Scandinavian Kitchens, Part 2

Style Pointers WALLS Partial paneling, to wainscoting or high-shelf level, is a popular way of treating walls. The wood is painted in a typical shade of blue to set the color theme for the room. The wooden tongue-and-groove boards and the plate shelf above make good display surfaces for kitchen utensils and ceramics. The wall above the paneling and the rest of the woodwork is kept a crisp white.

ACCESSORIES Accessories spell out the roots of the look. In this case, handmade mosaic plates, painted jelly molds and a copper pan hanging on the wall are all traditional gestures towards a bygone, self-sufficient age. Hand-crafted wooden and metal models can nod in the same direction.

WINDOWS Window treatments are kept simple and unobtrusive – sill-length curtains or shades are most appropriate, usually in plain or checked lightweight cotton.

FLOORS Well-sealed wood flooring really suits the look. Stripped, bleached and varnished floorboards are also suitable. Otherwise, the smooth, clean finish of vinyl, stone or ceramic tiles is ideal.

FURNITURE A combination of blue-painted cupboard doors and curtained unit fronts help to define the smartened-up rustic image. Wooden cooktops, dining table, and cane chairs conform with a general bias towards the use of natural materials. Other kitchen apparatus is conspicuous by its absence or is carefully concealed.

Furnishings Built-in fittings: Scandinavian-style base and wall units are available from major home furnishings stores. Unit fronts should be made of wood, either with simple moldings or in tongue-and-groove paneling. The wood is usually painted in traditional blue, gray, or green colors. A subtle paint effect, such as stenciling or whitewashing, may be applied according to personal taste. Solid wood or granite counter-tops are traditional, but simulated wood or stone finishes on synthetic countertops are reliable substitutes.

You can revamp old units simply by replacing the doors and painting all cabinets in a suitable color. Otherwise commission a carpenter to make new doors in tongue-and-groove, or, if your units are standard, you may be able to change the door style from stock supplies. It is even less expensive to hang curtains over unit fronts, using gingham or ticking tightly gathered along a covered wire.

Furniture: If your kitchen is large enough to include an eating area, furnish it with a plain wooden table and chairs. There are a range of contemporary and traditional styles from which to choose. Look for clean lines, natural or painted finishes, and classic proportions. Old farmhouse chairs can be painted to match the woodwork; add small touches of freehand or stenciled decoration for a pretty effect. Benches or settles are also in keeping with the look. Neat seat tie-on cushions or bolsters covered in ticking, gingham, or stripes provide comfort. Window treatments: Let in plenty of light with flimsy, unlined curtains in checked or plain cotton. Cafe curtains, with or without matching fabric tiebacks, are suitably modest. A soft fabric valance adds a simple flourish.

Copyright 2009 Rhonda Morin, May not be reprinted.

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