For many, the kitchen is a sacred space—a place where we spend life’s most joyous moments in reverence with those we love. A luxury kitchen is no different—except it also exists as a testament to the taste and sophistication of the homeowner. Clive Christian has managed to transform the kitchen into a venerable work of art with his hand-painted cabinets, coving, ornate carvings and crystal chandeliers. Long sought out by celebrities and the elite, a custom Clive Christian kitchen is an instant symbol of prestige.
As we move inward for autumn, Coldwell Banker Previews International® spoke to brand ambassador Victoria Christian for the Fall 2013 issue of Homes & Estates magazine. We continue that conversation here on Previews® Inside Out, talking to her about just how much detail, thought, care and cost goes into each kitchen bearing the Clive Christian name.
Previews Inside Out What sorts of amenities might be included in a Clive Christian kitchen?
Victoria Christian Whatever is required or desired by the client can be included…as long as there is space enough to design it. We have designed panelled wine rooms and temperature controlled panelled cigar rooms that lead off through ‘secret doors’, emblazoned with the personal emblem of the homeowner. A large island unit is usually an important feature in a luxury kitchen; and as with our newest design, the Alpha (which will be unveiled in London’s Chelsea Harbour Apartment Showroom in September), it can extend right across the length of the room. It allows for multiple uses, including different cooking stations and a banqueting dining area with champagne sink.
Previews Inside Out What materials and finishes are typically used?
Victoria Christian Typically we use solid oak and walnut for our cabinetry and panelling, and cherry wood for our painted finishes, which are all hand-painted and finished on site once installation has been completed. All of these can, of course, be entirely customized. We make to order, so we can be very attuned to the client’s desire. For example, one client had their Clive Christian architectural kitchen and the entire panelled surrounding room painted matte white, hanging very large, bold modern art paintings. It was a striking and eclectic contrast. We have also applied gold leaf to an entire kitchen, which was really stunning. The design is, of course based on the classical orders. As history has proved, these do not date or look “tired.” They provide an elegant backdrop for whatever taste and expression of lifestyle our clients may have.
Previews Inside Out Can you tell us a little about the design process?
Victoria Christian You can be as involved as you desire. Typically, the floor plans of the home will be sent to us first. Then there is a meeting—usually in the London or the New York Flagship Apartment Showrooms—where the different finishes and styles can be seen and felt in person. Then the design process begins.
Previews Inside Out How long does a typical Clive Christian kitchen take to craft?
Victoria Christian A typical Clive Christian kitchen will take approximately three months from the initial order to the installation and costs, depending on the size of the room and the extent of the embellishment. The cost could be upwards of $100,000—not including the appliances, technology, etc. However, we have also designed, created, installed and decorated a turnkey project for a long-time client in just three weeks, so that he could celebrate Christmas in Hampton Court, England with his family…even down to the Christmas tree and decking the panelled halls with boughs of holly! We have also overseen an incredibly large property from blueprints to installation over the course of three years in Eastern Europe.
Previews Inside Out Beyond kitchens, what other types of services can luxury homeowners expect from Clive Christian?
Victoria Christian As the kitchen was the original statement room from Clive Christian, our clients usually come to use for this room first. However, over the past 15 years, the brand has broadened its capabilities and now addresses every room in the home with the same Neo-Classical design style that the Clive Christian name is synonymous with. Clive himself has always been a great admirer of British architecture and his inspiration from the classical orders can clearly be seen throughout his designs. Over the past years, it has become increasingly usual for our client to receive our Gold Book of Interiors or indeed to visit out Flagship Showrooms in London and New York, which are lid out as boutique, one-bedroom apartments to give the feel of seamless connectivity of design elements from one space to another.
Clive Christian has been crafting the world’s finest kitchens since 1978. In 2012, Christian received the National Honours of Officer of The British Empire from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for his contribution to British luxury design. For more information log onto www.clive.com.