My French Country Kitchen

I love my new house!!! And I especially love my French Country Kitchen. I don't just "love" it.  I LUUUuuuvvvvv it! It is my happy place. We moved in the beginning of April, and it is home. There's no other way to explain it. Honestly, before we moved in, I was starting to think it wasn't ever going to happen--I mean, eight months of renovating? Seriously! Who does that??? But it was worth it, because it feels so good to finally be home.

Feeling at Home in my French Country Kitchen

Breakfast Nook
Our Breakfast Nook in the kitchen helped make our house feel like home.

It didn't feel like home at first, but it didn't take long. For me, all it took was waking up to sound of dishes clanking in the kitchen and that wonderful smell of fresh brewed coffee. When I shuffled into the kitchen, I was thrilled Jim decided to stop what he was doing to sit down with me for a cup of coffee in our breakfast nook. We were still tired, and my muscles ached. Moving is a lot of work, and neither of us slept well that first night. It's hard to sleep some place you're not used to even if you are in your own bed. Anyway, somehow, sitting in our breakfast nook, drinking coffee together in our robes made our house feel like home. It felt right.

Of course, there was still a lot to do. Moving is a process. It isn't something you do one day and are done. Since we've moved in, I think I've rearranged things in the kitchen at least a half a dozen times. You know how it goes... You think you've found the perfect spot for something, then realize it really didn't work there, so you make adjustments. At least, that's what I do. Luckily, Jim has been through this before with me, because I did the same thing when I moved into his house. He knew what to expect, even if he did grumble a little. It's just part of settling in.

Anyway. I want to show you around. So let's grab a cup of coffee and get started.

French Country Kitchen Charm

If you have questions about ANYTHING, please put them in the comments. I'll respond to anyone who comments.
French Country Kitchen
My new French Country kitchen is joy to cook in!
I love my kitchen! It's the room that changed the most dramatically. You can check out some of the work here and this post. It's definitely the most efficient kitchen I've ever had. It's also the prettiest, and I've had a LOT of pretty kitchens.

I bet you're surprised it isn't white, aren't you? Given how much I've talked about how great white kitchens are, even Jim was surprised I didn't do it in white. I wanted my kitchen to have a French Farmhouse vibe, and when you think of French Country, you automatically think of those gorgeous romantic white kitchens. At least you do if you spend any time on Pinterest. But I wanted one with color, specifically yellow, because my kitchen faces north. In north facing kitchens, white can feel cold, and I wanted my kitchen to feel like sunshine. So I took my inspiration from the colors of southern France, which are much warmer than the colors used in northern parts of France.

It makes me happy every time I look at it.

Improving the Work Triangle in my French Country Kitchen

Did you know that even though it seems simple, sometimes the hardest part of redesigning a kitchen is determining the best location for the appliances?
Updating the work triangle.
How it looked when we first looked at the house.
and How it looks now!
Looking at the pictures, the kitchen before looked very nice, and it was...except the layout wasn't very efficient. The appliances were in awkward locations, and my gut told me it wasn't going to work. I couldn't see myself working in the kitchen the way it was before, especially since I wanted to keep my appliances. It didn't take us long to decide getting rid of everything would be easier than trying to make the kitchen work as it was. And trust me, I got the usual advice against renovating without living with it first. I've given that advice myself. But I just knew, if we didn't do it before we moved in, we'd never do it.


I started designing as soon as the decision was made to rip it all out. I knew it needed a better work triangle, but to keep costs down, I wanted to keep things like plumbing where they were. So, the first thing I did was determine the best work triangle. There are two entrances to the kitchen on the same wall, so traffic kind of sticks to one side. Moving all the appliances off that wall made the most sense. That way the work triangle was out of the flow of traffic, and people could come and go without getting in the way of the cook.

Kitchen Work Triangle
Keeping the sink and stove basically where they were saved some money.
I love that I can be working in the kitchen, and Jim or anyone can come in, get coffee, get a drink or a snack out of the fridge or the pantry, or even sit in the breakfast nook and visit with me without getting in the way of what I'm doing. No butt bumping!

I'll be sharing the details in another post, because there are a lot of them. I mean, we changed everything from top to bottom. We used our stove and refrigerator from our old house, but everything else was replaced.

Creating Storage in my French Country Kitchen

Some people think finding storage means hiding things away, because storage is ugly and utilitarian. Not true! Sometimes it means putting things on display and making them the show!
Move the refrigerator
Before: The awkwardly located refrigerator and oven
After: A new home for the pegboard my dad made for me.
The very first time I walked into the kitchen, the refrigerator felt like it was blocking the room, and I told Jim if we bought the house, we'd have to find a way to move it to the other side of the room. Then I saw where the oven was, and I thought, "What the heck?! Why would they put the oven WAY over there, a mile from the sink and the stove?"

