Sola Kitchens

Known for her Scandinavian-inspired, simple, functional, and natural solutions delivered in an approachable way, Mia Karlsson founded her design studio in 2004 as a one-woman band. Today, with over 250 completed projects, Mia and her talented team at the Highgate studio combine their shared experience, understanding, and design skills to create beautiful homes that clients love.

In this engaging conversation with interior designer Mia Karlsson, we delve into the transformation of a stunningly bold and playful project. We explore the inspiration, challenges, and creative processes behind this remarkable design.

> What was the main inspiration behind the transformation of this kitchen from traditional to contemporary?

To select a kitchen style that would work with the age of the property but be able to provide all the modernities that can be expected of a contemporary kitchen.

The style that best suited this requirement was a simple shaker style with aged bronze handles and knobs, a traditional range, traditional marble both for work surfaces and splash backs

> Can you describe the key design elements that were retained or altered in this transformation?

We changed the layout entirely from the original kitchen, we moved internal walls, we incorporated a space that was used as a utility room accessed from the hall to be accessed from the main kitchen via a sliding door and designed this space to be a back kitchen, we also closed a door leading to a side alley in this space and installed a window instead so that we could fit an additional sink unit. We added architectural details such as coving and beadings. We changed the floor to a beautiful dark wood herringbone flooring that now runs throughout the entire ground floor bar the back kitchen where we used a lovely patterned tile.

> What was the most challenging aspect of incorporating cast iron shelves into the back kitchen design?

To find a manufacturer that could forge these shelves as any metal work is very specialist.

> How does the bronze detailing on the island contribute to the overall aesthetic of the kitchen?

We kept to few materials in the kitchen – walnut interiors for the drawers and cabinets, dark wooden traditional herringbone patterned flooring to tie in with the walnut interiors, marble for the worktops and splashbacks to include the work surfaces inside the pantries and the back kitchen, bronze handles and knobs, bronze taps, bronze knobs on the range, bronze pendant light fitting above the kitchen island, we added the bronze on the side of the island facing the dining area to pull the scheme together and to make the view from the dining area a little different from the dark painted wooden doors and drawer fronts of the rest of the kitchen. It was to create more interest whilst sticking to the few selected material.

> What influenced the decision to use fluted glass cabinet doors, and how do they enhance the space?

We selected fluted glass over and above clear of frosted glass as we felt it provide a softer aesthetics as well as obscuring the interiors of the cabinets whilst allowing the interior light to flow through

> Can you explain the functional benefits of the new kitchen layout compared to the traditional one?

It is a much better use of the overall footprint. By relocating the utility room to the floor above we were able to create a back kitchen which is very practical as the rest of the kitchen is open plan so having a back kitchen gives the client space to off load dirty dishes etc and simply close the sliding fluted glass door to obscure the mess during a dinner party – genius. We also utilised the high ceiling to create taller than average units accessible with a ladder stored in the back kitchen. We added two pantries with double doors to keep everyday items such as toaster, kettle, coffee machines and kitchen mixers out of sight, meaning the kitchen remains looking tidy and elegant

We created a new beautiful bespoke arched glazed double door opening between the family room and the kitchen to create a better flow between the most used areas of the property, with a beautiful fireplace in the central position.

> Were there any specific requests from the client that guided this transformation?

The client is an excellent cook and required the kitchen to first and foremost have excellent appliances.

The client wanted the kitchen to be very functional and practical with modern amenities with an updated traditional feel

It was important to the client that we used “real” materials such as solid walnut, real marble, hand painted cabinets.

> Are there any smart storage solutions or innovative features in the new design that you’re particularly proud of?

The back kitchen is absolutely excellent with additional storage, wine fridge, dish washer, pot wash sized sink with a spray hose, extra fridge and plenty of pantry shelving.

> How has the transformation impacted the daily use and overall atmosphere of the kitchen space?

The client is very pleased with her kitchen as it works equally well for the day to day need of this family  of five as it does to host dinner parties and cooking for larger parties.

Click here to visit Mia Karlsson Studio’s Website