When they hear “country”, some people think “basic”, “backwards” or “out of touch”; and those are the kinder terms. But in the context of kitchen cabinets, “country” refers to a warm and welcoming kitchen style that is growing in popularity.
While the exact definition of country kitchen will vary from region to region and even among designers, it is generally characterized by lots of natural light and ample counter space, resulting in a room that is both beautiful and functional. And just as kitchen cabinets play a key role in shaping their surroundings, they are also an important component when it comes to putting the “country” in country kitchens. Exactly how they do that, though, is up to you and your gifted custom designer.
It’s All Relative
Country kitchens are far from simple. At the same time, they can be the perfect way to recall a simpler era. If you have fond memories of large family meals in grandma’s kitchen – even as she got older and started cooking the vegetables until they were mush – you can harken back to that time and recreate the moments, minus the mush, with a few simple ingredients.
Start by staining the island base for a tarnished look, throw in a butcher-block countertop balanced by white kitchen cabinets, and ta-da! You have a virtual time machine that will honor those memories while leaving the mush where it belongs: In the past.
“Moo-ers” and Shakers
If you like the traditional approach to country kitchens, consider blending farmhouse and Shaker elements. Imagine furniture-style kitchen cabinets and a large farmhouse sink topped by two generous windows to maximize natural light and create an airy feel. You can almost hear your grandma calling you in for dinner as she stands at the sink, except that THIS time, it’s safe to ignore her.
Show it, don’t Stow it
These days, we view kitchen utensils the way teenagers see their parents: Good for certain purposes, but best hidden from sight when your friends arrive. Rather than running from clutter, however, country kitchens embrace it. Hanging pots and pans in plain sight rather than stashing them in kitchen cabinets gives a more personal feeling to the room and conjures up a different age when people and their places were far more open.
Take it Personally
To enhance the nostalgic feel of a country-style kitchen, try furnishing it with classic items, either from your own collection or sourced from antique stores. Salvaged kitchen cabinets or a vintage farm chair are perfect complements to a time-honored décor. Just make sure you test out that chair before you sit on it or you’ll have to salvage your ego while you’re at it.
Do it White the First Time
As our grandparents demonstrated time and again, the best approach is often the simplest one. The same principle applies to country kitchens, where a “less is more” philosophy can be highly effective, and it doesn’t get much “less” than all white. Especially in a small space, white kitchen cabinets, walls and drawers really open things up and convey a friendly, welcoming sentiment. Add wood flooring and detailing such as beadboard on your kitchen cabinets to balance the look. When you’re done, stand back and give yourself credit for taking the white approach.