Period Property Challenge: Wonky Walls and Strange Proportions?

It could be argued that the kitchen is the most intimate room in the home.

A quick glance around any kitchen gives you a real sense of how a person lives, how they organise (or don’t!) and how they use a space; not simply fill it. That’s something Hill Farm Furniture builds its ideas around.

30 years’ experience creating hand-crafted kitchens, sculleries, utility rooms and libraries means Hill Farm designs not just around functionality and aesthetics, but also around the feel of a home. With period homes in particular, wonky walls or unusual proportions can often present a challenge. The company accommodates these elements into their designs and installations.

“With period properties, walls and floors can often be uneven or not level, so we make the units accordingly,” explains Chris Ashwin, Director of Hill Farm Furniture. “For example, if a wall is 20mm out of level where a tall unit is to fit, we’ll make the frames 70mm wide so we can scribe off 20mm, leaving a substantial 30mm wide frame at the narrowest point. The result? A unit that looks like it is ”meant to be’.”

One recent project tackled by Hill Farm is this large kitchen in a converted schoolhouse. The owners wanted an eclectic look and to make use of a diverse range of styles, shapes, sizes, colours and finishes, meaning the design had to adopt an unusual approach.

After careful measuring, planning and painstaking installation, the result is a quirky and edgy design. From the black sink unit with its ornate mouldings to the oak and beech butcher’s block, from the blue and cream solid wood cupboards with a mix of granite and wooden worktops to the more subtle, free-standing furniture in the utility – the result is a kitchen that just doesn’t just fit in with the period feel of the property, but effortlessly emphasizes it.

“Often, a final design will evolve as the installation progresses,” says Chris. “We start an installation with a firm Plan A, and can end up taking a different approach to at least one or two elements in a kitchen as the installation progresses and the client begins to realise the end result. We consider this ‘par for the course’ when working with unique and individual properties. Design is an organic process, and this is how we work.”

Whether you want to embrace period styling with authentic door mouldings and fixtures, or conceal contemporary mod-cons to avoid looking out of place, individuality is key. For example, bi-fold larder doors can easily hide coffee machines, whereas appliances such as fridges, dishwashers and bins can be seamlessly integrated to maintain the period feel of a home, without sacrificing space or functionality.

Each Hill Farm kitchen begins as a detailed consultation with one of the Ashwin family, delving into how the room is used, the required style, and the desired look. After this, the company creates a hand-drawn sketch of the design and works with the client to bring it to life, from pen and paper to real solid wood and durable finishes.

If you own a period property in need of some TLC, discover how Hill Farm Furniture can bring your vision to life with its timeless craftsmanship. Visit or call 01636 623 063.

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Period Property Challenge: Wonky Walls and Strange Proportions?