As you can see, we did move the refrigerator to the other side of the room, which made the room feel bigger. We eliminated the wall oven, removed the wallpaper and patched the wall where the oven had been. Keeping with the French Country design, I used free-standing pieces on this side of the kitchen instead of having cabinets installed.

Pegboard and Cart
The pegboard pot rack my dad made for me.
My pegboard went where the refrigerator used to be. I've loved this pegboard ever since my dad made it for me. I can't imagine ever putting my pots and pans in a cabinet where I had to dig for them every time I cooked. That's why when I was planning the kitchen I knew I had to make sure my pegboard had a place to go in the layout--not only for sentimental reasons, but also because it's super convenient. It just makes cooking so much easier. I can see everything I need immediately and grab it lickety-split.

I put our old kitchen cart under the pegboard for a bit more work surface. Jim was going to build a rustic shelf to put there, but now I'm rethinking it. This cart just works so well, and leaves space for our small trash can and a much needed step stool. And, now that I've removed the drawer, a toaster oven will fit on the top shelf. I never thought I would use this very much, but I'm finding I use it all the time. I still might have him make something just because it would be extra special to have something he made.

Making my French Country Kitchen Pretty and Practical

Do you think art can't go in the kitchen? Think again! The kitchen is a perfect place to display treasured pieces, especially if the kitchen is a room you spend a lot of time in. Art should be hung where you'll enjoy it the most!
Get some art on the walls
A china cabinet and some art makes it look pretty.
I don't know if you can tell by the after picture, but wall oven used to be where that large china cabinet is now. We keep all our everyday dishes in the china cabinet, just like we did in our old house. It just works, not only because we're used to it, but also because it keeps them out of the kitchen work triangle. I thought about putting them in the open shelves between the stove and sink, but this way those shelves are handy for mixing bowls, casserole dishes...you know, things I use for cooking on a regular basis.

Check out the art on the wall. I love these two pieces. I've had them for years and never get tired of them. I was going to hang them in the living room until I saw how fantastic they go with the china cabinet. I wish the color of my china cabinet photographed better. It drives me nuts that it doesn't, because in person, you'd see how fantastic it looks with these two prints.

Finishing Touches to my French Country Kitchen

Little details like curtains and lighting make a room feel cozy and inviting. Instead of replacing everything, maybe they just need a little tweaking to make them work.  
Crowded before, inviting now
Before the breakfast nook felt crowded,
but after it felt very open and inviting.
Doesn't the before picture of the breakfast nook look crowded? With that huge microwave (I don't think they even make microwaves that big anymore), there wasn't much room to move around. I'm pretty sure they couldn't fit that microwave on the countertop, because their upper cabinets were a little lower than standard.

It's a good thing I could look past all that furniture. I knew this corner could be a charming breakfast nook. It just needed a smaller table, banquette seating, some new curtains and a new chandelier.

I'm not sure Jim can see my vision for French banquette seats under the windows. So for now, we have a small round table and three chairs. There actually wasn't anything wrong with the curtains. They're simple white curtains. All I did was change the pinch pleats to French pleats and replaced the curtain rods. They're the only curtains I kept in the whole house.

The power of change
Spray paint and new globes equal a new chandelier.
I ended up keeping the chandelier too. I looked and looked for something different, but everything I liked wasn't in the budget. In the end, I spray painted it and replaced the frosted glass globes with seeded glass ones. Changing those globes made all the difference and gave it a French Country feeling. It really doesn't look like the same fixture. Even our electrician thought I bought a new one.

Looking at the chandelier now, I'm kind of glad I didn't find anything else, because I really it. I love the seeded glass globes. They tie in nicely with the pendants over the sink without being matchy-matchy.

Let's Sit and Chat in My French Country Kitchen

Comments! Please let me know what you think of my French Country Kitchen or ask questions? You can even tell you things you would have done differently! 
Let's have coffee
Let's sit down and drink our coffee.
Well, now that you've seen my whole kitchen, let's sit down in the breakfast nook, drink our coffee and chat some more.

If you have questions about anything you see in the pictures, please post them in comments.

If you like what you've seen, please share this post!




7 comments:

  1. Okay, now that YOUR house is done let's do MINE! :) May have to bring you to Vilnius to do the details here too...

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    1. I would LOVE to come to Vilnius to do that. I'd get to decorate AND spend time with you. Win-Win!!

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  2. When your done with hers we can do mine....when I get one. LOL :-)


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    1. I'd love to do yours to, Kate... When you get one! ;-)

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  3. Where did you find the vinyl chandy on your refrigerator? Love the kitchen!

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    1. Thank you! I found it at JoAnn Fabrics a few years ago. I was worried it would get ruined during the move, but fortunately it didn't. I don't know if JoAnn's carries it any longer. But I just did a search on amazon for "vinyl wall decal chandelier," and they have several options on there.

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  4. The more I use my kitchen the more I love it! That's what I call good design.

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