A few thousand miles away from both the boulevards of Paris and the lavender fields of Provence, a house in Sebastopol has brought a little bit of France to California.
This kitchen by Interior Designer Anja Michals manages to channel both French countryside rusticity and the sartorial splendor of the City of Lights – with the whole design inspired by a century-old classic of French home cookery.
Michals talks us through how she created a cordon bleu kitchen for a prolific cook that blends functionality, fashion and farmhouse chic.
1. Use your dream feature as a starting point
If there is a long coveted statement piece you couldn’t imagine your kitchen without, use it as a starting point for the rest of your kitchen ideas.
‘My client is an avid chef, so the kitchen really started with her dream La Cornue range – it became the focal point,’ said Michals. ‘She wanted something extremely functional but also bold.’ With its black and gold color palette and twin vault ovens, the stunning French range is exactly that, and sets a classically chic tone for the rest of the kitchen and leads the color scheme.
2. Open up the space, but keep it functional
Making a kitchen feel airy will help create a room you want to spend time in – but don’t cull vital storage and work surfaces entirely in the name of space.
‘We changed the layout of the kitchen to make it feel more open, as well as placed the island in the center of kitchen space so she could use it to chop and prep,’ explained Michals.
Rather than cramming all available wall space with cabinetry, kitchen island ideas like this allow for substantial storage to be kept below the sightline, while also creating an all-important work surface for the client’s cooking endeavours.
3. Go bold with dark colors and brass
Following in the range’s chic footsteps, a dark color scheme runs throughout the kitchen’s Korts & Knight cabinetry, with golden accents coming courtesy of brass handles, multiple light fittings and a custom glass and brass shelving unit from Soil and Oak.
‘My favorite part of the kitchen is the Salamander Green for the cabinetry which is bold yet inviting,’ said Michals.
Green kitchen ideas like this deep verdant shade is impactful and luxurious, but the room is prevented from feeling too dark by balancing it with white walls and paler accents beyond the cabinetry.
4. Add a natural touch with soapstone and reclaimed wood
While the darker colors and metallic accents channel Paris fashion houses, a touch of the countryside comes courtesy of some more rustic accents.
‘We designed a custom hood, using reclaimed French oak and lime wash paint,’ explained Michals. ‘We also loved mixing in natural soapstone on the island and the bar area.’ These natural textures extend to the island which is fashioned from pale wood, and to the French countryside-style table, which is flanked by leather woven chairs.
5. Bring in pattern with tiling
To balance a largely slick scheme of metallics and large panels of painted wood, a little bit of pattern was needed to bring the scheme to life – and this was done through kitchen tile ideas. Texture has been added to the walls through the use of weathered white zellige tiles from CLE, while small hexagonal tiles in black, grey and white form a mosaic floor, which overall displays a larger – and very on trend – hexagonal pattern.
Interior Design / Anja Michals Design
Photography / Vivian Johnson
I started out at British GQ, where a month of work experience turned into 18 months of working on all sorts of projects, writing about everything from motorsport to interiors, and helping to put together the GQ Food & Drink Awards. I then spent three years at the Evening Standard on the GO London team, covering restaurants and bars, and getting to eat and drink a veritable smorgasbord of wonderful things around the city. I left the paper in 2020 and went freelance, writing about food, drink and homes for publications including Conde Nast Traveller, Luxury London and Departures. A little less than a year later, I started at Homes & Gardens as a Digital Writer, allowing me to fully indulge my love of good interior design.
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