Planning Your Kitchen Layout

Thinking about the layout of a new bespoke kitchen can sometimes be the trickiest part of the design process.  If it isn’t decided during the initial planning stages, it can end up being both costly and time consuming!

Many kitchen design companies have a limited portfolio of off-the-shelf options, which may work well for your space. However, by working with bespoke designers like us, there is a limitless range of ideas and possibilities.

At Griggs & Mackay, we like to spend ample time discussing how you want to use your kitchen space, as well as how your kitchen should look and feel. Our talented architects and builders use their knowledge and expertise to implement your vision, creating a space that’s right for you and your home.

So, to get you started, here are a few tips on planning the layout of your kitchen…

What are your requirements?

As a very much design led kitchen-maker, the look and feel of your kitchen are very high on the list of our priorities, but we will always advise you if the design moves away from functionality.

Firstly, it’s important to think about how your kitchen space will be used. Is it a family kitchen, a kitchen for entertaining or for a keen chef? These factors will inspire different designs for different requirements.

Then, it’s wise to consider various other factors that come into play, including the distance traveled between the key kitchen zones – cooking, washing and refrigeration.

After this, it’s important to consider extraction and waste, as this can have a huge impact on the layout if proximity is restricted.

What are your layout options?

Technically, kitchen layout options range from galley, single-wall, L-shaped, U-shaped kitchens, or parallel-wall kitchens. You may already have a specific space to work with, or you may have the option of choosing the best shaped space for you – we can help with either!


Just like the compact galley on ships, galley designs optimise space by packing in an abundance of storage and worktop area, making them ideal for small kitchens.

To avoid a ‘corridor’ effect, where the kitchen feels small and enclosed, we opt for wall units or shelving, as this will help to open up the space.

As pictured, using high-gloss finishes in pale colours really helps to reflect light and enhance a sense of space.


Where kitchen space is at a premium, a single-wall layout is a stylish and practical solution.  While its small footprint might at first seem to be a drawback, a single-wall kitchen encroaches less on an adjoining living space, freeing up more space.

This open-plan design, pictured, is typical for a single-wall layout, and complements contemporary open-plan living.


A classic layout that works in any sized space, the L-shaped kitchen is practical, concise and looks great. Often located in the corner of a room, this allows for plenty of movement within the space.

In a small kitchen, an L-shape is ideal as it concentrates all storage and appliances into two sides of the room, leaving the rest of the kitchen open and making the overall space seem bigger.

This layout works with all types of cabinetry and can be flexible to adapt to structural needs, such as sloping ceilings or large windows.


The U-shaped kitchen is probably the most practical of kitchen layouts, as it can provide an additional run of potential storage or appliance space compared with a galley kitchen or L-shaped kitchen.

U-shaped kitchens work best in large spaces, but even small kitchens can benefit from its design, as long as you have at least two metres of moving space between the opposite  units.

The design concept of the ‘golden triangle’ is a natural fit with a U shape, as you can keep your fridge, cooker and/or hob and sink on opposing sides to one another – making your kitchen easy and efficient to use.

Parallel Walls

The parallel kitchen layout suits a range of homes, as it gives a a great deal of flexibility in the design your space. Making complete use of all the floor space, this model provides ample work and storage space, without looking cluttered.

This simple layout can open up a room, allowing for a substantial central island, without disturbing the flow of the kitchen. You can therefore have designated spots for everything you need on each side of the kitchen, making for an organised and efficient space.

If you are looking to design your own bespoke kitchen and would like further information, John & the team would be delighted to help. 

Please get in touch via our Contact Page.

Island Life: Designing Your Perfect Kitchen Island

Here at Griggs & Mackay, we love to demonstrate our flare for design… especially when it comes to building beautiful, bespoke kitchen islands.

Whether to sit and enjoy a leisurely breakfast, or to sprawl out the ingredients for your favourite recipes – our kitchen islands are designed to be practical, multi-functional and in-keeping with your unique style.

So, how best to decide on how you want yours to look and function? Here are a few of our most-loved Griggs & Mackay designs to inspire you!


For a modern and elegant kitchen interior, introducing curves into your kitchen island design is certain to create impact. Flowing contours break up the straight lines of a traditional kitchen, for a space that is relaxed and comfortable.

With deep drawers and cupboards for maximum storage space, an integrated sink and optional dining area, this curved kitchen island seamlessly blends functionality with unique design.


If you have an expansive open-plan kitchen, a split-level island can give both dimension and texture to the space, with each level providing different storage options and ‘zones of use’.

Choosing to incorporate a combination of materials – such as marble, granite and wood – will further break up the space and create an exciting visual impact.

Contrasting Colour

Sometimes your kitchen island insists on being the star of the show, whether you opt for a bold colour-pop, or a contrasting tone.

