A Room of One’s Own: Matilda Goad’s thrifty transformation of her much-loved kitchen pantry
The designer invites us in for a look at the most-used room in her house, her pantry, which came together with reclaimed floorboards, internet-sourced grouting and discounted fabric
- Natasha Levy
Matilda Goad’s range of vintage-inspired homeware – “designed to elevate the home with the most minimal upheaval” – has become a hit for the instant cheery presence the pieces bestow upon an interior. Her collection effortlessly blends whimsical, kitsch detailing – she loves anything scallop-shaped and has a thing for rattan – with bright hues and sophisticated materials to appear off-the-cuff but refined; casual but grown-up.
The smallest room in her house has been the recipient of the full force of Matilda’s imaginative, magpie-like approach. Far from being a place where dust settles on little-used appliances and forgotten-about tins of food, Matilda has transformed the pantry into a space that beckons enticingly beyond her kitchen with its jar-laden shelves, funky tiling and bold textiles. Here, she explains how she spent sparingly but wisely on creating what, for her, is perhaps the most visited room in her house.
“I used to do a food shop every day on my way back from work – but I’ve reevaluated.”
“This is probably the smallest ‘A Room of One’s Own’ that Inigo has done – I think the pantry is around two meters square. When I first started designing the room, I thought of it more as a space that I could just shut off from the kitchen, but since then it’s aesthetically developed quite a bit. It’s become so useful, I think it’s probably the most frequented room in the whole house.
“This time last year during the pandemic, I was heavily pregnant and at home most of the time, so I started ordering lots more food online like pulses, lentils and all those sorts of things. Before having a baby, I used to do a food shop every day on my way back from work – but I’ve reevaluated. Now I’m all for having lots of ingredients that we can store away, especially as my husband and I love cooking.
“I didn’t really reference the style of any other pantries; we’d allocated a lot of our budget to other rooms in the house, so I didn’t have a vast amount of money to spend. The granite worktop is an offcut that was leftover from the kitchen, and we decided to have the café-style curtain underneath as it was a much more affordable option than joinery.
“I’m often quite methodical with my design process… I work backwards.”
“The one thing that I really wanted to make happen design-wise was the tiles. A pantry is historically a room very cool in temperature where you can keep fresh food, hence why traditional pantries were always lined with tiles. I’m often quite methodical with my design process; when I know I’ve got a certain amount of budget, I work backwards – so, as I knew I wanted to line the room with tiles, I took an almost Eighties approach by focusing on the grouting, rather than looking at the tiles as the hero. These tiles are from B&Q and are the most basic, cheap tiles you can get. The grout is from Amazon; I discovered a whole world of coloured grouts on there.
“I didn’t really know much about grout before, other than the fact you could buy varying shades of grey. I think coloured grout is a really fun idea because it’s a much more affordable option that creates something aesthetically pleasing. Often, the tiles I love are not particularly affordable; however, if you look at tiles in another way, they can actually feel quite utilitarian and help the room serve its purpose.
“I think it’s a very old-fashioned mindset to just assume you should shove all your food in the fridge.”
“I think designing smaller rooms is all about having things to hand and working out how you’re going to use the space. Rather than following the common assumption that a kitchen needs to have a dining table surrounded by eight chairs, it’s really better to work out how often it’s just going to be you alone at home, for example. Or how often you’re actually going to use that blender in your cupboard.
“I used old floorboards left over from my sitting room to create some really narrow shelves; their width is based on the size of a standard Kilner jar. I think if shelves are really deep, everything ends up getting lost at the back and it’s really impractical. Behind the curtain, I have these stacked recycled plastic crates from HAY where I keep things that I don’t need every day. I also quite like keeping our coffee machine and toaster in here so that work surfaces can be clear in the kitchen.
“I think it’s a very old fashioned mindset to just assume you should shove all your food in the fridge; now I have quite a large collection of baskets on the floor filled with peaches, as well as onions and other vegetables – you can almost use them to dress the room.
“I don’t really mind spills or mess; life’s too short to worry about things like that.”
“Over the last however many months – when everyone has only been able to go to the shops for food – I’ve embraced shopping at delis, it’s turned into quite a bad habit. There’s a shop near Portabello market called Liberté Cherie which is a zero-plastic grocers, you can go in with your own glass jars and fill them up with food. I find it so enjoyable decanting things; you don’t even have to spend tons of money on storage. Kilman jars cost almost nothing, and sometimes I’ll even use old Bon Maman jam jars, the ones with gingham lids. There’s something really pleasing when everything is eventually unified in glass jars – but generally I don’t really mind spills or mess, life’s too short to worry about things like that.
“I also love Perello olive tins and you can even get amazing tuna tins with fun designs – it’s always nice to have those in the cupboard. On a more practical level, I love having really good oats, chocolate, rice and parmesan.
“I don’t over-consider anything, to me that’s what adds charm.”
“The curtain fabric in the pantry is by Jean Monro, which I actually got from a discount mill that had a lot of end-of-run fabrics. At the top of the room there’s also an old wine rack that I picked up at Kempton antique market; I bought that early on in the renovation works to incorporate in the pantry. I got the chandelier from another market a long time ago; I’d had it lying around for ages – I think it had once been in one of my pop-up shops. It felt like a juxtaposition to have it in the pantry, but I just thought “let’s try it in here!” – It almost softens the appearance of the tiled walls. My husband’s company, Blockhouse Build, made the slightly Venetian-inspired doors. I lined them with fabric so that if I’ve got guests here in the evening, I can tuck the room away.
“I’m a great believer of the idea that if you happen to come across something that you love, you will always find a home for it. I don’t over-consider anything, to me that’s what adds charm and character to a room. I think some people probably think my home and my style is bit of a mashup, but I’m just unafraid of mixing something from the Fifties with a really modern item that I could’ve bought last week from The Conran Shop. If you love something and it feels right, it will all work together in the end.”
Matilda Goad on Instagram
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