Bonjour everyone! Today is my third and final post regarding my recent kitchen transformation. Having previously shared what to consider before starting a kitchen remodel and ways to create a luxurious kitchen, the next and final stop in my kitchen journey is my incredible island!
Although I would characterize my complete kitchen design as modern, it does have a slightly French feel, especially the island. Although it was not my overt intention to bring French elements into my kitchen redesign, I am instinctively drawn to French and other European style design and decor. So it is no wonder that my kitchen island has a little ooh la la factor built in.
A Modern Kitchen Island with a French Twist
Want to bring subtle French influences into your kitchen, specifically your island, without making it dated a few years later? Consider these three key elements of classic French kitchen style:
Increase Your Gathering, Storage and Preparation Space – According HGTV, French kitchen design will often feature a prominent island with enough space for entertaining, food preparation and even extended storage. In our island redesign, we extended our island base and countertop about 20 inches, going from about 80 inches to 100 inches. This extended size not only allowed for additional seating at the counter (4 stools total), it also made the island much more functional for our needs. The increased size also gave us more space for food preparation and allowed us to add an additional cooktop burner next to our indoor grill – both are key for us when preparing large meals. In addition, sizing up allowed for NEW cabinet space in the front of the island which is perfect to store our once hard-to-reach items like mixers, bread machines and cookbooks.
Embrace Contrasting Colors and Custom Features – Per classic French style, we selected contrasting elements for our kitchen island. As for the color, we selected a warm gray/brown color cabinet for our island, which is in direct contrast to the antique white color of our perimeter cabinets. The contrasting colors add even more character to our kitchen and help make the make the island the focal point in the room. For cabinet doors, we matched our island door style with the rest of the kitchen cabinets. Similar to French kitchen designs, our “Savannah” style wood cabinet doors are more intricate than the standard shaker style and include multiple borders, insets and raised panels that add dimension and texture without being too busy. We also added long, slender, brushed nickel cabinet door handles for a perfectly polished look.
Select High-quality Stone – In true French fashion, we inherently knew we wanted a high-quality, natural material for our island countertop. Having darker granite countertops for nearly 20 years, we were pretty sure we wanted to stay away from granite during our remodel. Granite, although on its own is high-quality and quite durable (scratch resistant, heat, etc), is known for tighter, louder, darker, busier stone patterns and we wanted something a little sleeker and quieter. We ultimately selected a quartzite stone, which is just as durable as granite but has the elegant, cleaner look of Italian or French marble.
Even though our quartzite stone selection was double the cost of nearly every granite piece we viewed, selecting a quartzite stone – specifically the Aria stone – was one of the best decisions we made. Aria quartzite is a fairly light gray color (in some lights it can look like a creamy white), with a smooth, soft look and finish, which provides a lovely contrast to our darker gray/brown base cabinet. The Aria stones we viewed nearly always had 1-2 darker, crystalized waves or veins running through it creating a peaceful yet striking look – all of which made our stone selection more like a piece of art. And, to ensure maximum visual impact, we opted for a 2.5 inch thick mitered edge countertop, which not only adds height, but also creates a much bolder finish. It is definitely a showstopper and the piece de resistance in our kitchen!
And there you have it – my brand new Bistro Chic kitchen island, many, many months in the making!