Kitchen Tour: Adelle and Justin’s British Retro Modern

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

We’re smitten with this kitchen! Adelle and Justin own H Is For Home, a small and marvelous online boutique based in northwest England. They specialize in the unusual, the quirky, and the one off. Well, their home kitchen follows right along, with a rich, warm mix of antique, modern, and vintage furniture and kitchen tools. Read on for more of their retro modern kitchen.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Adelle and Justin, proprietors of H Is for Home, live in northwest England in an old cottage. This cottage is actually what inspired them to start their small business. H is for Home is a small online shop that came out of their love for vintage and high-quality antiques. The shop stocks home objects crafted by independent designers and makers, and they search out vintage items too.

The couple has an especial love, however, for objects from the 1950s, 60s and 70s — and this shows in their kitchen. They are also both trained chefs, so we expect that meals in this kitchen are delicious as well as pretty to look at!

Here’s our Q&A with Justin and Adelle. Click through for the slideshow of their warm, vintage kitchen too.

What’s your cooking style?
Prior to setting up our H is for Home business we both trained and worked as chefs for many years — therefore between us we have a good knowledge of kitchen techniques and various cooking styles. We like cooking everything from a traditional British roast dinner to stir fries and curries. Justin tends to cook the savoury dishes particularly the evening meals. Adelle’s more fond of baking – cheesecakes, sponges and breads are favourites.

What inspires your kitchen?
We like a kitchen to be a practical and relaxed environment. Ours is modern rustic and eclectic in style. Pans, utensils and ingredients are all easy to hand, many of them on permanent display. We have a large bakers table in the middle of the room. It acts as an informal dining space and also doubles as useful extra work surface, particularly for rolling pastry, etc.

What is your favorite kitchen tool or element?
Adelle’s favourite is their vintage orange Kenwood mixer with its various attachments. Justin thinks you can’t beat a favourite knife and a good selection of wooden spoons. We’re both fond of our Le Creuset saucepans- they’re very hard-working- we have various sizes in orange, caramel and brown colourways.

Best cooking advice or tip you ever received:
We’ve both been given lots of instructions, advice, techniques and tips passed onto us over the years. Good basic recipes that can be adapted to a variety of ingredients are always useful. A basic white sauce or a good soup recipe are examples. You never stop learning though – there’s always a new ingredient to try.

Biggest challenge in your kitchen?
There’s a lack of work surface around the cooker- not ideal if you’re plating up a number of dishes.

Biggest indulgence:
Probably the stainless steel Smeg cooker.
Also our collection of Scandinavian kitchenware by the likes of Cathrineholm, Figgjo Flint and Rorstrand. We’re always adding to this, so it’s an ongoing indulgence!!

Dream tool or splurge:
If we had sufficient room we’d would love a big, stainless steel, American-style fridge-freezer- plenty of space and a ready supply of crushed ice for the perfect pre-dinner gin and tonic.

What are you cooking this week?
So far this week we’ve had an aubergine and tomato lasagne; vegetable stew with dumplings; shepherd’s pie; mushroom and pak choi stir fry; potato and cauliflower curry; whole roast chicken with green beans and paprika roast potatoes – and a gnocchi gorgonzola.

What cookbook has inspired you the most?
We have an ever expanding collection of vintage cookbooks, particularly ones dating from the 1950s and 60s. We particularly love the illustrations from this era – by artists such as Bill Charmatz and Charlie Harper. We also find weekend newspapers and magazines very inspiring. The wonderful photographs of the finished dish or raw ingredients often tempt us to try a new recipe.

What’s the most memorable meal you’ve ever cooked in this kitchen?
Adelle: Justin made me a lovely soufflé on Christmas day. That was very memorable as I’d been pestering him for years to make me one!!

Favorite Resources:
• Smeg cooker
• Vintage 1970s orange Kenwood mixer
• Free-standing Habitat cupboards and beech countertops
Skinny LaMinx tea towel
• Stainless steel ‘Mossby’ shelves from Ikea
• Habitat freestanding resin sink
• Various antique free-standing pieces including butchers blocks, long bench, beech wood bakers table and plate racks
• Vintage 1950s Swedish bentwood and ply dining chairs
• Dualit combi Toaster

Adelle and Justin, thank you so much for sharing your kitchen with us! We wish we could visit for dinner, too; your week’s menu is inspiring!

• Visit H is for Home
• Visit Justin and Adelle’s weblog
• See more of the kitchen and home in this magazine feature.

Originally published January 21, 2009