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DIVINE DEVOL – AN INTERVIEW WITH THE UK’S KITCHEN CRAFTSMEN

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Find our more about what makes deVOL tick

18/04/2017

Smeg has been working alongside DeVOL, the well-known premium kitchen designer and manufacturer, for a number of years. We sat down with Creative Director Helen, to find out first-hand what makes the company tick and more importantly, what she loves to cook in her own kitchen.

Your kitchens range from the modern ‘Air Range Kitchen’ to many traditional and classic collections. Do you see a trend for any of these in particular in the coming year?

Our Shaker range is our most popular range, because it is so simple and easy to incorporate into so many styles of interiors, but with the opening of our new St. John's Square, Clerkenwell showroom we have introduced a little more of our Classic English furniture. This Georgian furniture is very traditional and again simple, with a focus on beautiful handmade cabinetry. We have seen a trend in opulent, eclectic rooms, yet still understated and this embodies our Classic cupboards, so we hope to see the revival of our Classic English Kitchens. Handmade in their entirety they are bespoke and will literally last a lifetime.

A number of your show kitchens at Cotes Mill showcase Smeg appliances. Why do you think our appliances complement your kitchens so well?

Smeg appliances are simple like deVOL cupboards, good quality, understated and well-priced. They suit our customers perfectly and a testament to our confidence and love of Smeg is that all three of our directors have Smeg ranges in their homes. For me there is nothing, really nothing, that beats a Smeg FAB fridge, they are just so spot on. A fridge is always a tricky appliance to fit nicely into a kitchen design, but with a Smeg FAB it's easy, they always look good, which is why we sell them to so many of our customers and have two in our showrooms here at Cotes Mill. I have a pink one at home and I love it, it’s got character and style and without it my kitchen just wouldn’t be the same.

When it comes to appliances, do you think you can mix modern and traditional styles together in harmony?

We love to mix it up in our kitchen showrooms and in our customers' kitchens, new cupboards, vintage furniture, it all helps to make every kitchen unique. No one wants to have a kitchen designed to a formula, they want it to be personal and individual, a great way to achieve this is to introduce the unexpected. With careful choices, mixing old with new or traditional with modern can really make the difference.

Do you believe technology and style are equally important in a kitchen or is one more essential than the other?

Well I do believe that style is most definitely more important, whether it is style in the home, in a product or in a piece of clothing. However, technology in your kitchen can definitely make life a whole lot easier and having a super hi tech cooker or extractor can make things cleaner, or easier or more efficient. So of course it is sensible to make the most of technology, but we should never allow this to take over from style, having said this there are of course many products that incorporate technology and style. So style over technology, yes, but don’t be a slave to it, style should be easy.

The kitchen is the heart of the home, the social hub and cooking central. What’s your favourite dish to cook for the family?

Oh a cooking question, I love those!! Well my family don’t live at home anymore so cooking an evening meal for the kids is a distant memory, a very happy memory but a distant one. My children have lots of favourites but now they have to feed themselves and live away from home it seems the thing they really crave when they come is a Sunday Roast. I absolutely love to cook roast chicken, simple I know but it’s the best, with all the trimmings too, especially homemade bread sauce which is a family favourite. The smell of roast chicken, stuffed with lemons, fresh thyme and garlic, rubbed with Olive Oil and sea salt is the best. Then bay leaves and cloves simmering in milk and an onion to make a bread sauce, it’s all the smells of happy families. You just can’t beat a home cooked roast, I love the whole spectacle, peeling chopping, mixing, laying the table and making sure everything is ready at the same time, it’s always a joint effort and a very satisfying way to spend a few hours with your favourite people.

The DeVOL brand seems to be constantly expanding, now including handmade ceramics and flooring. What does the future look like for DeVOL?

DeVOL is always on the move it’s what makes the company so dynamic and exciting, it’s not always a conscious decision, it often just happens. If you overthink and plan too much it can seem hard work and forced, but here at deVOL it’s all a bit more spontaneous. We see someone who makes great pots so we open a ceramics studio, not planned just sounds fun so let’s give it a go. Of course it involves a lot hard work and dedication to make it all happen but it's new and exciting and with so many talented designers here it's bound to result in something special. The future is bound to throw up some more exciting projects, we have a whole house in St. John's Square to decorate and furnish so that’s my job for the next few months but who knows what else will happen, I don’t think we know ourselves yet!!