Many homes today feature so-called country kitchens. But these are mostly just regular American kitchens with distressed cabinetry and faux rustic finishes. If you want a real country kitchen, like you'd find in a European cottage or even a larger manor home, read on. Here are six elements you need to create the real thing.
The key to making your authentic country kitchen feel homey is a fireplace. Ideally, this should be built into the corner in whitewashed plaster or made of local stone. It should look like it's an integral part of the home.
A fireplace in the kitchen can do more than just keep you warm on a chilly day. You can use it to cook or to heat up bed warmers to make your linens toasty before you hit the sack.
No laminate or modern flooring in this kitchen. The rougher the better when it comes to authenticity. A floor made of brick, ceramic tile or old barn boards is easy to keep swept clean, and it doesn't matter if it takes a ding or two.
Electric lighting is minimal and unobtrusive in true country kitchens. Try to find wall sconces and overhead rustic chandeliers to minimize the intrusion of electricity. Instead, opt for natural candlelight.
Wall sconces can also hold candles, and strategically placed lanterns offer a cozy glow and enough lighting to complete most kitchen tasks.
While it seems like most people drool over the newest and biggest kitchen appliances, for real authenticity, try using older, mismatched (gasp!) appliances enameled in bright hues. A gas stove with large hobs would be perfect and can still be picked up in working condition from antique stores and renovation dealers.
Refrigerators in European country kitchens are much smaller than American ones. This is because people there tend to shop only for a day or two at a time and user fresher ingredients and few frozen foods. Under-the-counter models are still in use there; you can have your counters modified to fit one underneath.
Your sink should be old, too. Try to find a reclaimed slop sink from an old farmhouse. These are generally wider and deeper than typical modern sinks, but they are great for accommodating large pans and washing big game birds (think: Thanksgiving turkey).
Do away with those cabinet doors (and all the unneeded stuff you're hiding behind them), and go with open shelving in your country kitchen. Line the shelves with checkered paper or paint them a contrasting bright color to make your glassware and china stand out.
No place to put all your pots and pans? Hang a pot rack over a rustic table in the center of the kitchen, and you'll have a roomy workspace with all your cookware within arm's reach.
To make your country kitchen truly authentic, accessorize it with items you'll really use there:
- ropes of garlic bulbs
- strings of chili peppers
- hanging dried herbs
- baskets of bread and firewood
- ceramic bowls of produce
Changing your kitchen for a more truly rustic one may not be trendy, but it's actually a home improvement that can benefit you in all kinds of ways. With less storage for processed food, you'll eat healthier. With a more inviting atmosphere, your family may hang out together and actually talk instead of fall under the hypnotic sway of the television.
You may find your friends and neighbors congregating in your kitchen too. Before you know it, you'll be the center of your block's social life, so stock up on that firewood, and add a chestnut roaster to the hearth for a delicious impromptu snack. For more help, contact a home improvement company for help.