So, The Great British Bake Off is back. On a new channel, with (mostly) new presenters and featuring a host of new wide-eyed contestants eager to please. But what hasn’t changed is the kitchen setting we’ve come to know and love over the years the show has been on our screens.
Although there have been a few tweaks from time to time – Kenwood replacing KitchenAid and Smeg fridges being ousted in favour of similar retro models without easy-to-read advertising badges for example – the overall look of the home-from-home kitchen the bakers share hasn’t changed much.
Amazingly, if you look at what the bakers have to work on – a single island with a separate freestanding fridge freezer – the actual footprint isn’t huge, so it’s not an impossible task to recreate the look in most kitchens. Even if you don’t have room for an island, then a run of cabinetry could easily accommodate most of the appliances on show.
So, if you love the look, how can you best replicate it in your own home?
Your first port of call is the furniture. It’s the base on which all else stands or falls. Our bespoke Shaker range is a perfect match for the Bake Off cupboards and because our cabinetry is handcrafted in our Cambridgeshire workshop using a traditional framed construction, then primed ready for hand-painting in your own home, you can choose any configuration and colour you like. Not a fan of the Bake Off pale pastels? Then opt for a bold pink or elegant grey instead, it’s up to you. The wooden worksurfaces employed on the Bake Off islands have fallen somewhat out of favour in recent years – mainly because of the rise in quality and variety of composite stones – but timber is a lovely warm surface in a kitchen. It just takes a little more looking after, including regular oiling to keep it looking at its best but it’s well worth it, particularly if you’re after a more traditional Shaker style. Of course, it’s a look that lies well with the handles used, too, which are a mix of traditional cup and small pull handles.
When it was on the BBC, Bake Off was subject to the usual ‘no advertising’ rule, something that caused a little embarrassment early on when Smeg retro fridges were much in evidence with their very clear badges. Of course, that isn’t the only instantly recognizable brand in evidence. The Neff Steam Slide and Hide oven is one of a kind, with its door that neatly slides back underneath the oven for easy access and is paired with a proving drawer from the same company. No longer a Smeg, the fridge freezer has gone through a number of brands – it was Gorenge for a while – but for the new series it appears that Servis have won the cooling appliance competition (look closely and you can see the handle design is slightly different to the Gorenje model). Whether that means the colours used on Bake Off will be available to buy remains unclear – they don’t seem to be currently – but Swan, Smeg and Gorenge all have pale blue and cream in their collections. Also clearly recognizable are the KitchenAid mixers which have returned to our screens after a brief hiatus in which Kenwood took over the beating and mixing duties. There are plenty of colours to choose from in the KitchenAid family and the recently released Black Violet offers a softer option than black for those championing a monochrome palette. For chopping and processing work, they’ve stuck with the trusty Magimix – a favourite of former judge Mary Berry. Whisking remains in the reliable hands of Dualit while the trusty Mason Cash mixing bowls also back.
Stuck at the back, off the benches, but no less evident are the cream Swan microwaves. These are a great choice if you want to keep the look retro. To complete the cooking set, a domino induction hob is best for a space, such as the Bake Off tent, that doesn’t have a gas line. Induction is a speedy, easy-to-clean choice but for those wedded to gas there are sleek gas on glass models too.
If you’re after a retro aesthetic but don’t want to invest in niche appliances, add in soft touches with furnishings such as crockery. Spotted a week or so ago in contestant Flo’s hands were the lovely porcelain mugs from Keith Brymer Jones, co-incidentally (or not) a judge on Bake Off’s crafty cousin, The Great Pottery Throwdown.
Ready to start designing a Bake Off inspired kitchen, or something a little less retro? Visit your nearest Harvey Jones showroom, request a complimentary design consultation or speak to one of our skilled designers on 0800 389 6938.