Best tips you’ll ever need: French Provincial Kitchen
The South of France has a climate very similar to ours in Australia. It makes sense to draw our inspiration from there.
Picture yourself sitting there, in a vineyard cellar door, sipping wine from rustic old oak barrels. The view is of the gentle hills and valleys of rural France. You look around you and everything is a little worn out, there’s rust and dust, but it all adds to the charm. That’s country living, province style.
We love this style because it infuses our home with warmth and character. It’s a nice balance between chic and earthy. It embraces cherished objects, handed down for generations. Giving them a new life because you can mix them in with new objects quite harmoniously.
The french have a great sense of style and sophistication. Yet the style is very sincere and it satisfies the soul.
I’m going to give you some great tips on how to create the look in your kitchen. You could also mix some of these ideas into a more contemporary setting and make it your own.
This is how you recognise the style when you see a traditional looking kitchen and you’re not sure if it’s Hamptons style, Classic English style, or something else that's similar. It will have these specific aspects:
> Farmhouse meets French manor.
> Slightly ornate, with French royalty Baroque influences.
> Strong country cottage or farmhouse feel with rustic elements.
Keep these keywords in the back of your mind when you’re designing or making selections for your kitchen. It will keep you on the right track.
> natural, rustic, relaxed, effortless, and chic
Definitely use a profile design on the cupboard doors. The style is finer, with more intricate detail than usual. It should have cornices and mouldings influenced by the Baroque and Rococo era. There are carvings and elegant sinuous curves. You could also include some antique furniture, such as a big old armoire.
Louis XV style painted armoire | French antique Rococo armoire c.1880small | French Provincial Dresser detail | door detail in the palace of Versailles | blue French marriage armoire | French Provincial paint technique | Versailles. Marie Antoinette. French Rococo. Wall Art | La Joie Provincial Home Living Signature Collection. Display Cupboard & Buffet | birdsnest handle, Hettich Valentia | French Provincial drawer pulls | kitchen by Karr Bick Kitchen & Bath
White marble or black granite with a butlers sink. You could also have solid timber surfaces.
Tiles that provide visual depth, nothing minimalist
Hand made blue and white tiles for the splashback, a French classic.
Modern small appliances are kept out of site, it will spoil the look. I love this powder blue cooker with the copper pot and rustic chopping board.
Traditionally the colours used are white with pale buttery yellow and blue accents. But do what you’ll enjoy, however you must keep the colour palette simple and neutral. If you want to use something bright or deep, that’s fine but soften it a little. It must have a gentleness about it.
Be inspired by colours in the landscape. Such as dusty sages, lavender, rose, peony pink, sky blue, sunny yellow.
White is always a good fallback choice but keep it warm, not stark. Use white that has an undertone of brown, yellow, or warm grey.
USE TEXTURED MATERIALS
This is key to creating the French Provincial style. Use some distressed wood, slightly peeling paint on furniture, small flaws on pieces that imply a lived in look. It shows ease and practical living. Avoid the polished look and accept the beauty of imperfect textures.
Display objects with a few dings and scuffs. Wrought iron, copper, rusted metal, old ceramic dishes, wire baskets, old urns, these are all great things to incorporate
Think organic textures for the materials, hand weaved baskets, linen table cloths, anything that adds rustic charm.
Natural wood, wide planked or parquetry. Flagstone using slate or limestone, earthenware terracotta.
A Parisian chandelier would look lovely if you had the ceiling height to suit it. An exposed timber ceiling or ornate ceiling plasterwork wouldn’t go astray. Please be practical as far as lighting goes in the kitchen. It’s very important that you can see what you’re doing whilst cooking up a storm, like Julia Child!
WINDOW TREATMENTS & UPHOLSTERY
Use decorative floral and lace but don’t be too formal. Toile print is so French country. It looks like a painted canvas, using only one colour. You could mix it up with gingham, stripes, florals and solids. Add texture with linen and tapestry.
Toile de jouy fabric on a French reproduction style chair | Better Homes and Gardens | linen roman blind, printed | French farmhouse fabric
Add an element of fun with curious or unique objects. Whimsical ornaments, artwork or photography. Things found in flea markets, sculptures, mirrors, silverware, brick-a-brack. Layer them throughout, keeping them miss-matched and looking worn in. Display roosters and farm animals, but please use restraint!
The accessories shouldn’t all be purely decorative, they should be useful. Have some open shelving with plates, jars and jugs that can be pulled down and used easily. Hang utensils on the wall and copper pots and pans from hooks. Baskets can be full of linen or produce from the garden.
> Use a mixture of rough and refined items
> group objects of various textures in surprising ways to create curiosity and warmth
> grab some local flowers from the markets - or your own garden if you have it.
> Use lavender scented hand soap.
ADD SOME FRENCH PROVINCIAL CHARM TO YOUR KITCHEN
The French are the masters of classic contemporary style in their homes. They use antique furniture and homewares for styling, and mix the old world elegance with contemporary design. You could do this too.
Now that you know the rules, feel free to bend them a little to suit your own home. Start today by simply bringing some fresh flowers into the house. Here's an example of a modern setting with a dash of French Provincial charm.
For more inspiration check out my Pinterest board, French Provincial Kitchens.