Old world kitchens meet the 21st century

Hello, readers! It’s been pointed out to me that I haven’t posted in awhile… I’ve been mad busy with a special class in kitchen & bath design I’ve been taking! The bad news is, not a lot of posts… the good news is I now have loads of ideas for those areas of the house. I’ve been looking at a lot of kitchens, and I have to say that the ones I’m most drawn to have some old world, cottage-y, colonial elements as a wrapper with modern, sleek, 21st century kitchen tools neatly housed inside. I think I’ve pretty much got the formula down… it consists of:
a) a natural color combination of white and wood
b) stainless steel or integrated (with cabinet panels on front) appliances
c) some open shelving for (well-organized) dishes and glasses
d) farm sinks or wall-mounted sinks and faucets
e) timber beams/reclaimed wood structural elements or cabinetry
f) barn lighting, and
g) gleaming copper pots and pans (use in actual cooking optional).

Add it all up and what do you get? Kitchen perfection!

Here’s what I mean–

LOVE THIS. Timber beams and columns, reclaimed wood, a few open shelves, a HUGE throwback sink with wall-mounted faucet, barn pendant lights, and beautiful modern appliances snuggled neatly within its rustic housing. On a technical note, here the condenser for the refrigerator is inside the unit, so you’re losing some frig capacity in return for not having to look at the vent above the refrigerator.

Farmhouse flagstone and weathered wood is the perfect backdrop for a La Cornue oven range, with exposed stone as the perfect backsplash.

If this kitchen were a boy, I’d marry it. Sleek and modern work surface inside a medieval castle!

This one pretty much hits the nail on the head. Love the painted wood paneling across the ceiling, reclaimed wood as the island support, and beautiful little stainless wine cooler.

Timber ceilings, wooden cabinet fronts, a kind of modern spin on barn lights, and the black-framed windows add just the right amount of country. From Elle Decor.

A former House Beautiful kitchen of the month has timber beams, a La Cornue range, stainless steel nestled inside wood panelling, and great modern elements like a sink with 90 degree corners and a restaurant-style faucet to better get at those dirty dishes.

An irregularly shaped curved kitchen. A headache for your contractor, but WOW. I particularly like the oven, combining timber and brick with a stainless steel backsplash. I’m also becoming a fan of the shelf-above-the-cooktop. Good for visual interest and also seems practical for easy access whilst cooking.

Another House Beautiful kitchen of the month showing La Cornue cabinets and pot rack — incomparable for adding instant old-world charm. The cabinet front to the right of the sink is just a panel on top of a fully integrated dishwasher, so you order it from your appliance vendor without a front panel, and your cabinet maker attaches it along with the rest of the cabinetry.

This kitchen from Southern Living shows a stainless steel work surface right next to a rustic kitchen table with a simple wooden bench and antique-looking Mexican-style chairs.

White Corian boxes inside flat-fronted wood cabinetry give a modern kick to a rustic structure. Here the designer decided to show the refrigerator condenser above the Sub-Zero… so there’s more space inside but a visible vent. The placement of that structural column vis-a-vis the island is a little irksome though, isn’t it?

This sort of thing is the reason I subscribe to English Home. Can’t get more adorable than this little vignette, complete with cocker spaniel. Don’t know how practical those little oven doors would be when you have a 25-lb turkey but it sure is cute. I also like how the pans and lids are hung, as it’s often annoying to try to root through your lids looking for which one goes with which pot.

Why Windsor Smith is my hero. Talk about old world meets new world. Antique French chairs, open shelves, an oversized farm sink, some seriously high end appliances, and a modern, rectilinear hood. There’s a lot going on under that table and a missed opportunity for storage, but there’s so much storage elsewhere in the kitchen that I suppose they don’t need it under their island (ahhh, the luxury of space!). This was from the 2011 Veranda showhouse.

Last but certainly not least, we have Mick De Giulio’s former kitchen of the month from House Beautiful… a total stunner which is actually none other than a repurposed stable. Love the variety of work surfaces (soapstone, butcherblock, marble, and staninless… after all why should everything be the same when it’s serving different purposes?) and the way the appliances work in seamlessly with open shelves and mission-style cabinets. I like this one so much I’ll even post the detail shots:

This clever designer actually lined the glass of several cabinets with chicken wire (part of the barn vernacular) (bottom right).

Speaking of De Giulio, he actually designed House Beautiful’s famed Kitchen of the Year for 2012, featured in their most recent issue… and if you haven’t seen it yet, you have my full permission to run out to your newsstand and get it right now or, for New Yorkers, it will be open starting next week in Rockefeller Center (July 16-20). See you there!



One response to “Old world kitchens meet the 21st century

  1. I read your listing.. in the middle of remodeking our kitchen and I have check listed 5 of the items… I must be doing something right!! Yippeee!

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