By moving away from the more conventional colour schemes, you can really let your imagination run wild. This pillar-box red painted island creates a stunning focal point, breathing a whole new life into this traditional kitchen design.


This large rectangular island was designed to mirror the beautiful ceiling light above, whilst also working with the dimensions of this kitchen space.

A rectangular shape easily allows for an optional seating area to be created at one end. Plus, the addition of a small sink and hob means that everyone can get involved with food prep!


Sometimes a kitchen’s dimensions or structure won’t allow for a central unit. In which case, an integrated breakfast bar or peninsular island can create a versatile space to socialise and eat.

This type of island can also be a great way to section off living areas, whilst providing additional, ingenious storage space.

If you are looking to design your own bespoke kitchen and would like further information, John & the team would be delighted to help. 

Please get in touch via our Contact Page.

Welcoming Back The Lovely Larder

Have you ever dreamed of having your very own larder or pantry?  Well, you might have noticed that they’re making a come-back… and you don’t need to live at Downton Abbey in order to have one!

Once a mainstay in a hardworking kitchen, the larder was a necessity for keeping meats, dairy and eggs fresh, but since modern refrigeration, the humble larder fell out of fashion within the contemporary kitchen.

Now we might be a little bit bias, but we love a good larder and we’re thrilled to see its revival at the Griggs & Mackay workshop! With it’s excellent and versatile storage options, it’s no wonder the larder cupboard has found its way to the top of many of our client’s wish-lists.

One of the greatest benefits of having a larder cupboard is that they don’t always require a lot of space. Depending on your kitchen, you can opt for a single, slimline larder with just one door, a half-larder that sits on a worktop, or if you have plenty of space to play with, then a full-size double larder is worth every penny.

‘Most people have got their food stored in loads of different cupboards but, to be able to open a concealed door and have all your kitchen supplies and condiments in one space, is really attractive.’  – Phil Spencer

Plus, larders aren’t just for storing food anymore! They can hold small appliances, serve as extra worktop space, or work as a tea and coffee or breakfast station.

Take a look at some of our favourite bespoke larders, designed for all sorts of spaces and lifestyles…

The Double Larder

This impressive double larder was designed to store a multitude of different items. With shelves, racks and draws to boot, everything from foods and spices, to china and appliances all have their place.

When closed, this fully integrated larder flows seamlessly with the rest of the kitchen cabinetry, skillfully and stylishly hiding away the everyday mess of a family home.

The Freestanding Larder

A freestanding larder unit is a great option, especially if you don’t want to change your whole kitchen. They can be designed, built and painted to fit the rest of your cabinetry.

With tardis-like depth, you can really make the most of the endless storage space it provides. With adjustable shelves at different heights, an assortment of items can be neatly stored and easily accessed. Below, deep drawers offer further storage for tidying away crockery, or even pots and pans.

The Breakfast Station

We loved creating this modern twist on a larder unit, as it shows just how versatile a larder can be. This coffee and breakfast station was designed to hold everything you need to start the morning off just right!

Bi-folding doors tuck seamlessly away to display teapots, cafetieres and crockery, whilst integrated appliances are ready for use. Plus, with plenty of drawer space below, all tableware and linens can be kept together in one place.

The Slimline Larder

Now don’t be deceived, as even a modest larder can accommodate what would otherwise be stored over several cupboards. With spice racks mounted on each door and pull out drawers that run the entire width of the unit, you can ensure that nothing will get left in the back of cupboard.

If you only have space for a single-door larder unit, then a narrow and full-height design would be a great option. It’s also perfect for putting in a corner, with both static shelving and pull-out drawers for easily reachable ingredients.


The Walk-in Larder

For those with plenty of space, a walk-in larder is a great way to store and manage all of those household essentials. This design allows you to keep pretty much all your dry ingredients in one place, meaning you don’t have to rummage through countless cupboards trying to find that one key ingredient!

It’s also a excellent idea if you want to quite literally close the door on visual clutter, maintaining a calm and relaxed feeling in your kitchen.

If you are looking to design your own bespoke kitchen and would like further information, John & the team would be delighted to help. 

Please get in touch via our Contact Page.

Kitchen Trends 2018

It can be the small, simple details of your kitchen design – tailored to the way that you and your family use the space – that make your bespoke Griggs & Mackay kitchen a joy to use.

Every project we undertake is unique. Nothing we do is ever reproduced. It’s a truly bespoke service – tailored to the exact dimensions of your kitchen, tailored to the exact dimensions of your wishes.

From handmade cabinetry and ergonomic islands, to cleverly hidden storage and carefully chosen colour palettes – you’ll find a variety of our most recent projects in this gallery to inspire you!

