designed within the island, it was important to allow space in-between for food preparation. The angle of the island allowed this area to be even more ergonomic for the homeowners and included the detail of a Corian chopping block. The double pocket door cupboard in the tall cabinetry allowed further functionality within the heart of the kitchen space. This opened up to reveal further counter space, a built-in Microwave and space for the toaster, coffee machine and food processor. A Quooker boiling water tap was valuable to the design to remove the need for a kettle on the worktop.
It was important to integrate as many appliances as possible to create a seamless fitted look. Gaggenau handles were used in the tall cabinets to house a Gaggenau Vario cool larder fridge/freezer, which included the functionality of a water/ ice dispenser and also featured a pocket door unit and larder cupboard. A Miele dishwasher was integrated into the island.
The tall kitchen cabinets wrap around from a jib door (which lead into the garage and utility room) and continue around the angles of the tall cabinetry into the bar space. The angle of the tall cabinets were designed around the structural pillars and purposely angled to improve the flow of light and traffic. The bar, also with a LCDA Concrete feature, was designed higher to accommodate stools and features a Corian back bar.
A Gaggenau wine fridge and under-counter drinks fridge was designed in the plan, which also included a small dishwasher for glass-cleaning and convenience for when the client entertained.
Any issues / problems you had to overcome during the project?
The staircase required very close attention to detail at the point where we installed the millimetre perfect factory bespoke manufactured stair structure, to shift it 23mm to the right to ensure it lined up perfectly with the bookcase! Obviously the stair needed to be conceived, measured and manufactured to complete precision in the first place. We also have been very careful placing the new stud walls for the master bathroom to avoid cuts in the modular 100/200mm tiles the client had chosen.
Photography credits: Nicholas Yarsley
Project and Design Team – Martin Smith at Holloways of Ludlow Architectural Design & Build (020 8487 9422; hollowaysbuild.com)
Builders- Holloways of Ludlow Professional Builders – (020 8487 9422; hollowaysbuild.com)
Stairs, Kitchen, and joinery – Holloways of Ludlow Kitchens (020 7371 1787; hollowayskitchens.com)
Concrete by LCDA worktops – Available at Holloways of Ludlow – 020 7602 5757 – www.hollowaysofludlow.com