Spotlight: Parlour Farm Kitchens
At OX we love small, local businesses who display a true passion for attention to detail, artistry and pride in what they do.
Each month, we’re going to shine our Spotlight on a small to medium scale who we think embody these values and celebrate the best of Oxfordshire’s small business.
For August, we spoke to Parlour Farm Kitchens’ designer Zoe Blizzard about her attitude to her work and the best way to approach the usage of space in your kitchen.
What's your background in kitchen design?
I fell into it, in a way. I worked in the design team of another kitchen company for around four years, then decided to join Parlour Farm because they really fitted with my way of working and how I wanted to work. The difference was that Parlour Farm are completely bespoke, which gave me the freedom to design how I want. If I can draw it, they can probably build it.
What factors do you take into consideration?
Essentially, we have a series of criteria which we try to fulfil in collaboration with the customer. We focus on their wants and needs in terms of appliances that they need or storage solutions that they have their eye on. Then I'll draw up a plan using the customer's preferences but also with my creative input in terms of the best way to use the space.
We'll talk about textures and colours, as well as the type of worktops they're looking for. A lot of people don't take things like taps and handles into too much consideration, but when you start talking to them they tend to realise that the "kitchen jewellery" can make such a massive difference to the result.
How do you choose which materials to use?
Worktop-wise, there's a lot more on offer these days and people are becoming more savvy to the fact that there are very good quality polished concrete worktops, for example, as well as Stilestone which is a granite composite. When I was younger, granite was seen as quite high-end, whereas now it's very much the norm. The rule of thumb with worktops is that the more work it is for the manufacturer, the more expensive it is, so wood and granite are often the two most cost-effective options, probably followed by Stilestone, which uses set granite crystals so you can regulate the pattern going through them. At the top end you have resin worktops like Corian which are more expensive. They offer different qualities.
Do you have a kitchen that you are most proud of?
We did a large kitchen [pictured] that I'm incredibly proud of. The customers had a plan for the kitchen, but due to some changes they had to make to their extension building, they had to reassess the plan. We had a look over their ideas and went to look at the space available to us, and we came up with a fresh idea based on what they originally wanted and it came out beautifully.
What's your kitchen nightmare?
I'm not a big fan of the high-gloss trend that's in at the moment. We deal with solid timber, so we tend to be quite traditional in finish, although there are methods of modernising the look depending on how you fit the kitchen. I feel that high-gloss frontals have become a bit of a fad at the moment, and I'm hoping that the trend swerves back towards the more classical styles.
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