Monday, April 7, 2008

Style Guide: Country Kitchens (Part II)

The Warmth of White

Natural-fiber textiles and old painted furniture distinguish a Midwestern farmhouse kitchen.

Several years ago the owner of this Midwestern farmhouse, a longtime collector of colorful painted furniture, discovered the many shades of white. "It was as if I had had blinders on," she says. "Suddenly I became conscious of a whole new palette."

When remodeling, she and her husband selected antique painted furniture and 18th- and 19th-century collectibles to provide subtle color hues and textures. Today the room serves as a classic study in white . . . beautifully styled, artfully functional, and invitingly warm.

Subtle Hues and Textures

Although the owners spent three years transforming their Illinois kitchen into an oasis of white walls, furniture, and accessories, they realized that subtle, complementary hues and natural textures were needed to warm it up.

Collectibles Display

While the Windsor chairs around the antique hutch table are newly crafted, the cupboard that displays a collection of antique French and English conservatory pots dates from the 18th century.

A birdhouse with shingled roof and chimney creates an unusual tabletop centerpiece. On the wall above, newly made lard candles made to look old are hung from a peg rail in Shaker fashion.
Shaker peg rail: Constance Greer. Candles: Nancy Settel. Chandelier: The Seraph.

Room to Spare

In the adjacent sitting room the owners added the fireplace; the bricks are from southern Illinois, the surround and mantel were purchased at a flea market, and the fanlight hails from New England. "I always said that if I could have only one fireplace in the house, I wanted it to be in the kitchen, where I could enjoy it most," remarks the owner.

To that end they turned to the age-worn patina of antique painted furniture -- like the early-1800's cupboard at right and the old dry sink now serving as a center island. A collection of antique homespun towels and 18th- and 19th-century wood bowls and pantry boxes were also added for color and textural interest.

Topiaries and selected antiques throughout: Mary de Bhur.

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