Kitchens of the Week: 5 Retrouvius Designs Composed of Salvaged Parts

“There’s an undeniable feel-good factor in reuse: something unloved becomes valuable again,” write Maria Speake and Adam Hills. The couple met in architecture school in Glasgow, where in the late 1980s, they watched in horror as many of the city’s Victorian tenements were razed. They’ve been neck deep in salvaged building materials ever since.

Together Adam and Maria run Retrouvius, their London-based architectural findings business. Adam hunts for castoffs and oversees a shop piled with deaccessioned museum cabinets and deep-sixed solid-wood doors. Maria heads the interior design studio specializing in clever applications for scrap.

Here at Remodelista we’re longstanding fans and students of the Retrouvius way (scroll to the end to read and see more). A while back we featured The Reclaimed Bath: 8 Retrouvius Designs; today, we’re spotlighting five Retrouvius kitchens concocted from old and new parts.

Photography courtesy of Retrouvius.

Repurposed Parquet Flooring and Old Frames in a Central London Flat

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Above: Rescued parquet flooring needn’t be kept underfoot; the design team at Retrouvius often puts it to use as cabinet and drawer fronts. This London apartment project also has a counter of salvaged iroko—go to Retrouvius for a look at their current supply of Reclaimed Iroko Worktops (“Originating in the forests of West Africa, iroko wood is now recognized as a valuable and finite resource,” Maria notes. “It must always be reclaimed, never new.”)

The overhead cabinet fronts are poetically made from old frames—”flipped to enjoy the narrative of their previous life.” The open shelves that extend across the door are cheeseboards: planks of wood formerly used for aging cheese. Photograph by Tom Fallon.

Vintage Interior Windows in a Converted Artist’s Studio in North London

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Above: “Old single-glazed windows aren’t thermally efficient and don’t always meet modern regulations, so we like to reuse them internally,” says Maria. Here, they set off and brighten a new kitchen in a former artist’s studio. Across from a new Aga stove, an old wooden file cabinet houses the dishwasher. The antique ceramic sink is paired with a new brass bridge faucet: “Our team use all types of salvaged wash basins,” says Maria, “but we often pair them with modern high-quality taps: modern mixers aerate water flow so use less water and they require less energy to heat hot water.” Retrouvius always has a cache of Reclaimed Brass Handles and an array have been put to use here as cabinet and drawer pulls. Photograph by Tom Fallon.