Designer Dining – The Essentials of French Provincial Kitchens

by Charlotte Smith

Designer Dining – In French Provincial Kitchens

Timeless, stunning and value-adding—provincial kitchens are currently the hottest design trend, for good reason. Taken literally, the word provincial means rustic or unsophisticated. However, when referring to modern home design, it means something superbly different.

Whilst traditional provincial kitchens would have been little more than quaint, serviceable workspaces, contemporary craftsmanship and innovations mean their latter-day counterparts are classically beautiful whilst providing all the modern conveniences.

Provincial kitchens lend themselves to most housing styles–from ultra modern to the French and Georgian classics.


Variants of French Provincial Kitchens

French Provincial Kitchens

The contemporary take on what originated from the modest country kitchens of rural France incorporates a number of variations.

One such variant is ‘Hamptons’ style, which is often used as an interchangeable term when referencing similar design and architectural features. Hamptons style tends to have cleaner lines, less decorative detailing and crisper colours to give a seaside or coastal feel.

The quintessential idea, however, remains the same – to create a kitchen which epitomizes charm, warmth and character of a bygone era.


Unlike the Hampton’s kitchen which is often a stark white, provincial kitchens tend to lean towards the arguably more inviting, warm creams, greys, beiges and ivory hues. Natural materials lend themselves to this era, with timber flooring and stone benchtops making the ideal complement to the overall effect.

Black fixtures often act as a stunning contrast in:

  • Handles
  • Feature tiles
  • Sink and tapware
  • Stone benchtops
  • Flooring
  • Iron seating and rustic light fixtures


Corbels and decorative mouldings are an intrinsic inclusion in the provincial kitchen. Tastefully reproduced, they evoke the nostalgia of yesteryear and give a kitchen a feeling of quality and luxury.

Six-panel glass cabinet doors are another feature which identifies the provincial kitchen. These can be interspersed with traditional cabinetry with panelling which can mirror wainscoting in other areas of the home, to create a seamless theme throughout.

The exhaust fan above the stove, which would have once been a chimney over the cooking area, has been retained in many modern provincial kitchens. It has been endowed with a decorative elegance to represent bygone grandeur with a contemporary twist.


Belfast or butler sinks are often a staple of this style kitchen. Traditionally made from ceramic material, they are a popular inclusion and make a statement as to the quality of both the kitchen and the home.

Splashbacks and tiling can be most impressive when created using traditional subway tiles. These continue the rustic theme and can be found in an array of stylish colours to complement or to act as a counterpoint to bench tops and cabinetry.

The inclusion of an iron suspended pots and pans rack can be the finishing touch which completes the rustic tone in your kitchen.

Breakfast bars and island benches echo the traditional butcher’s block which would have been central to many country kitchens centuries ago. Modern island benches are now plumbed and wired to make them functional as well as acting as a social hub for family gatherings.


Freestanding stoves which lost favour around the turn of the 21st century have seen a strong resurgence, particularly in the provincial kitchen. The Aga cooker, whilst the epitome of country elegance, is often beyond the budget of the average kitchen buyer. Fortunately, there is an array of superb imitations on the market which will provide a similar effect without costing an arm and a leg.

It remains questionable as to whether the French peasantry of yesteryear would recognise their kitchens in the modern day counterparts. There is no denying however, that modern design influences have created a style which is timelessly beautiful and which will add to the value of a home.

Unlike the dreadfully dated kitchens of the 1970’s and 1980’s, a quality built a provincial kitchen, with its classic colours and design, is guaranteed to be as contemporary in ten years time as it was 200 years ago.

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