When we renovated the Long Barn, one of the many things we wanted to get right was the kitchen. We appreciated that many guests may not want to do a lot of cooking when away, but we also wanted to make sure that if they did, it would have everything they needed to create a perfect meal for a large gathering.
The original room had been part converted to a kitchen, but the old stone steps in the corner led up to the bedroom above. This meant that the kitchen had some pretty ugly partitions and a fire door around the steps to comply with building regulations. Even had we wanted to (we didn’t) because the barn is grade 2 listed, the steps had to stay. So the best option was to close them off from the bedroom above so that we could remove all the partitions.
The kitchen then had to be designed around the room’s footprint; in the end with 3 doors into the space, and two windows, the layout pretty much designed itself. Stan our amazing carpenter fitted all the cupboards and the oak floor; the old stone walls meant the kitchen fitters had fun scribing the work tops to fit them perfectly. The island gave extra space for storage and cooking; we’ve also found it works well if you want to serve a meal buffet style.
We picked people’s brains who regularly stayed away in large groups to find out what they liked/hated about places they’d stayed before, and included:
Two dishwashers to cope with all the washing up from a meal for 14.
A Quooker boiling water tap: no refilling the kettle when making tea for everyone.
American style fridge with ice maker and space for all the shopping.
Two drinks coolers.
A Sage Coffee machine for aspiring baristas.
Enough crockery, mugs, glasses, cutlery for a small hotel (so you don’t spend all your time rewashing your one allocated plate).
Decent sharp Sabatier knives.
Dualit toaster for making lots of toast.
Two ovens, grill and microwave.
Hotess Trolley: we never thought we’d buy one of these, but it has been invaluable for heating plates/keeping food warm for a large group.
All the equipment you need to make a proper roast dinner from big pans to roasting trays.
Empty cupboard space to store groceries.
All the kitchen supplies you need for your whole stay from dishwasher tabs,to fin foil, to kitchen roll.
Finally, with some finishing touches from photographs taken by Ian, to some art we’d collected over the years, the kitchen was finished.
We’ve road tested the kitchen several times with friends and cooked everything from a big breakfast for 14 to a roast dinner. We think we’ve pretty much thought of everything but are always happy to add to it; a group of girls who were celebrating a big birthday away asked about cocktails so the Long Barn now has cocktail shakers and glasses. Perfect for making a batch of espresso martinis (and yes, we have tested these out too).