The first Blog entry about my interior design work at Le Mas des Poiriers focused on the construction work and its progress. In this second post, I’m getting more in-depth into the design and inspiration for the kitchen of the Mas. In this 18th Century French farmhouse’s renovation, it was important to create a wonderful gourmet kitchen perfect for family gatherings as well as large catered events.
Our client had a clear design inspiration for the house – she wanted soft French blues and lovely antiques throughout the creamy plaster-walled interiors with added color in classic French fabrics.
Of the local Provencal interior inspirations we gathered for the house, the cellar kitchen of the Hotel La Mirande in Avignon, France was a defining one: it has the same inviting atmosphere we were seeking for Le Mas des Poiriers’ kitchen. In particular, my client loved the large center island pictured above. The casual, intimate feeling with the hooded stove at the end and adjacent open shelves was very appealing. Getting this same charm and country sensibility, while translating the proportions for a larger kitchen, was important.
Having collaborated with Debbie Blumencranz previously to design the kitchen cabinetry in our Mountain Ski Retreat, we knew she’d be a great addition to the project. She coordinated the cabinetry details to ensure the local millworker, Francois Reynier, produced the cabinets with the functionality and construction to which our client is accustomed. Francois’ cabinet shop did the original construction of the La Mirande kitchen, and he understood the look we wanted to emulate.
For me, getting the right balance of materials and details was tricky, but it all worked out to give the right blend of French Country charm with modern conveniences.
My quick sketch for the stone vendor of the custom limestone sink and side dish drying racks to be flush fitted into the reclaimed oak wood island. This design allowed us to get a sink in the large island, but also keep the water contained to a durable surface to protect the wood finish long term.
The anchor of the kitchen is the stove, centered on the back wall under a large limestone hood. This is aligned with the large wood island visible from the adjacent breakfast and family areas. We wanted this wall to pop and relate to the rest of the decor. To contrast the soft Farrow & Ball Light Blue cabinets, I chose the bold color of Burgundy for the La Cornue Grand Palais range. This color compliments the classic Pierre Frey fabrics in the adjacent breakfast room and works nicely with the creamy stone counters and floors. The dishwashers and refrigerator are hidden behind custom wood cabinetry to maintain the authentic country look.
The overall space is light and neutral with its antique oak wood island and limestone counter, contrasting the pale blues of the cabinets and counter stools. Iron details in the hardware and custom pot rack compliment the copper pots and antique decorative fixtures from London. In an effort to make the large gourmet kitchen feel warm and inviting, we carefully added layers of decorative elements. Careful finishing touches like the painted blue counter stools, collection of copper pots, antique French pottery, and pastoral oil paintings complete the space and give it that casual, country French feeling.