One morning forty years ago, sitting at his wooden drawing board in his studio bedroom in Kensington, Johnny’s unconscious found a word that summed up his frustration at the growing spell of ‘fitted’ to describe a kitchen: ‘Unfitted’. Unfitted was the perfect antidote to what had become the orthodoxy of fitted kitchens. Johnny decided to test this out. He booked a 30 x 40mm advert in The Times newspaper:
'Bored with fitted kitchens?
If interested why not try
an Unfitted Kitchen?
Please call 937 2670 '
14 words, seven numbers and £300 produced 25 enquiries. Orders followed.
Three years later Smallbone of Devizes commissioned Johnny to further develop the Unfitted Kitchen. The resulting collections caused a buzz and influenced the kitchen landscape.
Fast forward to now. Johnny Grey Studios have just set up a new division, The Unfitted Kitchen Company, to make, sell and distribute Unfitted Kitchens. Representatives are being appointed around the UK and in the US to retail the collection locally. (A website with more information on how to buy will be published soon.)
At its heart is the idea of using freestanding furniture as the principal method for forming your kitchen. This is historically familiar, in that prior to the second world war kitchens were sourced from antique and junk shops and hand built. It is also close to the way we furnish our living spaces in other rooms. Items, household favourites and collectibles can be accommodated easily to make a kitchen more homely, so customers can be their own interior designers when they wish.
There is also perhaps something English about this idea of mixing and matching – with echoes of the interiors of both grand houses and cottages.
For more information about the Unfitted Kitchen collection please check out this podcast with Johnny speaking with Andrew Davies, editor of KBB Review.