Decorating Ideas

4 Key Elements of a Farmhouse-Style Kitchen

4 Key Elements of a Farmhouse-Style Kitchen
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The laid-back charm of farmhouse-style kitchens provides a welcome antidote to the go-go-go pace of modern life. By incorporating just one or a few hallmarks of farmhouse style, you can bring the easygoing ambience into even the most urban of abodes. Below are four key elements to consider integrating into your kitchen.

The coarse weave of the roman shade and the grain of the wooden counters add to the sink’s rustic vibe. Photo by Tara Dunne.

The coarse weave of the roman shade and the grain of the wooden counters add to the sink’s rustic vibe. Photo by Tara Dunne.

1) A butler sink

Also known as Belfast sinks (and yes, they did originate in the capital of Northern Ireland, several centuries ago), these basins became popular for their extra depth. You can easily bathe a tot or a midsize dog in one. The exposed apron of a sink made of ceramic or enamel instantly adds an old-fashioned utilitarian appeal.

Designers Jason Oliver Nixon and John Loecke of Madcap Cottage took inspiration from the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, England, for their kitchen. The Belfast sink complements the vintage lanterns and the 18th-century wood table they converted into an island. Photo by Tony Vu.

Designers Jason Oliver Nixon and John Loecke of Madcap Cottage took inspiration from the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, England, for their kitchen. The Belfast sink complements the vintage lanterns and the 18th-century wood table they converted into an island. Photo by Tony Vu.

The weathered wood table in designer James Huniford’s kitchen reiterates the texture of the wide-plank floors and provides an organic contrast to the industrial steel chairs. Photo by Lesley Unruh.

The weathered wood table in designer James Huniford’s kitchen reiterates the texture of the wide-plank floors and provides an organic contrast to the industrial steel chairs. Photo by Lesley Unruh.

2) Richly grained wood

Counters, shelves, and even tables made of of wood have become a rarity in contemporary kitchens. And while cabinets are still commonly made of wood, they’re often given a glossy paint finish that obscures the beautiful grain. In farmhouse kitchens, richly figured wood adds an integral organic warmth.

 

French farmhouse style incorporates elegant details, such as cabriole legs on a distressed wood table. Photo courtesy of Julie Neill.

French farmhouse style incorporates elegant details, such as cabriole legs on a distressed wood table. Photo courtesy of Julie Neill.

Along with butcher-block counters and stripped wood-plank walls, this kitchen has another element common to farmhouse-style kitchens: open shelving. Though these shelves are industrial steel, they don’t detract from the overall effect. Photo by Tony Vu

Along with butcher-block counters and stripped wood-plank walls, this kitchen has another element common to farmhouse-style kitchens: open shelving. Though these shelves are industrial steel, they don’t detract from the overall effect. Photo by Tony Vu

3) Open shelving

Wall cabinets did not become commonplace in kitchens until the early 20th century. Before then, freestanding furniture, such as china cabinets, and open shelving were the rule. Open shelving isn’t exclusive to farmhouse style, of course. Proponents say it can make a small kitchen look larger—and it gives you the chance to show off tableware too pretty to keep hidden.

The open wood shelving provides an earthy counterpoint to the Lacanche range, the brass-trimmed hood, and the glass-front refrigerator. Photo by Lesley Unruh.

The open wood shelving provides an earthy counterpoint to the Lacanche range, the brass-trimmed hood, and the glass-front refrigerator. Photo by Lesley Unruh.

The niche above the stove is an especially convenient spot for a wall-mounted pot rack. Photo by David Tsay.

The niche above the stove is an especially convenient spot for a wall-mounted pot rack. Photo by David Tsay.

4) A pot rack

Pot racks are proof that new doesn’t necessarily mean improved. As built-in kitchen cabinets gained popularity, pot racks—suspended from the ceiling, hanging from a wall, or freestanding—became considered déclassé. During the past few decades they’ve made a comeback, however, as people realized how much easier it is to grab a skillet from a hook than to rummage in an overcrowded cabinet for one. A simple iron or copper rack instantly imparts farmhouse style to a kitchen, especially when the pots hanging from it are cast iron or copper.

Can’t find the pot rack? It’s attached to kitchen island. Other farmhouse elements include a butler’s sink, a wood beam obscuring the range hood, and the traditional wood table, chairs, and island. Yet this kitchen is as sophisticated as it is rustic—the best of both worlds. Photo by Lesley Unruh.

Can’t find the pot rack? It’s attached to kitchen island. Other farmhouse elements include a butler’s sink, a wood beam obscuring the range hood, and the traditional wood table, chairs, and island. Yet this kitchen is as sophisticated as it is rustic—the best of both worlds. Photo by Lesley Unruh.

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