Miele ‘Perfection Series’

Miele have released a collection of short films called ‘Miele Perfection Series’ helping to inform and inspire you, whether it’s for restaurant recreations or further your cooking knowledge. Their brilliant executive chefs, Sven-Hanson Britt and Douglas McMaster along with Martin Major have created one-off recipes with carefully sourced produce and Mieles’ high performing appliances.

Sven has always spoke highly of using seasonal produce, who is currently renovating his restaurant at Hardley Hill Farm. He is a firm believer that the source of food is essential to achieving extraordinary taste. An expert in seasonal ingredients and hand rearing livestock, Sven shows in the ‘Perfection Series’ that the secret to achieving well-cooked tender meat with flavoursome vegetables is all down to the precision that the Gourmet Sous Chef Warming Drawer and Steam Combination Ovens provide. The Ovens provide a precise temperature control to within one degree, and with levels of humidity constantly sustained, the ovens guarantee that there is no loss of flavour, texture or freshness while cooking.

Reducing waste is a hot topic at the moment and head chef and owner of SILO in Brighton and CUB in London Douglas McMaster is an advocate for this and has established a specialised approach to food that results in innovative, flavourful dishes that produce no waste, that are environmentally friendly and sustainable. His appliance of choice in the ‘Perfection Series’ is the Mieles’ induction hob, providing quick heat up time and accurate temperature controls and even distribution of heat all of this allows Douglas to accomplish amazing results which he desires.

Martin Major trained in classic French cuisine and has a penchant for British seafood. He believes that when it comes to preparing food, having appliances which you can control and trust to be at the correct temperature is key. The ‘Perfection Series’ helps to demonstrate this when he creates a superb Bass Bouillabaisse. By using both the induction hob and the oven it allowed him to cook it perfectly accompanied with a sauce bursting with flavour.

Click to watch Douglas McMaster’s film here

Click to watch Martin Major’s film here


Maris Properties Gallery & Design

Having worked with Maris Properties with great success on their development at Thurstonfield. We are in collaboration together again for their next venture and development in the picturesque hamlet of Longburgh.

The stunning properties all have a rural outlook with beautiful views of the countryside and offer high specification interiors as previously offered at Thurstonfield.

Just like us, Maris believe that the kitchen is the heart of the home and together we are creating just that, a heart and a home, but a heart that cares about the environment too. Sustainability is at the core of the building ethos, everything is built to last and give joy, from the air source heat pumps to the water efficient taps and including the environmentally friendly made kitchens from of Town and Country Interiors.

The ‘Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification’ (PEFC) was founded in 1998 by forest owners and representatives of the woodworking industry. Active throughout
the world, this certification agency stands for ecologically compatible, sustainable forest
management. www.pefc.de

Maris now have a gallery and design studio at Crofton Hall. It is located in the former stable block and houses the latest interiors products Maris Properties are offering and of course, one of our kitchens. Not only all that but also hosts a collection of contemporary art works from the local region.

Town and Country Interiors have created room sets in 3D renders which let the customer get a real feel for how their kitchen could look and this service is carried offer in every project we create.

Anyone is welcome to visit and it is open Mondays–Thursdays 10am-3pm or by appointment.

Maris Design Studio and Gallery
The Old Stable Block
West Park

For more information, see www.marisproperties.co.uk


Anita’s been working with Roy Hughes from Scientific Arts Ltd on a virtual tour of our Carlisle showroom and you can now watch it online here if you haven’t already seen it. It’s not comprehensive and you can’t see the many different ways the cupboards open and close, nor feel the quality, but it features our own bespoke kitchens that are currently on show as well as Poggenpohl and Pronorm kitchens, Silenia bedroom interiors and a couple of stunning offices and living spaces too.

Have a look but don’t forget, you’re welcome to drop in and see the real thing!

“The showroom on Victoria Viaduct is a bit of a TARDIS really,” says Anita, “and we wanted to have something on the website that can give people an indication of just how much there is to see and the variety of the kitchens and other interiors that we have on show. Roy took about four hours to capture as much of the space as he could and we’re really pleased with the results.”