Light & Bright

This bright and airy country kitchen was hand-painted in Farrow & Ball’s ‘Strong White’ throughout, paired with stunning, speckled granite worktops.

In the centre of the space is a large, single-level island that stretches generously across the kitchen with plenty of integrated storage.

An ingenious glass partition window further opens up the space, drawing light into the room and increasing a sense of flow and connectivity.

Classic Country 

This cosy, galley kitchen in Abingdon has taken on a New England Country-style, incorporating both traditional wood and light-reflecting, Carrara marble worktops.

Hand-made, floating wooden storage compartments offer a unique yet practical solution in this compact space.

Lovingly-crafted, bespoke units are hand-painted in Farrow and Ball’s ‘Great White’, with its lilac tones complementing soft-purple, glossy metro tiles.

Warm Neutrals

A neutral palette with the warm tones of wood is the perfect solution for creating a homely, more inviting space. Not only do they work well in smaller-sized kitchens, but transfer beautifully to an open-plan living space too.

This stunning kitchen project was given a relaxed, yet sophisticated feel – brought together by classic, cream painted cabinetry, beige-toned marble worktops and earthy stone floor tiles.

Vibrant Contemporary

Be inspired by this fabulously daring kitchen colour scheme! Our client chose a classic cabinet style and updated it with a vibrant, punchy lime green.

To counterbalance, we incorporated monochrome elements – such as white quartz counter-tops, matte ceramic floor tiles and a modern, jet-black kitchen island installed with LED lighting and multiple storage options.

Bold Monochrome

This contemporary kitchen design has brought a minimalist elegance to our client’s stunning country home.

Smooth white cabinets and smokey granite worktops make for a sleek, modern feel. Brought together by charcoal-painted original beams, an industrial-style pendant light and touches of natural wood.

Classic Two-Tone 

The classic Shaker-style kitchen is one of our most popular designs, due to its timeless yet distinctive aesthetic. This style lends itself to any kitchen space, offering countless options in regards to layout, cabinetry, storage options and of course, colour.

Single colour schemes remain an elegant choice, but more and more often we’re seeing clients choose two tone styles, like this beautiful River House kitchen. Embracing darker tones can give depth to your space, whilst adding a modern and on-trend twist.

Contemporary Walnut

This luxurious, modern walnut kitchen in Bix, Oxfordshire was a joy to design and build. Embracing the warmth, richness and opulence of walnut, our client’s kitchen was designed to make an impact.

The contemporary aesthetic with smooth, curved edges was particularly well suited to the modern finishing touches of stainless steel and rich granite.

If you are looking to design your own bespoke kitchen and would like some further information, John & the team would be delighted to help.  Please get in touch via our Contact Page.

Project: Wine Room

Griggs & Mackay  always welcome a challenge when interesting projects come up that can showcase our skill and flare for design

We are currently completing the final touches to a magnificent wine room in Oxfordshire . We thought, why not share with you our journey so far!

This brief was for a wine room that held 4,000 bottles, to be stored securely, in a temperature controlled environment. The room would also be used as a space for entertaining and therefore would need to provide a seating and dining area.

We set about designing around an existing building within the grounds of their impressive Oxfordshire home.

 This involved the construction of two extensions either side of this existing building. These extensions would be used as wine storage/display areas and the existing building would be used for entertaining.

As you can see here, the beauty of the original building has only been enhanced by these two extensions, which now harmoniously blend into one gorgeous building.

All the woodwork, including the wall paneling is made from European Oak, due to it’s lovely depth of colour and durability.

We chose to lay the floor in an aged ceramic tile, which not only compliments the European Oak’s colour, it happens to be extremely resilient to wine staining too- a certain must! We installed electric heated flooring in the entertaining area, which can be controlled from the ease of your phone, anywhere in the world!

A dishwasher and small larder fridge were also fitted either side of the striking copper basin and taps.

Adding to the visual ambiance of the building, we used clear glass doors separating both wine rooms from the central entertainment space. This creates a beautiful feature so the wine collection can be admired undisturbed whilst entertaining. We are also installing a conditioning system, where the atmosphere is controlled at a temperature between 12-13 °C and a constant humidity of 70%, making sure the quality of the wine is carefully preserved. Miele wine coolers were installed for those who prefer white and rosé wines, and of course, lets not forget, all the champagne !!!

The chandeliers and LED lighting have now just been installed, along with the antique mirrored splash back which together, look incredibly impressive. We specifically chose LED lighting to prevent deterioration to the wine.

* * *

The specialist painter is now adding the finishing touches to the ceilings. We will be posting the finished rooms very soon.




Welcome to Griggs & Mackay’s new blog!

We are currently compiling all the best and beautiful bits from our latest projects, including our work in St Tropez and a very special wine cellar! Keep your eyes peeled as this will be coming very soon!