Botanic Bleu Market

French Country Kitchen

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Has your favorite style and decorating look 
changed over time? 
Were you once a pure traditionalist who 
became a shabby chic? 

For me, I've gone from American Country to
French Country.

The change did not happen overnight.
It took years.

Here's how my breakfast room looks now in 2013.

French country table, a French side chair 
with blue and white striped upholstery, 
fleur-de-lis adorned with scalloped-edged shelves metal plant stand, 
and dried authentic French Provence lavender in the blue and white crock. 

Take a look at the same space in the late 1980s 
when we first built our house. 

Back then the chairs surrounded my grandmother's 
dilapidated round oak pedestal table.
The tablecloth covered the badly damaged table. 

The other end of the kitchen was so dark. 
A carpenter custom built the solid pine cabinets and 
finished them with a clear sealer when the house was built.  
One of the first accessories with a French country look in my house was 
the folding wooden dish drainer rack that 
has been replaced twice over the years. 
Still love that design...  

With a gulp and a leap, I had my kitchen cabinets painted WHITE, and
replaced the first black appliances with white ones about six years ago. 
The dishwasher was the last black appliance replaced 
with a white one last year. 
Boy, those InSinkErator dishwashers were built to last a L-O-N-G time.

The AFTER view in 2013.

The house is post and beam construction, reminiscent of the 
wonderful barns in the northeast.  
Sawmill River Lumber Company located in western Massachusetts cut all 
the original wood for our house and shipped it to us on a flatbed truck. 
The posts and beams are structural, not just for looks. 
We left the ceiling and beams their unfinished natural color 
that has mellowed over the years. 

Oh so French to have natural beams! 

We added bead board around the island, on the wall behind the refrigerator, 
on the ceiling above the sink area, 
and on the walls around the sink.  
One of my favorite things we added are the 
curved wooden supports for the island overhang. 

The entire room is so much brighter. 

French-inspired designs keep me happy while washing dishes. 

The curved double-ogee edged white sink...
The blue Eiffel Tower clock...
The white ceramic with fleur-de-lis message board... 
The three bleu flower pots...
The sculpted ivy topiary...  
(oh so French to sculpt plants)

Using my skills as a former math teacher (geometry, trig, calculus, etc...), 
I drew the kitchen layout on graph paper when we built the house. 
Measured distances between each work area carefully 
for the tried-and-true triangle design pattern 
for the sink, stove, and refrigerator... 

The island is six-sided with an angled section so that the stovetop 
and the corner sink are back-to-back to one another.
(Trig came in handy here figuring the angles and lengths.
Our previous house had a galley kitchen 
with the stove and sink back-to-back. 
I discovered I like this layout for ease in cooking. 
I'm all for anything that makes cooking easier! 

The white limestone wall with a shelf is the back of the living room fireplace.
Love this wall...

 The open vertical spaces beneath the stovetop hold cutting boards, 
cooling racks, cookie sheets, and paper shopping bags.

The single most-loved part of my kitchen is 
the ceiling pine pot rack above the island. 
My husband built it for me as a Christmas present 
our very first Christmas in our house. 
He made it from the extra wood that the sawmill sent 
to build our house. 

Bifold doors close to hide the contents of the shelves and counter behind them. 

I like seeing the dishes so I leave the bifold doors open almost all the time. 

The island has three large drawers on the side opposite the bar stools. 
This is the only time you will see these drawers open.  
I just reorganized the top two drawers this week. 
Long over due! 
The bottom drawer is still a mess so it's not open. 
Let's see how long they stay this organized.  

Have you been wondering about that opening over the sink?  
The opening looks into the stairwell over the stairway landing. 
This gives me a view from the sink to the outside 
front entry area. 

The most important function, however, is the opening 
provides cross-ventilation and a breeze when we 
open the stairwell window and the sunspace windows. 

Kids love this opening!  
As soon as they discover it, they run onto 
the stair landing and peer into the kitchen, 
waving, talking, smiling, laughing, giggling. 

Oh, yes, the cats love it, too.  
They love climbing through it into the sink. 
Bad kitties!

Little touches of French design have been added over the years. 
French blue pots hold flowers, eggs, and a bunny.
The small white fleur-de-lis and gold crown are place card holders that
I use for signs to identify unsweet tea, apple cider, hazelnut coffee... 
The white fleur-de-lis board is great for greetings...
Joyeux Noël, Happy Birthday, Happy Mother's Day, 
Good Luck at Bridge
The little butterfly plant stake was found in a home decor  
store in the heart of Paris. 

The last lingering touch of pure American Country is 
the wallpaper border along the top of the cabinets. 

There are no plans anytime soon to replace it.  
The pink, mauve, purple colored saltbox houses and alphabet  
remind me of the house's roots and my roots. 
This post and beam house is a saltbox in style. 
The alphabet is a reminder 
of my chosen profession, education. 

I will continue to add French Country, 
but my roots will always be American Country.