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My dream kitchen (and what Alvar Aalto has to do with it)

I have somewhat of an obsession with all-wood kitchens of a particular style. I recently posted about a house with a parquet wall, which looked very good, but this room ticks even more boxes.

Everything about it is perfect, in my dream kitchen world: the particular shade of the wood; the fact it has panels on the walls too; the sliding cupboard doors with indented handles; the semi-open plan design; the continuous floor throughout, adding space with seamlessness; a casual bit of bare brick; the fact it is on the first not the ground floor; the vast windows (particularly great in front of a sink, I always feel). Sigh.

The kitchen belongs to a six-bedroomed property in Ipswich, Suffolk, currently on sale via The Modern House for £695,000. It was built in 1960 and designed by the architect Birkin Hawood (whose son, also called Birkin Hawood, is a painter of very beautiful abstract landscapes with a whiff of the modernist aesthetic about them). Hawood built the house for his own family, and a few more photos follow, which show the incredible gallery detail as well.

It kind of reminds me a lot of Alvar Aalto's first self-built house – the Finnish designer probably most famous to most people for his wiggly-shaped vases. I love Aaltar's Riihitie house, built in 1935-36 in Helsinki so much that I have a postcard – bought from the Alvar Aalto museum – of the living room hanging in the downstairs loo. It makes me wish I'd gone for wood-panelled walls every time I wash my hands. Check it out below.

(Nb, the postcard you can see below Aalto's pad, the one with the visible writing, I found at a junk market in the States. It was posted in 1976 to 'Nino and Viola' from a guy called Norman. It reads, succinctly: "On Sunday I sat around by my pool all day. Anybody who don't like Calif. must be nuts!" Always cheers me up when I read it.)


And, back to the kitchen: you can see where Birkin got his inspiration, 25 years later.


  1. This is a big house, me too would love a huge house with a big spacious kitchen. The living room is also nice.


  2. It was not just a dream kitchen; it’s a dream home. The wooden designs all over are truly impressive. What’s even amazing is the furniture that matched the house design perfectly. Ooh, the sink’s base is made of wood! That would look quite charming with a wooden countertop near that part. =)