The French farmhouse kitchen almost makeover
Kitchen Design: Susan Tully // Photo credit: Laura Moss
Sometimes, a design project starts, but then it is sadly never completed. This is one of those times, but the design was still pretty cool (not to toot my own horn, but beep beep), so I thought it was worth sharing. The image above was our main inspiration image, not the finished project, which would definitely have been just as cool IRL.
Our client had purchased a French Normandy style house from the 1920s. Brief architectural history lesson: this style became popular in the 20s when soldiers from WWI returned to America and designed houses to emulate the farmhouses they’d seen in France. The main feature of this is the round turret, or pigeoniere, which is where the pigeons were kept. So, the house has a pigeoniere, a stone facade, all the good stuff, but, as you can see, the kitchen was super dated.
Like many 1920s kitchens, even those in large houses, it’s small, not very fancy, and this one was all of those things, plus having some awkward features like the refrigerator being in a separate nook and an old bricked up chimney cutting into the space.
So, besides wanting to reconfigure the layout, our client had always dreamed of two things: a white kitchen and an Aga range. Not a bad starting point! If you’re not familiar with Agas, they look very vintage, but are new and fancy and come in tons of colors.
Hello Rose stove! Hi British Racing Green! I mean not for this kitchen, but for some magical kitchen with a very bold and unafraid client! (If that’s you, send me a message! We should work together/be best friends)
First, we worked through some new floor plan options. We needed to mostly work within the existing exterior walls, but the interior walls could be changed, including the breakfast room. Here’s the floor plan of the kitchen as it was (er, I mean is now), and four options for new floor plans:
She chose option B because she liked the French doors and the larger pantry, and the fact that the hall closet remained in tact, but the refrigerator position was a little removed from the main area of the kitchen. I modeled it out, and decided that we could shift the hall closet over slightly, cutting into the powder room (not really seen in the plan), and by doing so, we could have a decent-sized pantry, French doors, and the fridge could be where it was meant to be. I was also able to make it a little longer, and could beef up the island. Nobody wants a dinky island. The floor plan basically became a hybrid of options B & C.
I showed her the new floor plan and a 3-D model sketch, because 2-D floor plans just don’t fully convey the feel of the space.
Once the space planning was decided, and confirmed, we could get into all the fun designing. After some further thought, she decided that an off-white/cream kitchen would be more aligned with the overall style of the house. I still thought we could pull off white, so I provided two mood board options.
Off-white & a bit more traditional:
White-white & a bit more modern:
She stuck with the cream look that was a little more traditional. It’s still very pretty, and she was into doing modern finishes like a zellige tile backsplash and quartz counters. Zellige tile is the answer to the question: “Can we have a cool backsplash that isn’t subway tile for the love of God please???”
Well we got to the point where all the big stuff was basically decided, but then she decided she was going to sell the house before doing any of this remodeling. Sad that this kitchen is never to be, but it was still a fun project to design, and maybe there will be a client someday who wants a pink stove.