French Cottage Kitchen {Flashback Open House}

With all of the love that we put into the exterior of our little French house, the interior received just as much attention.  I wanted the look of an old farmhouse kitchen with old cabinets.  I actually got a great compliment once from my brother in law Jeremy when he asked “how did you get all of those salvaged cabinets to fit perfectly in the new kitchen” (this was in the year 2000 when rubbed off cabinetry was a newer idea).  Style Note: I opted not to have a glaze on the cabinetry because, like the exterior, I didn’t want it to look dirty, just used.

French Cooking Words for Backsplash

Wood Floor:  As for the wood floor…I LOVED this one.  It was a pre sanded but unfinished floor from Carlisle Wide Plank Flooring.  We installed it, distressed it, stained it and coated it in tongue oil.  If you look close you can see the antique style nails that were hammered in at the ends of each board.  It was indestructible since every nick in the pine added to the character of the house.  We let our little guy ride his trike around on it and it stayed great.

Rustic Pine Floor

Pine Floor with Tongue Oil and Antique Nails

Paint: For the kitchen I selected a warm yellow from Sherwin Williams called “Bee’s Wax”.

French Cottage Farmhouse Interior Paint

Space: The kitchen was huge.  I had debated about a freestanding island, but in the end enjoyed the large open space.

Hardware: The drawer handles and cabinet pulls were ordered from Pottery Barn and were amazingly affordable.

Huge Open Kitchen

Back Splash: Below the cabinets I added french cooking words like oil, flour, butter etc. by printing off the words in a font I liked, placing carbon paper behind it, tracing it and then filling it in with a light blue glaze paint.

French Cooking Word Stenciled Back Splash

Beams: Justin and I hand carved and sanded each of the beams with the help of Justin’s dad.  Yep, those are solid Douglas Fir beams.  The entire main floor had these labors of love on the ceiling.

Douglas Fir Beams on Ceiling

For the back side of the peninsula I had the cabinet company put doors (and dummy drawer fronts) so that I could access the table linens from both sides.  Plus I liked the look better than a solid sheet of wood.

Hand Hewn Solid Wood Beams

Counter Top:  The counter tops were granite tiles and I loved them.  We thought we could save money by using tiles and install them ourselves…not a good idea.  If you decide on granite tiles, be aware that all of the tiles on the edge of the counter and back splash need to be polished (and finding a tile shop to do this was not easy or cheap).  Then you need to cut a lot of strips for the face of the cabinets and the back splash.  After all of that, it’s time to set the tiles on the double ply wood base that you build.  This is the hard part, making sure that each tile is level in each direction.  It proved to be too big of a job for us.  After spending all of the money to get the tiles polished and ready, you want to make sure the tiles are all facing the same direction, with the grain, and that the entire surface is on the same plane so that the reflection is perfection.  We found a great tile shop that installed them and I loved the end result even if the savings weren’t as much as we had expected.

Granite Tile Countertop

The area above the cook top (with a downdraft) was the only area that I didn’t know what to do with in the end.  If I were doing it over again, I’d just put open shelving with out a cabinet box.
New to Look Old

Appliances: When figuring out the placement of the appliances, I put them all on an inside wall.  This way they were the least visible from any angle in the house.  At the time I thought white appliances looked best, but now, with all of the stainless steal options, I would rethink that idea.

Appliances Hidden away

When we were building the house, knowing we would sell it someday, my husband kept saying “The kitchen sells the house” and he was right.  The family that purchased the house loved how large the kitchen was and so did I when we lived there.

One last look:

Huge Open Kitchen


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  • I LOVE your kitchen! This is EXACTLY the look we’ll be going for when we buy a house this year (and then tear out the current kitchen) I’ve been pinning away ideas and this is PERFECT. Great job!

  • Love this, great inspiration! What is the paint color/brand on the cabinets?

    • Jen, The cabinets were fully custom. As for the paint color? I don’t know the exact color. I chose an off white, a little warm. I wanted it to look old and a little yellowed, weird I know, but it worked. If I were to do it over again, I think I’d go a little bit more gray off white, I think it would have gone better with the white white trim.

  • That kitchen is lovely. The beams are the clincher.

    • Thanks Maureen, they were a labor of love.

  • i love this kitchen and i normaly dont like granite and then i read they were tiles .don t know if that made a difference or that you went with white appliances but it is a very lovely comfy warm room ,bravo

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    Have had extreem difficulty in finding views and design for corner cooktop placement.
    Your great work is close to layout we need. Thanks.

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