Country Decorating Ideas

Blue Plate Special

A walnut-stained island looks rich against the all-white cabinets on this kitchen's perimeter walls. Beveled, diamond-shaped leaded glass in the adjoining door lends a charming storybook touch.

The fresh country style elements of England, Scandinavia, and France combine to make this kitchen modern, warm, and inviting. This room has today's most-wanted features, including a commercial-quality range and granite-topped island with traditional beveled edges. But it's the canny use of architecture that makes this space habitable, not just impressive to look at.

A chief source of delight is the big bay window near enough to the work area for the chef to enjoy. Maximizing the window's importance, the owners had a comfortable banquette built in for an informal eating nook, flanked by open shelving.

A comfortable window seat makes banquette seating for two or three around a pint-size pedestal table. A side chair is cushioned in blue-and-white toile, a classic French fabric that's in vogue again today.

For an engaging personal touch, the owners' collection of blue-and-white pottery is on display throughout the room. For example, the area above the industrial-strength stainless-steel range hood is softened with a simple plate rack and two blue-and-white plates. Angled, open racks and wicker baskets beneath the island are timeless and practical.

Built-in, open shelving lets these homeowners display their prized blue-and-white ceramics without taking up floor space. The cozy window seat makes the most of a pretty bay window.

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