Bask in the glow of a kitchen with southern France style cues
Be honest with yourself, when you think of a “traditional” continental kitchen, you automatically conjure up images of jugs filled with garden flowers, gently weathered wooden furniture, textured surfaces, and the subtle warmth of colours like terra cotta, cream, lavender and yellow. They’re all the hallmarks of a southern French style kitchen. And, it’s ok, because we do the same thing!
Striking a balance between earthiness and sophistication, the southern French kitchen style is the hallmark of the chic, yet casual lifestyle we’re all after. But, if you’re not fortunate enough to live on the French Riviera, but want to bring that je ne sais quoi into your kitchen space, what are the must-have style cues?
If there is only one element you should incorporate in your kitchen to give it a southern French glow, make it gently distressed furniture. You can’t get the look of a well-used country kitchen if all of your furniture and cabinets are brand new! A slightly weathered freestanding larder and cabinets with a chic patina outfitted with wrought iron hardware, are big ticket ways to get this look. To achieve the same concept with less commitment, flex your crafting muscles and paint unfinished fauteuil chairs eggshell. Allow them to dry completely and then gently sand the edges for a well-used look.
Following in this vein, the use of textured surfaces is another way to bring the south of France home. A fan hood made of textured plaster or copper is a commanding feature. You can also add visual depth to walls and backsplashes with textured plaster and patterned tile. For the floor, use terra cotta or slate tiles. Sleek and modern features have no place here!
To enhance the interplay of textures further, consider layering colours throughout the kitchen. The southern French home makes use of warmed whites and the muted tones of bold colours to achieve its well-known look. If you’re stumped, get your inspiration from Mother Nature! Olive, sage, peony, periwinkle, redwood, saffron and apricot, are all warm colour winners.
Finally, find practical uses for decorative elements, because you will be hard pressed to find an anything in a French kitchen that doesn’t have one. Clay platters that rest in china cabinets and porcelain plates that hang on walls aren’t just for looking at. They’ll be used for serving your next dinner party. Wrought iron candles holders and wicker baskets are not dust traps. They make everyday dinners special and provide storage for tomatoes fresh from your garden. This unpretentious approach to using what are often considered frivolous items pairs best with open shelving.
And finally, to achieve the southern French kitchen style, don’t forget to include pieces that have been given to you by family and friends. The warmth of the French country kitchen doesn’t just come from the sun that warms the lush rolling valleys and weathered country vineyards, but from the generations who called it home beforehand.