Rustic materials steal the show in this month’s review of a beautiful European farmhouse kitchen. We love the way the reclaimed stone, terracotta tile, and furniture style cabinetry all work together to give this space it’s rustic charm. Follow along as we break down what makes this European style farmhouse kitchen so special, and show you ways to get the look in your own home.
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Kitchen Cabinets & Counter Tops
What struck me most about this room was the beautiful furniture-like cabinetry. We particularly love the curved drawer fronts, and recessed panels.
Do you see the large piece at the far end, disguised as an armoire? I’m pretty sure it’s the refrigerator! Sneaky, eh? Don’t you just love the barley twist trim, recessed door panels, and faux drawers? It’s exquisite! On either side of the refrigerator unit are two tall pantry doors. The height on the cabinets is staggered to add interest to that end of the kitchen, and the added side benefit of providing nooks for decorating.
Custom Cooktop / Stove Area
The builder, GDC Construction of La Jolla, CA notes that this kitchen was built around the artisanal La Cornue cooktop. It’s no wonder, isn’t it dreamy? The two toned brushed steel and brass unit is the crown jewel of the space.
Equally impressive is the range hood, supported by curvaceous corbels, and that beautiful Arabesque shaped back-splash tile. Inside the enclosure appears to be a rough hewn horizontal brick in a running bond pattern.
The counter tops are a walnut butcher block, in lovely contrast to the creamy glazed cabinets and reclaimed gray stone walls. That stone, reclaimed from France! Don’t you just love the eyebrow arch above the stove enclosure?
The main of the kitchen’s storage is in the side wall with lower and upper cabinetry with decorative windowpane display areas. The cabinets reach all the way to the ceiling, and are topped off with a decorative crown molding. Don’t you love the variation between cabinet door types? It keeps the wall from looking too “blocky” and closed off. A windowpane mirror above the apron front farmhouse sink echoes the cabinet doors, adding the illusion of a pass-through. This is a great trick for sink areas that don’t have a window!
The warm wood tones down the center of the kitchen are a wonderful contrast to the cream colored cabinets around the perimeter. The island is home to a creamy marble top with gently curved ends to mirror the shape of the furniture-like drawers below. A small prep sink makes the island a practical and beautiful work space.
The floor is covered in rectangular, terracotta tiles laid in a 90 degree herringbone pattern - one of my favorites!
Old World Lighting
Illuminating this kitchen from above are four rows of strategically placed recessed can lights. These are great for casting bright light down into the work areas. For additional task lighting, under-cabinet lights illuminate the stove and sink spaces where it’s needed most. The two bronze finish arch top lanterns hanging above the island are mainly decorative, but contribute to the overall ambiance of the room.
From this far angle, we get a peak at a slender, wooden pantry door with barn style hinges, and a couple of rough hewn wood ceiling beams. Another counter top, this time in green slate, mimics the curved end on the island.
The impressive built-in features of this kitchen do most of the talking. Decorative accessories are minimal, limited to a few Italian ceramic majolica, some small potted plants, and an iron stand. The combination of these simple items adds just enough color and texture to soften the room without cluttering up the work areas.
This color palette is dominated by the natural elements of:
- stone (gray walls & ivory marble tops)
- clay (terracotta tile floors)
- wood (walnut or chestnut stains and ivory glaze on cabinets)
- metal (rust brown or black lighting fixtures, cabinet pulls, and etagere).
Top 6 Decorating Ideas for a European Style Kitchen
Do you like the look of this dreamy European farmhouse kitchen? Bring it home! Here’s our top five design “hacks” to get this look in your kitchen.
1. Decorate with Furniture
While at first it may seem a little strange to pull living room and bedroom style features into your kitchen space, don’t worry. It’s exactly what gives this European kitchen it’s romantic charm. Here’s how to decorate your kitchen with furniture:
Re-purpose actual furniture pieces into kitchen fixtures.
Do you have a dresser you can use as storage, or that would make an excellent island? Switch out the top with stone. Or, get creative and use a reconfigured armoire for pantry items or appliances. You can custom order refrigerator panels like the ones in the inspiration photo to make your fridge look a little less so.
Embellish your cabinets with decorative trim.
Old world style posts, columns, corbels, crown molding and trim can completely transform the look of your kitchen, and are relatively easy to install.
Switch out your cabinet door panels.
Use recessed or raised panels to add dimension, and strategically switch out a corner or end unit for a windowpane display door.
Add furniture style legs, feet or skirt panels to the bottoms of your cabinets or island.
Bun feet, barley twist legs, or cabriole style furniture legs look great in the kitchen. Similarly, give your cabinets some added attitude by adding valances or crown molding to the tops.
Replace your cabinet hardware.
