A London kitchen extension creates the heart of the home

Restaurateur Adam White made the kitchen/diner the irresistible heart of his family's London home
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Adam removed the ground-floor interior walls so he could create a large space. The chairs seen here were purchased on eBay

Karen Moss doesn’t mind when her husband, Adam White (who founded London eateries The Riding House Café, Village East and The Garrison), brings his work home: he has a knack for conjuring up delicious meals.

But Adam also has a keen eye for interior design, combining old-fashioned comfort with contemporary twists. Karen, a producer for ITV1’s Loose Women, was banished from their house in the capital for a three-month renovation project.

Family room
Adam admits he is obsessed with making space look comfortable, which is perfectly showcased in this family room

The work was meticulously planned, with the kitchen/diner becoming the centre of the home. “We love entertaining, so having a welcoming social area was really important,” Adam explains.

“Perhaps I was made to stand in the corner a lot at school, because I’ve got this resistance to anyone having to face a wall, whether it’s to do the cooking, work on the computer or eat. Facing the centre of the room makes life a lot more social.”

New Zealand-born Adam studied industrial design before heading to London for work. Today, his design talent is showcased in their home, with his Kiwi aesthetic apparent in the whitewashed wood, natural textures and emphasis on bringing the outside in.

“I’m quite obsessed with a space looking comfortable,” he says. “So I tend to work a lot with earthy colours and textures to avoid things looking too minimalist. I’ve also tried to unite the inside and out by using a lot of rough textures that mirror the garden.”

Bathroom and kitchen
(Above left:) The kitchen features whitewashed wood and natural textures; while (right) a vintage light has impact over the tub

An old potter’s table is used for dining, while the kitchen units have a rough-hewn look, complemented by subtle-textured Brazilian slate worktops. A feature running throughout the house is walls that alternate sections of wooden slats with exposed brickwork.

“It’s important that a wall doesn’t stay one continuous material,” says Adam. “Similarly, to stop the ground floor feeling like one endless, cavernous space, I dropped the ceiling in the study area.”

Livingetc cover
Furnishings are a mix of practical (modular seating, industrial lighting) and quirky (vintage drinks cabinet and the librarian’s ladder).

On the first floor, the largest bedroom has been made smaller to create a dressing room, which doubles as a spare bedroom — ensuring friends or family can always stay over. Another flight up, the loft bedroom has an “away from it all” feel, with views over neighbouring rooftops.

Adam’s restaurant: ridinghousecafe.co.uk
Adam’s builder: Coriander Buildings (corianderbuildings.co.uk; 020 3207 2017)

Photographs: James Merrell
Styling: Mary Weaver


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