20 Charming Kitchens That Prove The Best Spaces Have Soul
There are few things that tug on our heartstrings as much as a soulful kitchen. Aged stone, warm wood, personal touches — we can’t help but love a room with character. Here are 20 kitchens that deliver authentic charm in spades.
Traditional cabinetry, a covetable Aga range, and a showstopping brass vent hood give this kitchen a stunning heritage look. Designers Colin Blanchard and Kenneth McRobbie also peeled away layers of plywood and linoleum to uncover the room’s original wood floors, which they had hand-stripped to retain some of the planks’s charming patina.
Jill Kantelberg channeled Belgian country design when making over homeowner Bonnie Brooks’ kitchen. “Bonnie was drawn to the its honest earthiness,” says Jill. White oak cabinetry and Cremone bolt hardware make a striking pairing, but it’s the bluestone floors that steal the spotlight. Cast from molds of 18th-century church and châteaux floors, the tiles boast a gorgeous worn-in texture.
Designer Selina van der Geest envisioned a simple farmhouse look for this upstate New York kitchen. She selected a livable neutral palette — spare oak floors, white cabinetry, polished-concrete counters — and then layered in natural elements for warmth, including stools by local furniture maker Sawkille. “The simplicity of the open shelves and central work table gives an informal feel to the room,” she says.
J Gibson’s kitchen is one of the most memorable spaces in his country hideaway. An antique kilim rug from his family’s former cottage adds a shot of warm color over the wide-plank wood floors, while weathered pendants strike a rustic note over the island. J mounted an heirloom library ladder as makeshift wall art in the adjacent breakfast area — a charming, unexpected detail.
Renowned American designer Steven Gambrel struck a fine balance between tailored style and casual appeal in this stunning Sag Harbor, New York, kitchen. The magic is in the mix: polished silver and pristine stone counters are tempered by raw wood floors and cottage-chic panelling, while cool blues and warm woods play off one another beautifully.
Set in Marie-Laure Helmkampf’s olive mill-turned-family home, this kitchen boasts a soothing palette and tons of natural texture. A vintage pine table, in lieu of the usual island, is a standout feature. “I love eating at Le Pain Quotidien in New York,” Marie-Laure says of the bakery that’s famously furnished with long wood tables. “When I saw this, I thought, ‘I could have Le Pain Quotidien in my kitchen!’”
In photographer Nikole Herriott’s unfitted kitchen, open shelves showcase cool tools and eye-catching collections, while the faucet — a French wall fixture, modified by a plumber to fit her sink — delivers a hit of patina. Citrus trees and houseplants soak in sunlight thanks to a huge window on the east wall.
A raw wood-beamed ceiling perfectly suits this cozy mountain home designed by Timothy Johnson, Debra Francesconi and Victoria Leach. In the kitchen, mid-toned wood floors and a dark-stained island bring a bit of richness, grounding the otherwise white space. A trio of brushed-metal pendants and a copper-clad vent hood add a touch of polish.
To give this ’40s-era kitchen new life, designers Barbara Purdy and Olivia Botrie swapped out faux brick and beadboard for reclaimed wood floors, charming paneling and commanding beams. Black-painted storage resembles retrofitted furniture, adding old world appeal to the room. “The idea was to make the kitchen look like it had evolved naturally and gracefully over time,” says Barbara.
In this refined country kitchen, designers Alexandre Blazys and Benoit Gérard prove that beige doesn’t have to be boring. Creamy kitchen cabinets and neutral stone tile create a peaceful backdrop — a welcome reprieve from all-white — while the island has real presence painted in an earthy greige. Dark granite counters around the perimeter of the kitchen visually ground the expansive space.
Featuring timeless cabinetry and refreshingly unpretentious styling, deVOL Kitchens’ designs are editor favorites for a reason. The Millhouse Kitchen is particularly dreamy, boasting antique-look hardware, dusky-toned walls and bucolic views of the English countryside. “It’s a place you want to stay, open a book and just drink in the atmosphere,” say the designers at deVOL.
Classic cabinetry, richly veined marble and hardworking appliances come together beautifully in this inviting kitchen by designer Scott Yetman. Covering the vent hood in complementary light wood paneling offers a seamless look, and keeps the space from skewing industrial or cold. A wall-mounted TV is a welcome addition during marathon cooking sessions.
Brett Sherlock and James Booty’s classic kitchen is sure to stand the test of time. Shaker-style cabinetry, a black and white palette, and elegant antiques are foolproof picks, but its the one-of-a-kind art that makes the room memorable. On the table, clamped into an easel, is a scene of the Niagara River and marina, while a race car photograph by designer David Linley rests casually on the counter.
Spare, functional, effortlessly stylish — this room by noted kitchen design company Plain English checks all the boxes. Dubbed “The Old Vicarage,” the project brings together freestanding furniture, humble open storage and a unique color palette for a minimal, yet impactful look.
Designer and homeowner Ingrid Oomen carried out a serious transformation in the kitchen of her century home, pushing back one wall and opening up the room to fit in an oversized, marble-topped island (now her favorite place to hang out). Oak floors laid in a traditional herringbone pattern and a pair of milky glass pendants are fitting additions, nodding to her home’s history.
In this Toronto Victorian, designer Sam Sacks embraced a range of warm materials. The walnut kitchen cabinetry is deep and rich, while white counters and subway tiles keep the look bright and inviting. An of-the-moment brass sconce glows against the white walls and illuminates a custom wine rack. “I wanted the kitchen to incorporate some current trends without feeling ‘one note,’” Sam explains.
Celebrated chef and restaurateur Mark McEwan describes his cottage kitchen in Thornbury, Ontario, as “simple but functional.” Textured stone tile, marble counters, a hardy butcherblock counter and ample storage space are ideal for a kitchen that’s designed for cooking and entertaining. “It’s got everything I need… and I can cook a big meal here!” says Mark.
Kelly Anderson’s home, just outside Fredericton, New Brunswick, is both character-filled and pared back. “Making my house what I call ‘essentialist’ — only having what’s useful, beautiful and comforting — helps me feel my best,” she explains. That meant blending functionality and style in her kitchen, hanging tools from rustic racks, and keeping essentials close at hand in trays and on open shelves.
For this country kitchen in Mulmur, Ontario, Toronto-based designer James Davie had a romantic color palette in mind: “a bottle of Cabernet with a pretty, frayed grey label.” Thick ceiling beams, bespoke millwork and nailhead-trimmed stools create a refined-meets-rustic aesthetic. “I’m not a minimalist, as you can probably tell,” says James, with a laugh. “I’m not afraid of over layering.”
Jay Hodgins enjoys traditional country life in his Prince Edward County, Ontario, home, but his spin on country style is decidedly modern. In his kitchen, for example, Jay moved all his dry goods, dishes, and small appliances into a walk-in pantry for a look that’s clean and uncluttered — but still charming.