Decorating & Design

July 31, 2011

Ask A Designer: Traditional Country Kitchen

Q. Can you please help? I thought terracotta floor tiles would work, but I hate them. Unfortunately, I can’t afford to take them out. I’d also like your ideas for lighting over my island and harvest table (not shown). And, if you’re feeling adventurous… any recommendations for a backsplash and curtains?

— D.F., via email (To submit your own question, see our Ask A Designer™ page.)

A. I have to tell you, I actually think your terracotta floor tiles work with the traditional panelled cabinetry and butcherblock countertops. So don’t despair — what you have is a combination of classic finishes that you can easily build on!

I’m feeling adventurous, indeed, and have been thinking about a backsplash that’ll work for you. A ceramic tile will really suit the classic feel of your kitchen. I like Walker Zanger’s hand-painted ceramic tiles in Pagoda Cobalt (shown, left) or Dynasty Mocha Blue on Cream (shown). They both have a hint of terracotta and blue to tie in with your floor, and their pretty patterns will add an authentic artisanal quality. And the colours will also complement the red base of your island. Carry the tiles up to your range hood to create a nice focal point for the space.

Your windows are beautiful and look great unadorned. If you do want to soften them, go with a simple, single relaxed roman blind that stretches across all three windows. As in our Inspiration shot, a red and gold floral, like GP & J Baker’s Poppies (shown, left) will add a lovely punch of colour. Or, for texture, you could use Thom Filicia for Kravet Collections’ embroidered Selina Sand (shown).

I love using floor runners in kitchens as a soft element; look for a banded neutral seagrass to place in front of your sink. Then add more warmth with a pair of pendants in a rubbed antique-brass finish hung over your island. Look for ones that have simple lines and a modern farmhouse feel, like the Chart House Sloane Street pendant (shown).

Sculptural white jugs and canisters are good for organizing utensils on the countertop and will suit the overall traditional-with-a-twist look of your kitchen.

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1. Chart House Sloane Street pendant, Visual Comfort. 2. Fabrics: GP & J Baker Poppies (left), Thom Filicia Selina Sand, Kravet. 3. Seagrass rug, Pottery Barn. 4. Sophie Conran pitcher, canister, Portmeirion. 5. Ceramic tiles, Walker Zanger.