05 March 1967: Sunday Telegraph

Room With A Viewpoint

Next month Diana Rigg is moving to a house in Swiss Cottage, London, where Thomas Hood, Augustus John and Dame Laura Knight lived (though not all at once). For the first time since she left home she'll have a kitchen custom-tailored to her taste. "All my working life it's been other people's cookers, other people's pots and pans. It's from their mistakes that I learned exactly what I wanted." The two architects involved, Geoff Barker and Mike Belton, were told that the kitchen was to reflect her own identity and not that of her TV personality, Emma Peel. Diana Rigg likes cooking and entertaining. "But," she says, "I would never trade in a good conversation for the sake of a sauce." So together the three of them worked out the sort of room where she could be a cook, a hostess and herself. The previous tenants obviously preferred art and poetry to order and food for, though the proportions of the studio are breathtaking, the cooking gallery was as narrow as a matador's hips. Diana Rigg is a rangy girl who needs plenty of space, so the first step was to remove the wall of the kitchen which divided it from another smallish one. Then the equipment was fitted and it's these elements, none of them wildly expensive, and the clever way they have been put together that make the kitchen interesting. All the equipment is electric and all the materials and products used are British. Service units, like fridges, freezers and ovens, are usually placed on the floor; here they're set in the walls above the working area. This eliminates a lot of unnecessary bending and stretching. She has had a freezer installed. "Sometimes I have time to cook and I like to store food for when I need it." The wall-oven is the new Tricity 800, and at 47 it must be the cheapest double wall-oven on the market. But it lacks certain refinements - why only one glass door? There is an independent island unit with four hobs and a long panel of Welsh slate to slide hot pans on to. The 9-inch, two-speed fan above the top cupboards should take away the steam and heat from the fittings, but this seems a bit optimistic as the heat from the hobs will be ducted into the same system. The designers have used Welsh slate for a central panel on the dining table too. Besides this table is an electricity point for percolator or hot plate. All the cupboards have press-stud fastenings that open at the touch of a hand. Three spot-lights are set above the working area but the dining table is lit by a low-level pendant on a dimmer that gives soft or strong light. The cork floor, like all the other surfaces, is treated with polyurethane to prevent staining. There are plugs for a telephone each end of the room, or it can be fixed to the wall. Finally, fabric from Heals was chosen for the window-blinds. A replica of this room, sponsored by the Electricity Council, will be on show at the Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition from Tuesday.

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