Name: Jasper Middleton
Position within company: Director
. Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc)
Design and creating things has always been a passion of mine. Since I was child I could always be found making things and working with my hands. My formal education includes a degree in Fine Arts and Antiques and in addition that that I am an experienced carpenter. Prior to the formation of Middleton I worked within our family property development business overs seeing multi-million pound projects from start to finish. With kitchen design these skills are invaluable, as I understand the classic composition of the pieces I design, how this works a scheme and also how it will be made and fitted along with any practical construction considerations.
. How would you describe your personal interior design style?
My personal interior design style is pretty eclectic. At home I like to have a mixture of old things, classical pieces and some modern iconic statements. I like to choose a colour scheme that includes some strong colours and use this with a mix of more neutral tones and different textures to soften the look.
. Where does your design inspiration come from?
I find inspiration in my surroundings, the beautiful counties of Sussex. I am equally at home taking in the seaside Georgian and Edwardian architecture of Brighton as in an old country manor house snapping details on my phone to research. I also love to hunt around reclamation yards for mouldings and interesting materials to bring inspiration to my cabinet making. Another great passion of mine is wood and I find it a real inspiration to visit our sawmills and wander around seeing what beautiful timber is there and quizzing the experts on how these materials could work for us.
. In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
I think that clients are now more informed and more comfortable with making choices. Design in general within the kitchen industry is moving towards simple materials, elegantly combined and a combination of textures. This allows the cabinetry to speak for itself with no fuss or fads.
. Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2015 and beyond.
Lighting for atmosphere and tasks rather than the same level of brightness throughout the space.
Layout so that a number of people within the house can work comfortably within the kitchen.
Appropriate dedicated storage destinations so that everybody in the house know where to find whatever it may be because it has been considered and allowed for at the design stage.
Flexibility in the design that the arrangement to future proofing the kitchen for what may be required in years to come.
Keeping things simple, fashions change, classic endures. Too many kitchen companies have ranges that try to keep with fashions of today. These all too quickly date, meaning that perfectly serviceable cabinetry must be disguarded because for example high gloss black or faux Scandinavian driftwood is no longer desired.
. If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to interior design schemes, what would it be?
Colour is a blessing; be brave with it! Clients are often worried about light levels in their kitchen, finding it hard to imagine the space without the tired dark elements of what may have been there before. This attitude encourages them to look for pale shades, resisting themselves from looking further up the colour chart. No matter how good the cabinetry may be, injecting the right colour not only further conveys the bespoke message of individuality, but also has the chance of seriously enhancing the look from a great kitchen to an amazing one.
. How important are The International Design and Architecture Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?
We are a small maker in the traditional, family sense, working on private commissions. We see ourselves as a very small player in the bespoke kitchen business that packs a serious punch competing and often beating long established more recognisable names on a regular basis. It’s an amazing honour for us to be recognised for quality of service, detail and design and we hope it’s a sign of things to come for our growing business.
. What projects are you currently working on?
It’s been a fantastic year so far for Middleton with several of our projects featuring editorially in the national titles and newspapers. We are involved on large-scale country house renovations for three different families, a newly constructed Sussex Barn, a new 7000 sq. ft. country house, and a penthouse apartment in Battersea at the moment. These exciting projects are wonderful to work on and we are excited to see the finished results.
. What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
Our aim going forward is to continue the current trajectory that we are on with regard to the profile of the commissions that we are working on. As cabinet makers specialising on working with period buildings, working on homes of architectural importance or with interesting quirks is not only a privilege, but also encourages creativity in providing design solutions for how we live today, while providing cabinetry that is at ease with its surroundings.
. Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself
Your most treasured possession?
My black lab Ruby if she can be called a possession. Ruby is the most faithful of friends. She is always ready for whatever we have planned for the day and can often be found at my feet.
Your favourite holiday destination?
The Greek Islands are my favourite place in the world. Despite having done lots of exotic destinations in the past we now find ourselves returning to these beautiful islands year after year with our children. The food, people and that feeling of relaxation you get on a tiny boat in crystal clear blue waters is unbeatable.
Your favourite hotel / restaurant / bar?
I have been going to Otellos for 20 years- it’s a lovely family run Italian- taking my girls there after school at the end of the week gives me great pleasure as like all children, they’re mad for pizza.
Your favourite book / film / song?
James Frey’s “A Million Little Pieces”
Your favourite food and drink?
Friday night dinner of steak form our local butchers and a good red.
Your favourite way to spend an afternoon? (in no more than 25 words)
Relaxing at home with the Sunday papers in the winter in front of the log burner and in the Summer lazing in the garden.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
A sculptor or and artist, both passions of mine in my youth and during my education.
Anything else interesting?
I have completed the ARDS course at Silverstone some years ago and now hold hold a racing car license.