Martin and Shirlie Kemp's contemporary country utility room is 'refined elegance' at its finest and so easy to recreate

Martin and Shirlie Kemp's utility room has bags of traditional charm and their eye for detail shines through in their 'carefully placed' accessories

Shirlie Holliman and Martin Kemp attend a special screening and Q&A for 'WHAM!' at The Ham Yard Hotel on June 21, 2023
(Image credit: Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images for Netflix)

Martin and Shirlie Kemp’s contemporary country utility room is "refined elegance" at its finest and it’s so easy to recreate a similar look in your home.

When it comes to the key kitchen trends of 2024 so many of them can also be applied to your utility room, including statement lighting and natural influences. Having a place where laundry and other work can be done away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of your home is something many of us dream of and for Martin and Shirlie Kemp this is a reality. The Spandau Ballet musician and Pepsi & Shirlie singer have shared so many glimpses inside their gorgeous Hertfordshire house over on their Instagram home account which is managed by Shirlie. 

The couple have been renovating their Victorian property and the utility room is one space that is now finished to perfection. Martin and Shirlie Kemp’s utility room took centre stage in a social media post back in April where it had been styled for spring, complete with flower-filled vases and plenty of other decorative items.

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The same principles apply in a utility room as when you organise a kitchen and the white-painted wooden cupboards provided plenty of storage. On top of the matching white marble worktop, however, the couple clearly love adding countryside charm with home accessories. They’ve brought a sense of the outdoors indoors with their unpainted wooden shelves and echoed this in the frames of the various paintings they’ve got on display.

Each of the shelves is filled with ornaments which create a cosy, rustic feel and according to Woman&Home’s Digital Lifestyle Editor, Tamara Kelly, this room is the epitome of "contemporary country style".

"This utility room design is a dreamy vision of contemporary country style with a ceramic butler sink sunk into the very pale grey cabinets topped with a durable marble countertop," Tamara explained. "The country charm is then echoed through the thoughtfully placed accessories including the tiered cake stand, soup tureen and Delft-style floral vases filled with delicate pink roses."

The roses are likely from Martin and Shirlie’s own garden as they’re known for their passion for gardening and have also shared plenty of floral snaps on their home Instagram account. The pink adds a splash of colour that brightens up the room and Tamara believes that the framed artwork adds more traditionalism to the space.

She said, "The ornate picture frames add a vintage touch, that feels in keeping with the more traditional look - the whole set-up is a masterpiece in refined elegance. Personally, I might be wary of the frames positioned that closely behind the sink, it looks lovely but I'm not sure how practical that is in reality - it's perhaps a water-damage scenario waiting to happen."

Whether or not you display pictures so close to the sink like them, Martin and Shirlie clearly have an eye for the details and their utility room is full of them. They’re not afraid to switch things up either and before their recent spring refresh, they had a lot more natural wooden accents.

In January they had a set of wooden serving boards on display as well as woven baskets on the shelves. Illuminated in the light from the pendant lights, they gave a rustic feel to Martin and Shirlie Kemp’s utility room and provided handy extra storage if needed.

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!