The interior designer has created 12 beautiful new paint colours with the bespoke kitchen company. She tells Jessica Jonzen more
PLAIN ENGLISH’S MARYLEBONE SHOWROOM PAINTED IN RITA KONIG’S NEW PAINT COLLECTION. THE CENTRAL BATH DRESSER IS PAINTED IN ‘NICOTINE’, THE DUTCH LARDER CUPBOARD IS PAINTED IN ‘BURNT TOAST’ WITH ‘TEA CADDY’ IN THE INTERIOR AND THE CORNER CUPBOARDS ARE PAINTED IN ‘MOULDY PLUM’
As well as being the control centre of every home, the kitchen is also its beating heart – the room where we all naturally congregate to eat, chat and drink tea (or wine), no matter how comfortable the sofas in the sitting room might be.
Which is why we love the way that many contemporary kitchens are being designed to look less ‘kitcheny’; their stark functionality softened with freestanding units and tactile hand-painted wooden cabinets. No one does this better, we think, than Plain English, who craft their kitchens by hand in Suffolk, and so we were delighted to hear about their collaboration with interior designer Rita Konig.
The collection of 12 new paint colours, created by Rita and Plain English’s colour consultant Kate Shaw, takes inspiration from historical interiors, natural materials and typically British rituals. They are designed to work easily with one another and to dovetail with Plain English’s existing collection of 24 colours, making them wonderfully easy to use.
RITA KONIG WITH KATIE FONTANA, FOUNDER OF PLAIN ENGLISH
Spanning soft neutrals (Silver Polish, Flummery and Mouldy Plum), bold, punchy colours (Tea Caddy, Candied Peel, Moygashel) and rich darks (Burnt Toast, Bib and Braces) the paint names reference the ingredients and rituals of the traditional British kitchen.
Moygashel, (a fresh, deep green) is a reference to the Northern Irish village that has been weaving fine linen since 1795. Flummery (a weathered neutral), is named after a sweet, soft pudding that first appeared in Gervase Markham’s 1623 handbook, English Huswife: Containing the Inward and Outward Vertues Which Ought to be in a Complete Woman. Rubbing Brick (a rich, rusty red) refers to a Georgian brickwork technique in which soft clay bricks were tapered by hand before being incorporated into the arch above a window or doorway. Bib and Braces (an inky blue) was inspired by the faded indigo of worn-in workwear.
Rita tells us more about the collection, and shares her tips for using colour in the kitchen.
THE PAINT COLLECTION IS DESIGNED TO BE USED IN GROUPS OF THREE AND WORKS IN EVERY COMBINATION
The Home Page: You’ve used Plain English kitchens in many of your projects and installed one in your country home. What is it about their kitchens which especially appeals to you?
Rita Konig: They are beautifully designed, which is obvious to see from the fronts, but even more delightfully the insides of the cupboards and drawers are fantastically detailed and built. I also love how well they are painted. In fact, I would say that I first really wanted to use them because they are so well painted. I also love the ironmongery and the proportions are terrific, which is ultimately what makes them quite hard to copy. In almost every design meeting I sit in, someone from the building side will say that they can or they have someone who can build a Plain English kitchen – they just don’t!
THP: What were your starting points for your collaboration with Plain English?
RK: We really devised the colours as a palette rather than each one individually. Plain English’s Colour Consultant, Kate Shaw and I got together with our inspirations and amazingly, they were incredibly close. We then started putting the colours together in groups of three to see how well they worked.
THP: The collection is steeped in British heritage and nostalgic references and yet the colours themselves can be used in very modern and interesting ways – how did you strike that balance?
RK: I suppose that came about from us both being quite steeped in heritage and nostalgic references ourselves, but we’re also modern people who wanted to use these colours in a current way. I don’t want to take myself back in time and create rooms that look like they are in the past, but there is something really lovely about Plain English and its references to the the rooms behind the green baize door.
LEFT: THE DUTCH LARDER CUPBOARD FEATURES A DARK GREY BIANCA ECLIPSIA WORKTOP; RIGHT: THE SILVERWARE DRAWER IS LINED IN FELT AND FINISHED WITH SILK HANDLES
THP: The colours are designed to be used in conjunction with each other and the 24 existing Plain English colours – do you have a favourite combination?
RK: I love Burnt Toast with everything!
THP: What’s your advice for introducing colour into a kitchen for those who might feel a little unconfident about how to use it?
RK: Don’t force yourself to go too far out of your comfort zone because it won’t be you. And remember that you can bring colour into the kitchen with your china and glass. Dark colours below the counter like Burnt Toast do tend to disappear, unlike Candied Peel or Tea Caddy which tend to be proper splashes of colour.
THP: Should we think of the kitchen in isolation from the rest of the house when it comes to choosing colour, or should it work with the rooms off it so that there’s a sense of cohesiveness?
RK: I think there should always be a cohesiveness throughout a house and it is one of the things I love about Plain English. They are kitchens that sit very comfortably within the architecture of the house rather than feeling like they landed from out of space.
Feeling inspired? Read Plain English and British Standard Kitchens’ Founder Katie Fontana’s tips for designing a beautiful kitchen here