Monday, April 7, 2008

Style Guide: Country Kitchens (Part IV)

Stenciled borders, vintage pottery, and handcrafted furniture uphold the spirit of Early America in a renovated New England kitchen.

Farmhouse tradition

Built in 1757 by prominent Connecticut potter and dairy farmer Morgan Goodwin, this classic white clapboard farmhouse in West Hartford had fallen on hard times by the late 1980's, when its current homeowners came to the rescue. The couple overhauled the interior, transforming three tiny rooms into a kitchen filled with country antiques and handcrafted reproductions of 18th- and 19th-century furnishings.

With new wooden cabinetry, wide-plank pine floors, and an efficient layout featuring a central work island topped with rock maple, the kitchen once again serves as the heart of the home. Behind the stove, hand-painted tiles incorporated into the backsplash depict the property as it may have looked in its dairy-farm days.

Cheerful and Bright

The combination of pale yellow walls and ceilings and green/gray trim provide a warm and inviting atmosphere in the kitchen's dining area. To help delineate walls from ceiling and add visual interest to the room, a delicate stenciled border tops the walls. Although shutters are available for privacy, the 12-over-12 windows are simply dressed with traditional floral curtains.

The trestle table and Windsor chairs were handmade by Connecticut crafsmen Gerry Cunphy and Terry Wakeman. The sideboard to the right was built and painted by the homeowners.

A Relaxed Setting

The beauty is in the details as evidenced here by the tabletop setting. Traditional flow-blue china and Colonial Williamsburg stemware are the perfect companions for any occasion, from casual mid-morning brunch to formal late night dining.

The classic gingham check linens and bare wood table top clearly evoke a relaxed mood. Tiny pots of rosemary lend fragrance and a touch of greenery to the setting. And who can resist the mouth-watering appeal of ripe strawberries?
Table and chairs: Classics in Wood.

A Vivid Display

The late-19th-century cupboard holds a variety of well-used yellowware mixing bowls, pie plates, and custard cups. The yellowware collection, like the gray/green painted shelves of the cabinet, supports the room's overall color scheme.

On top of the cupboard, the homeowners have displayed their selection of band boxes, stacked in graduating size order. The cabinet door below offers concealed storage for additional tabletop accessories, china, serving pieces, and stemware.

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