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Leap of Faith

Luxury cabinetry designer extraordinaire Christopher Peacock reflects on his ascent and considers his future

Christopher Peacock

Abiding by the adage “a place for everything, and everything in its place,” Peacock’s designs always prioritize organization and order. “I really get kind of unsettled if there isn’t a place for something,” he says. “And through the design process, I may not even be necessarily conscious of that fact, but I’m just doing it anyway to try to get things where they work best, where they live best.”

It feels simplistic to call an illustrious design career a happy accident, but for Christopher Peacock, the British-born luxury cabinetry designer, that’s exactly how it played out.

“I got started in my career by accident, to be totally honest with you,” says Peacock. “I certainly wasn’t a kid who was driven by interior design—it was the last thing on my mind. I was much more interested in playing drums and trying to be a professional musician.”

But as the reality of the gig life set in, Peacock found that the glamour was fading fast. “Trying to be a professional musician, which is a loose description, meant that basically I wasn’t working,” laughs Peacock. “I was broke, and my friend’s father had a kitchen cabinet business and asked me if I wanted to drive their delivery truck on the weekends to make some extra money and help them out.”

Peacock’s weekend truck driving side hustle sparked a series of revelations, the first of which being that he inherently understood the design piece without any formal training. “I didn’t realize I had this sort of visual awareness up until that point,” he says, adding that he likely picked up this quality from his father, who managed a large construction company in London.

Christopher Peacock

Left: By mixing contemporary hues in glossy finishes with traditional cabinetry, Peacock creates a style all his own. “I’m not somebody who goes looking for inspiration,” he says. “It finds me when I travel and a lot of my inherent design likes are based upon the things that I was surrounded with growing up in the U.K. and traveling in Europe as a boy.”
Right: Peacock favors simplicity and finding the beauty in the details. “I tend to like things which are quite simple,” he says. “Decluttered; not over the top. There’s something about that that really excites me.”

“He had a really good knowledge of construction and building things, and cabinetry was kind of like practical meets design, and it was a perfect, perfect job for me because I understood both sides of it, and I found it enjoyable to meet with and talk to clients,” he says. “Before I knew it, it became a job where I wasn’t driving the delivery truck anymore, but I was actually starting to design and create designs for clients.”

Peacock’s career was blossoming as he moved from one design firm to the next, more highly regarded firm, in London, when he was approached to come to the United States on what he thought was a short-term design contract. That was 30 years ago.

“After a few years, somebody approached me privately and said ‘Look, we like you, but we don’t like the product you’re representing. Could you work for us privately and help us design something?’” recalls Peacock, who completed the design work, only to have them return and ask if he could get the designs made as well. “I said, ‘Yes, I’ll make that happen.’ Then I resigned from my post, and I was in business. That’s how it started.”

While Peacock always believed he’d strike out on his own, this leap of faith, as he calls it, was the perfect catalyst at the perfect time. “Back then, I really didn’t have much to lose because I was just married and we didn’t have any children yet, so I thought, now’s the time.”

Peacock started with a small showroom display in Greenwich, Connecticut, which he calls the “home of the company,” before expanding into Chicago with a second showroom and manufacturing his own cabinetry.

Christopher Peacock

Left: The unique knotting on the grand silver hood is an example of the hyper-focused attention to detail that Peacock has become known for—and these strikes of inspiration can come from anywhere. “We have a piece of hardware that came from an old set of luggage. I thought it would look so cool if we made that a metal cabinet handle.”
Right: Peacock believes what sets his firm apart is their unique approach. His team “doesn’t just think about designing cabinets into someone’s kitchen or dressing room,” he says. “We are really thinking about the architecture of the home, the furniture, the layout. But then we also build the cabinetry, install it ourselves and its us from beginning to end; that’s very rare these days.”

Peacock considers two projects to be his most pivotal: The Westchester home for former president Bill Clinton and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and the kitchen within Kip’s Bay Designer Showhouse in New York City, which he says is “like the Oscars” of the design business.

As for the future, Peacock laughs and says he’s just as excited and motivated today as he was thirty years ago, but there is one evolution that he’s most looking forward to. “I’m starting to hand over the daily running of the business to the next generation and becoming more of a mentor, and that really excites me,” he says.

“I see so much talent around me and people who are just raring to go. And I think it’s a really nice thing to be able to hand off, and it’s going to allow me the time to kind of do the thing I enjoy the most, which is to be creative again.”