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Modern Rustic Style in a Country Cottage Kitchen

Smart, uncluttered design and industrial-style detailing mean this is no ordinary Shaker kitchen

Houzz Contributor. I’ve been writing for interiors magazines for over 10 years and… More

With its beamed ceiling, cream Aga and scrubbed breakfast table, this kitchen has many of the ingredients you’d find in a very traditional space. But thanks to a bold colour palette and modern additions, such as the sleek cooker hood and state-of-the-art fridge, this room is fit for a 21st-century family. “We always like working with older properties,” says Tamsin Allen of Fawn Interior Design, who designed the room. “It’s about getting that mix of a nice old structure, feel and surroundings, but with contemporary interiors that work for modern life.”

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Kitchen at a Glance
Who lives here A family of four
Location Hampshire
Property A 250-year-old cottage
Size 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
Kitchen dimensions
4m x 6m (at its widest parts)
Designer Tamsin Allen of Fawn Interior Design

Photos by Paul Stubberfield

“The whole modern-rustic look is becoming quite popular. It’s all very natural and soothing,” says Allen, who took on the task of turning a 30-year-old ‘shabby chic’ kitchen made up of grainy, cream units into something more functional and smarter. Unusually, the room is triple aspect, with plenty of natural light, so the combination of a low-beamed ceiling and dark green and grey units was perfectly viable. Even so, it was important to keep a balance with crisp white walls, free from cabinetry. “The owners didn’t want any top cupboards because they felt that would be too in-your-face,” says Allen.

Walls painted in Loft White, base cabinets in Obsidian Green and larder units in Scree, all Little Greene.

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Full-height cupboards are lit from within, bouncing light off the original beamed ceiling when open. “We could have left out the larder unit here and put in an island, but the family needs lots of storage for crockery and food,” says Allen.

Next to the larder is a sleek American-style fridge-freezer. “It gives the kitchen a modern touch,” says Allen. “If it had all been integrated it might have been a bit too heavy, so this was a good compromise. Plus, the kids love the water and ice dispenser.”

Side by side fridge freezer, Maytag. Cast-iron radiator, Coventry Demolition Company.

See a farmhouse kitchen with a modern look

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Wall space is limited in the kitchen, but with some creative thinking Allen still found room for artwork, with one picture positioned directly behind the stove. “What’s great about the Aga is you have the lids which act as a built-in splashback so you can afford to be a bit more adventurous about where you place your artwork.”

The electric Aga adds to the rustic look, but is finished with a thoroughly modern extractor. “We were really pleased with the cooker hood,” says Allen. “Before, the owners had a built-in chimney hood that was really heavy so we had that stripped out. This hood adds to the industrial feel.” Other details, including a swan hook in antique gold, add decorative appeal. “We thought it was a nice touch. Bringing in something metallic always luxes up a place.”

Six-Four cooker hood and 3-Oven Total Control electric cooker, Aga.

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The custom-built units were hand painted in a matt oil eggshell for a more natural look. “We were able to get the painter to leave some brushstrokes so it all looks a bit more authentic. Nothing looks sprayed or factory produced,” says Allen.

The Carrara marble worktops create a crisp contrast and help to lift the light levels in the kitchen. “The owners wanted something really luxe and marble is great. They can have it repolished every couple of years if they need to.”

Cabinets, Handmade Kitchens of Christchurch.

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A black tap and industrial-style lighting move the kitchen away from a classic country look. Beams made central ceiling lights impractical, so Allen found more flexible alternatives. “We found these really great industrial lights, one which swings out so that it can be used in different corners of the room to pinpoint bits of light. The smaller lights at worktop level also create quite a clean feel.”

Industrial swing lamp and Pipe wall light, both House Doctor DK collection, Arbol House. White angle-mount wall light, TwentyTwentyOne. Barista Express Bean-to-Cup coffee machine, Sage by Heston Blumenthal collection, John Lewis. Kohler Purist black tap, Kitchensinks & Taps. Picture, RTA.

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The oak floor had been put down about six years before this project started and responded well to a bit of TLC. “Some of the old units were in slightly different places, so we got any damaged bits filled then had it all sanded back and oiled,” says Allen.

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The modern-classic midcentury Bertoia chairs contrast with the scrubbed breakfast table.

Knoll Bertoia outdoor side chairs, Nest.co.uk.

Get some modern-rustic inspiration

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Tucked around the corner is another big larder unit for food. “It also houses the family’s microwave because they didn’t want that on show. They were keen to keep the worktops quite clean and minimal,” says Allen.

Browse more photos of country kitchens on Houzz

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This door leads through to a back door that goes out to the garden. “The print is the history of the cottage that we had typeset for the family,” says Allen. “It’s always nice to try to put something personal into a project.”

How would you – or how have you – used this style in your own home? Tell us/show us in the Comments section.


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