“The combination of images, rotation views and direction arrows gives anyone looking at the tour a chance to take their own route,” says Anita, “so it’s worth opening up the menu and having a good browse.”

Particular room designs to look out for include the sand-coloured kitchen – our design for a Poggenpohl +MODO kitchen. It has the Silestone ECO worktop with a 13cm mitred downturn and then there’s the illuminated back panels with integrated sockets, the open shelves at the rear of the island and the Kohler Stages professional chefs sink.

We have also included the kitchen that we “recycled” last year (see blog from August 2015) so that you can see for yourself how the painted finish, change of handles and other design touches have created what looks like a new kitchen.

“My favourite on the tour is the TV room,” says Anita. “It shows the multi uses of wall cabinets. We have used mirror in the back of the cabinet to create a glamorous yet discrete drinks cabinet and the wall panels behind them add another dimension and texture. The whole room scheme gives a good impression of how using a specialist interior designer to put together a room like this can make all the difference – not only with the function but also the style and the wow factor.”
Drinks cabinet
Pop-up extraction
Corian kitchens
bespoke wardrobe
designer Bathrooms


If you’ve visited our Carlisle showroom recently, you’ll have seen the beautiful bathroom in the window of the extension area. It’s taken a while to get this just as we wanted it but, with a little help from Penrith interior designer, Maureen Whitemore of Whitemore & Thwaytes, we think we now have something to show off.

The bath is a Victoria and Albert freestanding model painted black outside and with Hansgrohe Axor taps. The flooring is a tumbled marble and the wash basin is also Victoria and Albert set on to a carrara marble surface and a bespoke Town and Country interiors vanity.

Those elements have been in place for a while but it has taken a little Maureen magic to create the full impact.

The wallpaper, a gorgeous floral affair, is Nakai by Boussac while the curtain fabric, drawing out the beautiful rich purple colour, is an artificial silk called Astor by James Hare. And the finishing touch is a lead crystal tieback by Zoffany.

The other big difference is the replacement of the sample sheets and green cupboard along the wall with an elegant grey wardrobe with mirrored doors and painted in Fig Grey to match the washbasin stand.

Roy and Bill designed the bathroom overall and we are pleased with the final effect: “Many of our clients for bedroom and bathroom designs are now looking for combinations of function with a touch of luxury and we have tried to create that with this showroom example. I could imagine it as a wonderful en suite bathroom that echoes the same rich shades and furniture design from the bedroom.”



We have been revitalising the kitchen at the back of our showroom and wanted to share some of the tips and tricks that we have used and a few ideas that we’ have come up with as the project’s been developing.
The kitchen was one of our original displays and we designed and fitted it into the Carlisle showroom back in October 2005. It has a lovely two oven Aga in a pewter colour and the floor is tiled in chinese multi colour slate. The work tops are Emerald black granite although the island worktop is maple, all of which we wanted to keep.
At the time of fitting, to fully install a similar kitchen into your home it would have cost about £30,000.00 but, from our recent experience, it would have been a brilliant investment.
Rather than replace the showroom kitchen, we have taken advantage of that original quality, kept the Aga, tiled splashbacks and cabinets in place but given it a refresh to create what looks like a new kitchen.

Preparation is key
First we removed all the doors, drawer fronts, skirtings and other frontages.
We removed the handles and then sanded the doors to create a rougher surface that the paint can key into. We used a block sander so that we didn’t go too deep or damage the surface too much but you could use an electrical one if you prefer, an orbital finishing sander would be ideal.
All the door hinges, joints, drawer runners and other mechanisms should be checked at this stage and, if necessary, replaced. If the original kitchen had been an old kitchen, this would be the time to fit the door closures with soft close feature as these can be added.
At this stage, everything looked a bit bare and wrecked but it was uphill from now on.

Painting and colour
We had already decided to go for a more updated painted kitchen to replace the original distressed bleached waxed finish and we used Little Greene Paint Company paint. It is worth paying a bit more for something that is designed for the job and designed for use in a kitchen too.
For our larder, we filled most of the distressed holes on the outside and then sanded them smooth. We then painted in Grey Moss 234 and the kitchen furniture we painted in True Taupe 240 for a cabinet colour contrast. We found that the various doors and drawer fronts needed 2 coats for good coverage.
Finding somewhere to dry everything with no dust or debris about was a challenge, even in our showroom and workshop but it’s worth being careful at this stage as the paint will usually take a good 24 hours at least to dry completely.

