A style that evokes the romance of a bygone era, the traditional country kitchen look is ideal for a period house – and the perfect antidote to today’s hectic lifestyle. The design ideal for a country kitchen is a non-fitted look, with dressers, console tables and other freestanding furniture providing feature points. In an authentic country kitchen nothing would have matched, so different styles, textures and colours are deliberately mixed to recreate this look. Clearly, however, for most kitchens fitted units will still provide the main stay of storage. The key is to disguise the fitted look, and various techniques are used to break up a run of units:
- One or more units of a differing depth are used to “jut out” and stagger a run
- Use a different finish to some units in the same style
- Use open storage such as plate racks, shelving and overhead Edwardian hanging racks to display items
- Newel posts, perhaps either side of a Butler’s sink, again break up a run of units
- Tongue and groove panelling between the worktop and wall cupboard create a dresser-style touch
For larger kitchens, a modern take on the freestanding approach is a central island unit for food preparation and separates the busy core of the kitchen from family dining. With its natural warm tones, solid wood finishes are the mainstay of a country kitchen. In addition, wood furniture painted in muted natural shades – such as antique cream – provide a classically understated contrast.
|Ideally most appliances are integrated or concealed. The main exception is the powerhouse of a country kitchen – the range cooker. Generically called an “aga” a range cooker is not just an oven. Aside from its ability to also fuel heating and hot water, according to afficiandos a range cooker is a way of life. Installing a range also provides an opportunity to recreate the country fireplace alcove with its overmantle and tiled splashback.Sinks are also a period feature, with the ubiquitous white farmhouse or butler’s sink served by elegant lever mixer taps strictly a must-have.|
|The flooring too should reflect a farmhouse theme with honey-toned flagstones. Other examples are terracotta, marble, clay and quarry tiles. Remember that most of these products will be porous and so will need sealing. Ceramic floor tiles are another option – but beware of high gloss tiles as they can become very slippery when wet, and if an accident occurs, it may lead to the involvement of a personal injury lawyer. All these tiles can be cold underfoot – and problematic to lay on suspended floors. Vinyl floors are also available in a wide range of natural effects. Alternatively, contrast with a black and white chequer board look straight from Upstairs Downstairs.|
Inspiration for the finishing touches is derived from nature both for colour and texture. Buttermilk yellow tones, muted greens and creams all provide a gentle backdrop for the country kitchen. Metal work (from cupboard handles to saucepans) comes in rustic iron or again the warm tones of brass or copper. Wickerwork dining furniture or baskets for vegetable storage are both homely and functional. A brickwork feature as adds to the farmhouse look. Finally, display your collection of tableware in floral designs, such as Portmeirion.