Sofia Bune Strandh brings Scandinavian design heritage to London homes
London-based Sofia Bune Strandh, founder and CEO of the kitchen design studio Sola Kitchens, says her journey toward a career in kitchen design is a personal one. Before establishing her company, Sofia was a solicitor in search of new kitchen furniture for her apartment in London. In her mind, she had visions of the high-quality cabinetry her native Sweden is known for. Cabinetry made using traditional carpentry techniques, simple lines and effective use of storage.
After coming up empty in her search, she began looking for a company that could make her dream kitchen a reality. After finally having her kitchen installed, and seeing the stunning result, Sofia decided to give up her day job, and pursue a career in kitchen design.
I had a career as a solicitor and kitchen and design wasn’t really… I had no experience. But in 2006, I started a company and learnt everything about kitchens and designs and installations.
Today, Sola Kitchens partners with expert Scandinavian manufacturers to bring clean, functional and bespoke Scandi kitchens to homeowners across England. The company’s cabinets and fittings can be designed and built to almost any dimension, with custom-made internal fittings to create a modern aesthetic, even in non-modern homes. A Sola kitchen is texturized and made thoroughly liveable through the use of a variety of both smooth and textured materials in a single space. By combining beautiful, handled cupboards with a matte finish, built-in appliances and stone worktops, a modern, yet approachable, aesthetic is achieved.
My personal view is that you can have a very traditional house and put in a modern kitchen into it if you do it in the right way. It has to work with the property, it has to work with the feel of the room.
The Scandinavian ethos is one of reliability, solid craftsmanship and durability. But in its simplest form, the Scandinavian kitchen is all about functionality. Worktops are made of materials that are durable, yet natural and light – like wood. Form always follows function in Scandinavian design, and Sofia and her designers proudly maintain that tradition. A fair few days in the Scandinavian calendar are dominated by their darkness, so you can be sure that the Scandinavian kitchen design style focuses on a light and bright colour palate. White and pale shades of blue, greens and cream are omnipresent. In true Swedish form, a kitchen installed by Sola is one that’s meant to be used; a space where functionality tops all else.
We really like to work with wood and all other natural materials. So steel, brass, copper and also stone. We try not to over-design things. If you have beautiful materials that come through, then it’s just such a nice way of letting those materials speak for themselves.
Sofia says that kitchens should not only be beautiful and timeless, it must also be practical and work efficiently as a kitchen: “For me, the number one rule is not to over-furnish a room. To really make sure that there is enough space.”
Investing in a new kitchen can be a daunting (not to mention expensive) experience. To make the journey as pleasant as possible, Sofia and the Sola team like to guide homeowners through all the different stages, and make decisions based on individual needs. During the whole journey, from the very first design meet-up to the installation of the last handle, the process should be as simple and efficient as the style of the kitchen itself.
The best thing is when the clients come back and they absolutely love the kitchen.