Bogdana Celestyn. Country Kitchens. May 05th , 2017.
Country French kitchens are both elegant and homey, rustic yet refined. Click through these gorgeous examples to snag ideas you can apply in your own kitchen.
In their quest for livable luxury, this young family in Mandeville, Louisiana, assembled a dream team of designers to help create a home that exudes the everyday elegance that defines Country French style.
“It was important for us to use hearty pieces that could stand up to a growing family,” says designer Christina Brechtel of Bella Cucina Design, who lent her hand to the kitchen and great room with her partner Susan Brechtel. “With two young children, a new baby, and two dogs the furnishings had to be indestructible. Provincial French antiques that were already ‘beaten up’ are forgiving, and would allow any scrapes, cracks, or stains to simply add to the patina of the space.”
“Blending old and new keeps the room up-to-date and livable,” says Christina. “If we went overboard with the ‘traditional’ it would feel too contrived and museum-like.”
This yin-yang approach to design plays out in the eat-in kitchen where Christina and Susan paired contrasting finishes like polished marble, granite, and limestone together with rustic bronze cabinet hardware, wrought iron chandeliers, and hand-forged wine cellar doors. There are even contrasts in the kitchen’s monochromatic palette. By applying different concentrations of the same warm beige to the walls, ceiling, trim, and cabinetry, a streamlined look was achieved, but without the monotony of a single hue.
A custom limestone hood and marble tile backsplash crown a stainless steel professional grade range inset an arched grotto. In lieu of a breakfast room, a second island measuring 10-feet-long serves as a casual eating area as well as a visual divider between the kitchen and the great room.
Bright, Inviting Kitchen
“In the United States, there’s a tendency to Americanize what we think of as country French design, and make it busier and more colorful than it actually is,” says interior designer Linda McDougald. “But in reality, if you travel to the South of France, simplicity is what you’ll see. That’s why I like to play things way down—it allows us to be more authentic.”
McDougald’s less-is-more approach is beautifully evident in this South Carolina kitchen. Infused with worn and weathered character imported from the South of France—or convincingly approximated stateside—it’s easy to forget the house is brand new. Still, McDougald says, “We were not trying to create a period piece, or fool anyone into thinking they were in another country. Rather, this was all about using color and material to feel fresh and modern while also incorporating the owners’ love of painted French furniture and the romance it implies.”
Though McDougald describes the kitchen as “purely American” in feel, its paneled cabinet doors, marble counters, and wood ceiling marry nicely with the European sensibility of the rest of the house. Bar stools are cloaked in easy-care leather.
“I like finishes that look as though they’ve been washed out over many years of use. When the stain or color’s almost gone, that’s when I like it best,” McDougald says. “There are no polished finishes in this house. It’s all about patina."
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