English Rose-vintage-style kitchen cabinets from John Lewis of Hungerford

red-white-vintage-style-kitchen-english-rose-john-lewisSince I first wrote about the English Rose-style wood kitchen cabinets made by John Lewis of Hungerford in the wee early days of the blog — 2008, there has been an explosion of interest in midcentury interior design. Online marketing has improved greatly, too. After yesterday’s story about Ondrea and James’ new kitchen using vintage aluminium English Rose cabinets, I went back to check for any updates to the John Lewis of Hungerford page and indeed, found several gorgeous new examples. Their PR team gave me permission to grab them for the blog, so here’s a look at some recent projects by the company. It’s interesting to see some of the contemporary design elements used — while at the same time, it’s undeniable that the underlying retro English Rose vibe is calling the shots. All those chrome recessed pulls!


creme-de-la-creme-john-lewis-of-hungerfordDigging into the website, I see these cabinets were introduced in 2005. While they have the look of vintage English Roses, I count them as an all-new brand since they were “inspired by” and are not marketed as reproductions per se.

And UPDATE: Get this: These are NOT metal. According to the PR team:

The Creme de la Creme range is made from specialist moisture resistant mediate board, with hard wood frames and European oak drawer boxes.

So: They come “off” our Encyclopedia of metal kitchen cabinet brands! Shows why a journalist (errr: me) cannot assume anything! I’m glad I finally asked!

But: Does show you can get the look of vintage metal kitchen cabinets using wood or MDF or etc.


These beauties are not likely to come inexpensively. From the website, it sounds like they are made-to-order.


For more information on Creme de la Creme kitchen cabinets from John Lewis of Hungerford:

CategoriesSteel kitchens
  1. Melissa Kaan says:

    I wonder if any enterprising cabinet makers in the U.S. would take these on! Since they are not made of metal but rather wood – I don’t see why they couldn’t be recreated… I love those handles – even just having that aspect on a cabinet would provide such character.

  2. Pat in PA says:

    If anyone has been watching PBS’s “Call the Midwife” (1950’s London), you may have noticed, I believe, two different sets of these beautiful cabinets–one set at the Nonnatus House where the nuns and midwives live and one set at the clinic where they work. I was looking at some photos from the show a few months ago, and noticed these cabinets, and also on one episode was able to pause the picture and admire them. I could not quite tell what the handles looked like, so I am glad that you have posted this info to get a better look at the details. They are quite lovely!

    1. Amy says:

      I love the show (I’m a nurse) – in fact my husband and I love the British shows. I never noticed the cabinets (too busy wiping tears from my eyes?) – but I’ll look for them the next time I watch the show. You are very observant!

  3. ineffablespace says:

    The English Rose and John Lewis cabinets don’t look particularly American and I think they may look a bit out of place in an American house while they look perfectly at home in an English House.

    I think that is similar with some Italian and German cabinets as well. They look good in certain types of modernist American houses, but they often look perfectly at home in much older or traditional Italian and German houses.

    A minimalist Boffi kitchen may look great in an old palazzo converted into apartments, or even in a really rustic very old Italian house, but it can be a difficult fit in an older “traditional” American house, particularly one of normally modest size. Likewise, since “American” kitchens have become more popular overseas, I think they look somewhat out of place in a European house.

    It has to do with the overall ages of the houses, the contrast between the architecture and the kitchen (and to some extent high contrast is better than not enough contrast) and the differences between American and European aesthetics.

    1. pam kueber says:

      I could see the English Roses in a Tudor or other Romantic Revival house or a 1930s or 1940s cottage in the U.S…. they have that deco feel to me.

      1. TraceyC says:

        Oh yes…I agree about the Art Deco or even an Art Moderne(sp?) feel in a Tudor or even an Art Deco house or cottage.
        I like the curves. I don’t find much on Art Deco kitchens in modest homes. I think the Depression hindered the advancement of that type of style…no?

  4. Emma says:

    I live in Ireland, and checked out the prices of these a few years back. They started at £25,000 (about $28,000 now), so were too rich for my blood, but this style is what I want in my dream kitchen!

    My next option is to get the ferry to Bristol, and go to Source Antiques, who refurbish the original English Rose cabinets. I’m looking into that option now.

  5. cathie says:

    These are really lovely but of course I don’t think we can get them over here. I just love those curbed drawers. Its too bad that Bertolini’s plans to move into the North American market seem to be dead in the water, because that would have been a good alternative.

    1. pam kueber says:

      Must be soooooo expensive.

      Remember, Viking tried to revive St. Charles a few years ago, but then ended the effort. Must have lost a fortune on the enterprise.

      1. Jay says:

        Yes, I think the mass market in the US for such a product no longer exists. Even the very high end German and Italian lines (the names aren’t coming to me) have a tiny niche market in the US.

        1. ineffablespace says:

          I think Viking company virtually ignored the St. Charles line once they acquired it. If they lost money it’s because they didn’t spend anything promoting it. You had to know it existed and look for it, and then when you found the site it wasn’t particularly informative.

          1. pam kueber says:

            I’m don’t know that we have enough info to say why it failed. My sense was that these products were being marketed through high-end retailers… it was not a mass market. And unlike ranges or fridges, cabinets require an enormous amount of 1:1 with the customer. I can’t imagine the nightmare of trying to launch something like this.

            1. ineffablespace says:

              I agree to some extent, especially about the niche, but in the 21st century marketing is “direct to the consumer” even it it is not necessarily available directly by the consumer. (Look at prescription pharmaceutical commercials and “ask your Doctor about___” )

              SubZero, Gaggenau, and other luxury brands don’t even allow open pricing on internet sales sites, and luxury fabrics and furniture brands are often “To the Trade” but it does not stop them from advertising heavily in consumer magazines and on TV.
              SubZero is not waiting for the designer or retailer to suggest a $10,000 refrigerator–they are convincing the consumer to ask for it by name.

              1. pam kueber says:

                Point taken. I’m going to guess they must have had some advertising in high end shelter magazines, though….

                My guess is that they were overwhelmed by the complexity of managing bespoke orders, production, delivery, etc. So much can go wrong in the production of custom kitchens… so much more complex than cranking out stoves, fridges etc.

                When they made their closing-down announcement, there was no useful information to figure out the why and wherefore, so it’s all speculation…. I think they are a privately held company, not sure, and if so, they don’t need to say… Hey, they get props from me for trying! I think their timing was quite unlucky too — launching right before the Great Recession. That cannot have helped.

                1. ineffablespace says:

                  The company still exists as “St. Charles of New York”, even smaller, based in Manhattan, and for a clientele that is probably primarily based in Manhattan with houses in various locations.

                  If Viking did any St. Charles advertising to any extent in Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, Interior Design (trade), or Metropolitan Home (defunct), I wasn’t aware of it, although they *did* emphasize on the St. Charles site that there were Viking Appliances To Match. I think Viking’s primary focus was Viking 🙂

                  1. pam kueber says:

                    It’s my understanding that Viking sold the St. Charles name to St. Charles of New York, but that the new entity is a designer — no more cabinets. But looking at their website, I am not positive. I will check.

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