The Dene Kitchen, Surrey, England

The Dene Kitchen was designed by Shere Kitchens for a cottage nestled in the rolling chalk grassland of the leafy Surrey Hills; a magical dark and light landscape which the homeowners wanted to incorporate into their renovation.

The property itself is a 1930s ‘Chown House’, designed originally by architect Frank Chown and now home to two design industry professionals, with busy careers, and two pups. The original kitchen had an island with a supporting pillar running through the middle of it - it felt awkward, cramped and didn’t provide good storage, comfort or style. The original layout also meant that the kitchen space felt very separate from the nearby garden.


Space, flow and storage were key motivations for this kitchen redesign with the owners identifying two main design objectives – calm living and easy living.

Calm living was defined as space to enjoy the kitchen, entertain, cook and relax. The owners wanted a walk-in pantry, drinks cabinet and utility; with carefully considered areas for drinks, quick suppers, long evening dinners, morning coffee and everything in between. Easy living meant plenty of well-considered bespoke storage so that everything from plates and bowls to gin bottles, coats and dog toys had a designated home to help keep the space tidy with minimal effort. After collaboration with the architect and construction team, the owners commissioned local craftsmen Shere Kitchens to design and build their new custom-made kitchen at their workshop.

To accommodate the new features the architect reconfigured the existing layout to create a dining area, kitchen, walk-in pantry, utility, and downstairs toilet. The space was opened up with French doors to bring light into the room and connect the cooking areas with the outdoor entertaining spaces in the garden. 

Embracing the theme of dark and light the couple chose black cabinetry as a bold design statement. The cupboards, table and chairs were also all hand painted in the same ‘Off-Black’ by Farrow & Ball; a timeless, deeply refined and rich inky tone. The simple Shaker-style cabinetry is grand in proportion with detailed cornicing to create a bold statement. The dark dramatic cabinetry is balanced out by the crisp white walls that help fill the space with an abundance of natural light. The Domus Oak floor tiles were a practical choice that bring a textural warmth underfoot that better suits the dogs, as they don’t scratch and are non-slip.

The renovated space needed to allow for relaxed and social cooking, so the hob was positioned on the island, enabling the cook to interact with friends and family.

The main sink, a Shaws Double Bowl 800, chosen for its two generous bowls, is situated directly behind the hob for prepping vegetables, pot filling and transferring pans after cooking. The wall behind the sink is playfully decorated with a mix of textured Domus ‘Biscuit tiles’ in a soft matt finish to balance out the shiny glazed finish of the large sink. 

The couple installed a useful second sink in the walk-in pantry – a Shaws Butler 600.

Positioned perfectly beneath the skylight, the Butler 600 is surrounded by Ocean Foam quartz work surface by Caesarstone for additional practical prep space. Designed specifically to keep the ‘clutter’ out of the main kitchen, the pantry is the perfect place to discreetly stack all the dirty dishes when entertaining as it’s completely out of sight. The additional bespoke cabinetry is an organiser’s dream come true. 

'Shaws sinks are synonymous with luxury and being handmade by craftsmen, the sinks complement our individually crafted cabinetry. The designs are classics, and therefore they look great with our traditionally-made cupboards. We love the aesthetic, the weight, the well-thought-out dimensions and the quality of the sinks as well as the waste positioning and kit hardware. And of course, the durability and lifetime warranty seals the deal.'- Shere Kitchens


The main kitchen area is a space to unwind, sit, eat, drink and enjoy. The home bar designed and made for gin and wine lovers includes two fridge drawers for wine and mixers. A Domonic Schuster antiqued glass mirror in the gin cabinet adds a touch of drama to the owner’s gin collection. Designed with pocket doors it can be left open to admire the beautiful bottles or remain neatly closed, and is positioned next to the outdoor ‘lounge’ area.

The island serves as a breakfast bar as well as a sweet spot for a casual supper. There is a Zebrano wood knife block inset into the island worktop so that the Global knife collection is on hand for food prep by the hob and oven. The addition of Fisher Paykel dishwasher drawers enables the owners to put one drawer on at a time, on a day-to-day basis, but still have the capacity on hand to allow for entertaining.

The table and chairs are painted in the same colour as the cabinets and upholstered in black and white, with bench seating by the window including drawers for dog toys located conveniently by the doors to the garden. / Julia Currie Photography