Richard Bradley of V33 offers styling tips on achieving the ‘modern farmhouse kitchen’ look, and plants some seeds on possible finishes to go for in your build
Most people would understand completely what a traditional farmhouse kitchen look would entail. Images of gingham curtains, plenty of wooden surfaces and rustic, mismatched furniture spring to mind.
But what is the ‘modern’ farmhouse look? Essentially it’s a stylish fusion of traditional farmhouse elements with the contemporary parts of kitchen design that make our modern lives easier. It is essentially the best of today’s lifestyle alongside the best of those simpler times gone by. The result is a kitchen that is light and airy, usually with sleek, modern cabinets, but which features details evoking that charming and cosy atmosphere of the rustic farmhouse.
The unfussy, lustrously finished kitchen that has been popular for some time has its place, particularly in very modern homes such as new urban apartments. However, we do not have to be living in the middle of the countryside to yearn after a cosier look. People are placing greater importance on home and family, post-lockdown. They are enjoying, more than ever, the reassurance that a comfortable, welcoming space brings, particularly since we are spending more time working from home. No wonder, then, that the modern farmhouse kitchen is currently so popular.
For self-builders building new properties or homemakers renovating existing ones, there are a multitude of areas they can consider in order to achieve the modern farmhouse look for the kitchen.
The first is to ensure that light and space are optimised in the room. The modern farmhouse kitchen should have plenty of both. Next are the architectural features that should be designed in, retained or uncovered. Modern farmhouse kitchens often showcase traditional materials, so think exposed wooden beams, brick interior walls or floors made of stone or timber. For new-build projects, specifying such materials for walls and floors is ideal.
The cabinets in any kitchen are likely to be the first thing to draw the eye. Sleek, contemporary designs combined with statement brushed metal hardware achieve that perfect modern farmhouse balance of contemporary with a nod to rustic. Brass hardware here can add warmth.
When choosing a colour for cabinets to achieve the modern farmhouse effect, neutral tones are a must, and grey shades are ideal. When painting them, instead of painting all cupboards and cabinets in the same shade, think about using different greys for two or three surfaces. This will help to achieve the impression of a collection of unrelated pieces of furniture that is characteristic of a farmhouse kitchen. The effect will be cohesive, but more charming than formal. Then consider painting your wall tiles in white to add to the light and airy look, and to form a backdrop for utensils and accessories.
Seek out a satin finish paint specifically formulated for cupboards and cabinets: a good result will not be achieved in just any paint. Pick one requiring no undercoat, and that has been specially developed to renovate high-use surfaces. The right combination of polymers will result in a paint that is extremely durable and resistant to culinary and domestic stains. It should allow regular and easy cleaning without altering the colour and finish of the paint. Look for paint that can be used on new or old kitchen furniture, and is suitable for use on untreated, varnished or painted woods, melamine, laminate, kitchen tiles, plaster and glass, so that pretty much all bases are covered.
Preparation of surfaces is essential in order to achieve a good quality finish. Projects should commence by painting the angles, mouldings and joints of the surfaces involved. Work should be done on small surfaces at this stage. Then follow with successive cross strokes. A second coat should not be started while the first is still drying. Leave to dry for six hours, but not exceeding 12 hours, before applying a second coat in the same way.
Other key elements that feature in the modern farmhouse kitchen include antique or industrial components. These can be incorporated in particular in the choice of lighting.
Another excellent design tip is to incorporate open shelving featuring not only useful items, but also visually appealing ones. The use of a dresser is ideal for displaying crockery and accessories in natural materials, such as wicker baskets or wooden items. Wooden accents elsewhere can take the form of worktops and furniture.
Achieving a modern farmhouse look for the kitchen means being able to enjoy the conveniences of contemporary life, while enjoying a hint of the comforting essence of a bygone era. Smooth lines, neutral colour tones, space, light and natural materials combine to make this a kitchen look we can enjoy at a time when reassuring comfort is a must.
Richard Bradley is marketing manager at V33