Case Study: Janet Hanson’s calm and contemporary kitchen
Nov 10, 2021
As an interior designer, Janet Hanson of Studio Hanson is more than used to putting together schemes for other people’s properties, but when it came to making choices for her own kitchen refurbishment, the decision process was anything but easy… “I am exposed to so many beautiful things every day, and when you make a choice for your home you are closing down all the other beautiful options which I find really hard,” she says.
With so much choice at her fingertips, it goes without saying we were thrilled Janet decided to use our tiles in the project – and as you can see from the photographs, they were absolutely perfect for the space. She shares her design story here…
Full name: Janet Hanson
Occupation: Interior Designer
Style and location of your property:
It's in a market town in Hertfordshire and actually only about 30 years old but built on a plot next to older houses in a traditional style with a gable. I love gardening so I've put a lot of effort into growing roses and wisteria around the entrance and generally cottage-fying it.
Who lives there:
I live there with my husband, Pete, my two children who are nine and 11, and our Irish Terrier, Woody, plus a few hens and a cockerel!
How would you describe your interior style?
My style has really evolved over the years, but I would say it is quite eclectic. I was brought up on a diet of National Trust houses – we moved quite a few times and my parents had lots of things around the house that they had brought back from their time working and living in Africa and Asia. I craved the three-piece suites and wall-to-wall carpet that all my friends' parents had in the 1980s but now I love the contrast of old and new, and the authenticity of a collection of furniture and objects that are picked up over time.
My husband studied design at Goldsmiths and raised my awareness of the modernist period and that has really informed my taste now; my favourite thing is to mix contemporary pieces of design alongside country house styling. I love colour, pattern, and unexpected elements in a room, but I also like it to look elegant with a sense of playfulness and a nod to the modern.
Tell us about your kitchen project…
We extended the space by only about 1.5 metres in depth along the full length of the room, as it was quite a narrow space. Widening the room meant we could move the kitchen location to the opposite side of the room closer to the pantry/utility space, move a couple of doorways and create a much better layout, with ample room for a dining nook and window seat which I love. I strongly believe that well considered, optimised space usage and good flow are key to the success of a room. The extension itself is very contemporary making a nice contrast with the more traditional feel of the rest of the building.
Which Bert & May products did you use?
We used the Pearl Inverse Low Bar and High Bar tiles.
Why did you choose them?
I looked at so many different tiles and was initially attracted to bolder patterns and colours, but the kitchen is the hub of the home and for us it is usually full of the clutter of life, plus we have a lot of personal items collected over time that we like to display, so I wanted a relatively neutral backdrop that would feel quite calm and provide a nurturing space for all the life that flows through it.
Style-wise I wanted a modern-rustic look and cement tiles really fit that aesthetic with their soft chalky texture. The tiles we chose felt patinated, warm and neutral; simple but anything but boring. I felt that they would age well and the fact that I could lay them out in any number of ways means that they are personal to our kitchen.
What you think they add to the space?
That lovely chalky finish and a warm patina with a graphic edge.
Do you find it harder working on your own home than the homes of clients?
Yes, much harder. With a client the brief is the brief but with your own home, the brief is a bit of a moveable feast. I am exposed to so many beautiful things every day, and when you make a choice for your home you are closing down all the other beautiful options which I find really hard. I definitely made the right choice with these tiles though after all the heartache deciding (don't ask me about my sample collection!)
What led you to use Bert & May?
I have followed Bert & May for years and feel the brand has really been at the forefront of cement tile design and popularisation in this country. It has a lovely selection of designs which are very much unique and the team are really nice and super helpful. I like the company’s focus on doing one thing really well.
Photographs by Jonny Back, jonnyback.com