Cook, author and designer Sophie Conran has an impeccable pedigree in the art of home-making. Daughter of Sir Terence Conran and cookery author Caroline, she grew up in a creative household where design and food were constant topics of conversation. She has built her own reputation first as an interior designer and later as a food writer. She has created her own large range of pleasingly tactile table and homeware too. It’s natural, then, that when we asked her to tell The Chromologist about a room that means a lot to her, she chose the kitchen of her elegant west London home. “Our kitchen is the heart of the family home,” she told us. “It is central to my life. I call it ‘my shed’! I have so many happy memories of that room. It is where my kids grew up, where I wrote my cookery books and where I started my business. It is a warm, safe place.”
“I did the kitchen up 28 years ago. Before I bought the property it had been cheap, student bed-sit accommodation. There was no cornicing, the floors were really damaged, and it was in a state of dereliction. It hadn’t been lived in for a long time, apart from some resident pigeons! Even the ceilings were falling down. Before I started work I had an extremely well-thought out list of things that I had always wanted in a kitchen. I had spent many years thinking about my ideal kitchen, and I was bringing it to life finally. I didn’t spend a huge amount of money though – I repainted the cupboards and the shelves, took the tiles and worktops off and put marble there instead, and I got a big fridge because I was fed-up with bending down! The only thing I’d change is that I put the fridge in the corner, and unfortunately it won’t open wide enough to get the drawers out to clean them easily. An amateur mistake! Planning layouts is so important, and you need to think practically.
The colour came about when I was sitting around the kitchen table with my daughter, ten at the time, and a friend. I was talking about re-doing the kitchen and mentioned some fairly neutral shades of grey that I had found. Both my daughter and my friend told me it would be boring, so I asked them what colour they suggested. There was a bright pink tissue box on the kitchen table in front of us, the colour of which I then ended up having mixed up into a paint! Today the kitchen gets used every day – I made blueberry pancakes and bacon this morning for my husband and kids. I sit there with my computer when I don’t have to be in the office working, and my husband does the same. It is a very creative, happy space.”