Refreshing the style
Changing the colour of the kitchen and freshening it all up with a coat of paint made a huge difference but other small changes have also made a big impact.
The wide range of handles available for the kitchen can make a room look traditional or contemporary, smart or more relaxed.
We finally chose a beautiful solid brass handle in a polished nickle finish from Armac Martin as it had a much warmer tone that completemented both the Aga tops and the door hinges. Armac Martin is a wonderful small company based in Duddeston, Birmingham. We needed 39 in all for the showroom kitchen. We were really pleased with the resulting colour and handle combination.

Updates and accessories
The final touches have now been made to our “new” kitchen.
The glass-fronted cabinets contain accessories and kilner jars, sourced from our neighbours at the Cookware company, Victoria Viaduct, and we’ve introduced a highlight colour, a Grey Moss in the wine rack and the tall larder to break things up and add some tonal interest.
We are really pleased with the resulting display kitchen but we would never have attempted it without being sure of the original quality and of course, workmanship. When we get it so right for a customer, it is a big investment but one that is well worth making.
If your current kitchen has suffered too much and needs a complete replacement, we would love to talk to you. But, if you are already enjoying one of our quality kitchens, we hope that it will remain with you, albiet refreshed and looking different as and when you want it!

Before Images

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before close up

After Images
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…celebrate their 100th Anniversary and select one of our latest kitchen projects designed by our in house designer, Bill McIntosh, to feature inside this month’s Homes and Interiors, Scotland.

This really is a stunning contemporary interior within an extremely old building, which in parts, dates from 1650.
The owners have travelled extensively visiting buildings with an eye on the ‘old meets new’ concept and love watching Grand Designs.
After a few meetings with Bill they felt he had the perfect kitchen design for them which sympathetically integrated with their 17century barn.

Bill designed a handleless Poggenpohl kitchen and continued this with the Gaggenau handleless 400 series of integrated ovens.
The seamless worktop included a flush flexizone induction hob and downdraft extraction which was then set into Caesarstone and for more textural interest he incorporated heart ash wood in the seated area on the island.
All in all this created a simple pared back room allowing the very old beams to stand out.

Home and Interiors, Scotland magazine appreciated the subtleness of its design and simple clean lines, they commented on the recessed and drop lighting and bare walls allowing the light to bounce around the room, as the interiors guide so eloquently said

‘…compensating for the limited daylight from the disproportionately small windows, that are a reminder of the building’s past.’

A past that spans over 300 years. A wonderful example of old meets new.

“We don’t simply design kitchens. We remain curious. We take a critical look at our own ideas and plans and constantly improve what is already good. This is our strive for perfection. It not only pleases us but delights and surprises our clients”.

Bill McIntosh

Scottish Homes & Interior
Poggenpohl Kitchen
Neutral Designer Kitchen
Ash Heart wood
Poggenpohl Kitchen
natural flooring
Neutral Kitchen

Cumbria Life Home and Garden Show 2015


The scent of spring comes and then goes again, but with every waft that passes we know it is getting  closer.

What better way is there to welcome spring than by coming to what promises to be the largest Northern home and garden event of the year.  Inspiration and ideas, exhibitors and demonstrations all under one roof.

Both Roy and Bill will be there to greet customers old and new.  They will be showcasing a kitchen with leathered worktops and presenting Malcolm Harradine, QVC chef and presenter.  On the Sunday he will be holding some demonstrations on our kitchen, with thanks to the Sands, kitchenware and giftshop, Penrith.

I’m very excited that Eric Robson, with his 40 years of writing and broadcasting experience with the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 will be there with his panel of experts from Radio 4’s Gardeners Question time.  They will be sharing their knowledge and on the Saturday and if you are a fan of the Great British Interior Design Challenge.  Sophie and Daniel from the BBC2 show will be in the lecture theatre twice on Sunday.

