The Hermitage

The owners of this beautiful 17th Century cottage, formerly a finishing school for girls in the 1800’s, appointed Vale Designs to create a handcrafted kitchen to compliment its history and stunning grounds.


East Bergholt, Essex

Style of House

17th Century Period Property

Kitchen Colour

FB School House White

Farrow & Ball School House White


Novaestone Carrara Bianco

Novaestone Bianco Carrara
Handmade kitchen island with Novaestone Carrara White worktop

As a nod to its former life as a finishing school, the handmade cabinetry features Burnished brass knobs and is hand-painted in Farrow & Ball School House White. Distinctive rounded corners and cornice moulding, complete with an elegant over-mantle, add subtle period character to this high vaulted kitchen that offers expansive views out into the garden.

Floating painted shelves
Flowers next to sink on Novaestone Carrara White worktops

Every little detail has been thoughtfully considered to remain true to the cottage’s heritage, from the tall larder cupboards to the ornate yet modern square legs framing the central island and two-bowl ceramic farmhouse sink. The Perrin & Rowe aged brass taps create the feeling of time-honoured familiarity and style.

Cream Aga
false chimney breast to accommodate Novy Mini Pureline extractor around Aga

The traditional Aga, finished in a high-gloss light cream enamel, compliments the school house white cupboards and Cararra Bianco Novaestone worktops, to create a strikingly elegant focal point.  A false handcrafted chimney breast frames the Aga to house a Novy Pureline extractor, with moulded mantel shelf and cupboards to each pier, with integral drawer stacks on either side.

Tall kitchen larder cupboard and fridge housing
Open larder cupboard

Floating shelves with LED lights add warmth and 17th Century character to the light cream walls. There’s not a cookbook, utensil or piece of crockery out of place. Everything, including the owner’s vast array of spices and sauces, has its place. In keeping with tradition, the larder features an oak veneer interior and painted spice racks with oak dowel rails inside the door.

Handmade kitchen at The Hermitage in Essex
Double belfast sink with antique brass taps
Jug of flowers on kitchen worktop

Within the pantry, a freestanding fridge-freezer is nestled between a tall cupboard and two smaller cupboards for storing all manner of kitchen and domestic appliances. Sharing the same space is an array of cupboards, another double farmhouse sink and two glass-fronted wall-mounted cabinets housing the owner’s collection of crystal-cut glasses.

Tall fridge freezer housing
Glazed wall cupboards
Utility room with Belfast sink and antique brass taps

Visualise your dream kitchen

Visit us at our workshop and discover how to maximise your space with a beautiful bespoke kitchen.