This is one of the least expensive, easiest ways to change the look of your cabinets. Use cabinet door, drawer, and appliance pulls, backplates, knobs, or escutcheons reminiscent of what you would see on furniture.
2. Mix and Match Cabinet / Counter Top Styles.
Variety is the spice of life. Avoid monotony in your kitchen by varying finishes, materials, and if you can, cabinet heights.
Two Cabinet Colors or Finishes
To get the look of this European farmhouse kitchen, you’ll need two shades of cabinets: a main color, and a show stopping accent color. Our inspiration kitchen has an ivory base color with an umber glaze. In contrast, the island is in a walnut stain.
If you don’t have an island, you could showcase a special farmhouse sink, or fantastic stovetop like the one in our inspiration picture.
Not in love with your kitchen cabinets? Here are some tips for changing them to re-ignite that kitchen love:
Paint or re-stain your cabinets.
If new cabinets are not in your future, new paint is the way to go. Check out this DIY tutorial on "How to Paint Your Cabinets Without Stripping or Sanding". Woohoo!
Vary Your Cabinet Heights
One trick for adding interest to your kitchen is to vary the heights of your cabinets. See how the refrigerator in the photo goes to the ceiling and the adjacent units drop down a bit? That’s a designer secret. If you have space above your cabinets, you can bump up the height on one or two areas you would like to accentuate. It will make your cabinets look custom designed, and spectacular.
Two Different Counter Top Styles
As you can see in our inspiration photo, cabinet finishes are not the only thing to mix and match in a kitchen. By using two complimentary styles on your counter tops, you create a focal point out of an island or range area.
Creamy ivory marble tops the far counter and island, but walnut butcher block is used around the stove area. The wood tops tie everything together, echoing the wood tones on the island base, refrigerator panels, ceiling beams and pantry door.
3. Anchor Your Kitchen with Stone
A main stylistic feature of the Tuscan design style is the use of stone accents. There are many ways to get the look of the stone accent wall in the inspiration photo based on your budget.
The ones you see in the photo are reclaimed from France. That’s a real talking point for entertaining, but if it’s not in your budget or design plan, consider alternative materials.
Available in many sizes, shapes, and colors, faux stone looks like the real thing, is easier to install due to it’s lighter weight, and is less expensive. We recommend the faux stone products from Barron Designs.
Stone Wall Coverings or Paint
If real or faux stone is outside your budget, try stone-look wall paper or stone shaped stencils. Get creative!
4. Decorate with Wrought Iron Light Fixtures & Accents
The carriage style light fixtures over the island are a main focal point in this room. Choose something romantic without being overly dramatic, which suits the scale of your room and the space where you are hanging them. Those lights look just right over that giant island, in that large kitchen. As a general rule, large pendants hanging over an island like these should be roughly 1/3 the width of the table or island below.
Echoing the lights is an iron style etagere beside the stovetop, and iron look pulls on the cabinets. To get that dresser drawer look on cabinets, use an ornate metal backplate with a separate central knob or a one piece unit in a similar style.
5. Install a Custom Range Hood
Our inspiration kitchen would not be the same without the dramatic and beautiful custom range hood over the stove top. Fantastic range hoods like this one are available in pre-made kits of wood or cast stone, or you can even build one out of drywall and trim it out with some crown molding and corbels. Of all the things you could do in your kitchen, you might want to put this at the top of the list.
6. Decorate with Tuscan Style Accessories
For an authentic European look, decorate with authentic, regional ceramic art. Italian ceramic majolica plates, pitchers, and platters are perfect for adding a splash of color to your kitchen counter tops, nooks and niches. Not only are they beautiful to display, they serve double duty as storage and serving pieces for entertaining. If you love Italy like we do, you'll want to start a collection. Every time I see one of my ceramic pieces I smile.
Terracotta pots with real or faux plants add a soft touch to rooms dominated by hard stone surfaces. Use sparingly, in areas that make the most impact.
Need help decorating your home?
News flash! You don’t have to be a professional designer to decorate your own rooms. Let us help you!
The “Room Designer in You”, is an easy to use home decor system that guides you step by step through the design process. Have fun sprucing up your rooms in the style you love, so you can get on to enjoying your life at home.
Tuscan Kitchen Decor (on Partner Sites): 1. Faux Wood Ceiling Beams | 2. Decorative Wood Range Hood | 3. Arch Top Lantern | 4. Scroll Corbel | 5. Retractable Pot Filler | 6. Floreale Italian Ceramic Platter | 7. Ball Shaped Leaf Topiary | 8. Richelieu Cabinet Knob Hardware | 9. Tuscan Island w/ Butcher Block | 10. Faux Limestone Field Panels | 11. Tiered Wire Basket (Flat Back)
How about you? Have a favorite European farmhouse decorating item you love? Share it with us in the comments below. We'd love to hear from you!