Stunning stands for everything inside and out of your home, from flowers to fireplaces, hand crafted windows and doors to bespoke kitchens and bathrooms, the newest interiors to the oldest reclamation objects.  It’s the place to come and visit this week end.  There is a timetable of presentations and demonstrations in the exhibition halls which is now on-line as are the details of the exhibitors  too and it’s all in the March issue of Cumbria Life.

All these informal events included in the ticket price and pre-booking tickets will save you £1 makingthe ticket cost just £4.

If you would like to book tickets or more information visit www.cumbrialifehomeandgardenshow.co.uk

Town & Country 19-07-14-81Kitchen Crawshaw  (67)-Edit-2 Town & Country 25-07-14-2 Town & Country Dec14 (94 of 118)Town & Country Dec14 (34 of 118)                        Cumbria Life Home & Garden

Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday UK is a day-long event, which aims to encourage consumers shop local and small, utilise the butchers, bakers, florists, cake shops, fashion boutiques, gift shops, kitchen shops and all sorts of other independent retailers like us.

Small and locally owned businesses, like us, are an important part of our economy.  The cash you spend with a local business goes a whole lot farther in the local economy than money spent with the large national businesses.

Any time a pound is spent, it generates a pound’s worth of economic activity and employment.  If the same pound is spent in the local economy it generates several pounds worth of employment, behaving as if it were several pounds, not just one.  By keeping our money local, we can take charge of our economy.

Why we care? Because it’s the local business you call when you need a sponsor for your child’s sports team. It’s the local business that you call when you need a donation for your fundraising and because we believe in our community.

It’s non-political, non-commercial campaign, which not only encourages people to shop small and local but also highlights small business success.  We found a very interesting website http://bristolpound.org/whyjoin that makes a lot of sense.

The day itself takes place on the first shopping Saturday in December each year, but the campaign aims to have a lasting impact on small businesses. This year it is on Saturday December 6th so have a great day shopping small, local and independent everyone.

Window Decals altered web


We were all delighted when we were shortlisted for the Best Large Independent Retailer category in the Carlisle Living Awards 2014 so you can imagine our reaction to winning the Award!

3 of us – Roy Sweetman, Bill McIntosh and Anita Sweetman – booked to attend the Awards night at Garden at Eden on Thursday 4 September.  We were up against some tough competition, Country House Outdoor, Peter Jackson, Peter Tyson and our near neighbours, Dickensons – so we were very pleased to be a finalist.

David Jackson the Commercial Director from the Lanes Shopping Centre presented the award as the sponsor in our category and, after the shock announcement, we collected it on behalf of all at Town and Country Interiors.  There were no big speeches, just the dreaded pictures, so then we had a group photograph with our award and it was on to the next category.

The highlight for all of us was hearing some of the comments that had been made by those who nominated us:

‘London style in a regional setting’

‘First class service’

‘I had my kitchen designed and fitted by them seven years ago and it’s as perfect as the day it went in’

These comments mean a great deal to us as and we want a huge thank you to reach out to all our customers for nominating us, voting for us and, of course, for recommending us to friends and family too.  We have a great team here and we have fabulous customers too.

Carlisle Living Awards

Vintage Blend Afternoon Tea

“There are few things more agreeable than an hour dedicated to afternoon tea”

What an authentic vintage experience! And we couldn’t do it without our lovely customers.  So a big thank you to all of you that shared the experience with us.

It was relaxing couple of hours of tasting and trying new infused teas with bright fruit flavours.

Anna and Christine are the ladies behind ‘Vintage Blend’.  They created the charm of a quintessentially English tea.  They brought the beautiful and unique collection of vintage china, and laid it out on our display worktops, and the best thing, they took it away.  There was no washing up at the end!

With choice of colours, elegant designs and subtle flower details, the crockery really made our little tea party feel luxurious and nostalgic to days gone by.

Anna also told us the story about tea and how it was known as liquid gold in this country and in many others.  Then, to check if everybody was paying attention, a little quiz was handed out at the end, and, of course, everybody had high scores!

Anna is available to discuss your needs and for more information contact her



Joyce & Bill J &Roy Mr and Mrs Earp Anna Vintage Blend VintageBlend-20 VintageBlend-05 VintageBlend-00