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There’s something about a New England farmhouse kitchen that makes you want to pull up a chair and stay forever. Do you share our affinity for farmhouse kitchens? Do you constantly look for ideas for that space where you can cook up fresh menus and memories? We reached out to a pair of top pros to share their best kitchen inspiration.
“The New England farmhouse kitchen has both a sense of history and an openness to new design ideas,” Kathleen D’Apice, designer at Jewett Farms. “The emphasis on natural materials and traditional craftsmanship feels comforting and timeless.”
New England’s Shaker craftsmanship was the backbone of the farmhouse kitchen. Traditional elements of cabinetmaking are what make a New England farmhouse feel authentic. Look for cope and stick joinery, inset doors, and solid wood drawers with traditional box joints along with at least 1” thick face frames, drawers fronts, and doors.
Original New England farmhouse cabinetry was built in place in the home. While this might not be doable in 2021, cabinetry can be designed to look as though it was built right there. You can recreate this custom feel by incorporating a single face frame cabinetry design and making cabinetry runs as long as possible. Where the face frame needs to split can also be bumped out or in as a design element that makes the break in the face frame feel intentional.
A beautiful custom-built hutch provides extra storage and display space and can be a great addition to a farmhouse kitchen. It can also add a traditional element in a more contemporary kitchen which can be fun in a modern farmhouse design.
Hardwood and Reclaimed Flooring
Hardwood flooring adds warmth to the color palette whether you’re going neutral or colorful on the cabinetry. Reclaimed flooring can add a sense of history to new construction. A matte finish like Rubio Monocoat oil will allow the grain of the wood to shine and keep things feeling authentic. Be careful to balance the textures and colors so it’s not too warm or too busy.
Black and oil-rubbed bronze hardware will always work well for the farmhouse look. Cup pulls on drawers and exposed hinges with latches on doors can add to the farmhouse vibe.
Farm Sinks with Soapstone Counters
Soapstone is quintessentially New England. Soapstone counters and farm sinks with drainage runnels or sloped drainboards are a perfect addition to a New England farmhouse kitchen.
There are many great options for vintage reproduction and new farmhouse style sconces and pendant light fixtures to complete the look. Wall sconces are particularly suited to use over the kitchen window or above floating shelves. If the house has low ceilings, typical of the New England farmhouse, sometimes you have to get creative. In a 350-year-old home in Newburyport, Jewett Farms designed recess lighting into a reclaimed beam that they hung above the island.
Choosing the right tiles for a farmhouse kitchen means paying attention to textures, finishes, and style. Here again, you can look to the past for examples of what works well and steer clear of the bold contemporary patterns that are out there.
Designer Kristina Crestin thinks a New England farmhouse is unique in that it can be light, bright, and/or moody based on the homeowner’s preferences. She gave these great ideas.
Natural Stone Counters
Crestin comments that materials made from natural stones are ideal for creating countertops for New England farmhouses kitchens. Soapstone and granite are excellent choices. Gray granite that looks like a slate is on point with the vibe you want to create in a farmhouse kitchen.
Finishes that look aged and rustic align with the nostalgic feel of a farmhouse kitchen. Crestin uses unlacquered brasses and oil-rubbed bronzes for finishes. Finishes that patina with age create an authentic farmhouse feel. She notes that polished chrome is also an option.
Crestin suggests looking at old European images for inspiration. Details like wooden knobs and painted wooden cabinets evoke a feeling of an old New England farmhouse versus more contemporary touches.
You can create a fabulous farmhouse feel by integrating natural wood in your kitchen. Crestin suggests adding natural wood ceiling element if possible, or layering natural materials for a vent hood surround.