french country cottage inspired kitchen

Kitchen Update | My French Country Inspired Kitchen

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I’m excited to be bringing you our kitchen update today! Excited because that means we made enough progress to share, and also because I’ve been getting a lot of requests for a closer look and well, I aim to please! πŸ˜‰ The kitchen is not finished and if you make it to the end I list what’s left to do, but I don’t want to wait years to share this post and well, I’m pretty happy with how my French Country inspired kitchen is turning out. I’ll share lots of photos in this post, but I’m also going to be talking about the process, product sources, and more. So get comfy!!

My French Country Inspired Kitchen Update

Have you seen the post I did months ago about my kitchen vision? You should check it out and see if we got close or not! πŸ˜‰

But first, some before pictures to give you a feel of what we were working with.

We did live with it for a couple of months before changing anything. In a previous post I did say that we’d wait a while and do everything at once and haha, how naive was I! I mean, it’s not impossible but I didn’t want to wait a really long time to save up everything for the new floors, appliances, countertops, and everything in between before we even got started. Plus, a lot could be done in the beginning as long as we were willing to put in a lot of labor! And oh boy, did we…

Everything that we did/will do is mostly cosmetic. Besides replacing the dishwasher, which is practically broken haha. The layout didn’t bother us then and still totally doesn’t, so we had no plans to change it. I’m sure someone could think of a more efficient design or Joanna Gaines would knock down a wall or something but we didn’t care. We really didn’t want to get into a big, expensive layout change if we didn’t have to. We’ll leave it for the next owners! πŸ˜‰

The first things we did was take out the bulkheads, the breakfast nook light, and the breakfast nook table. It really opened up the space!

I started on painting the cabinets and I have a tutorial about how to paint kitchen cabinets the right way here. (I used the same paint in that post-Benjamin Moore Advance Semi-Gloss White Dove.) I had originally thought I’d do a strip & bleach method to the lower cabinets to have natural wood and paint the top white. Well, I did experiment on some cabinet doors and NEVER AGAIN. I like how the doors turned out but I’m so glad I didn’t attempt the whole kitchen. You’ll see how it turned out further down this post!

Painting the cabinets was not a quick fix for us…I simply was just not interested in getting new ones! I don’t get heart eyes for new cabinets and I would rather put the money elsewhere. However, I’m sure it would have been a different story if our cabinet style was more outdated. I think shaker style is the most classic/desired and correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think ours are far behind. At least I’ve seen this style at Ikea! Ha! If they start deteriorating in 10 years I won’t try to cover it up with paint or anything, but who knows if we’ll even be here in 10 years!

kitchen makeover before
the mess and chaos that is a kitchen renovation

As we were waiting for the kitchen cabinet paint to dry, we got started on our backsplash. Originally I thought we’d do everything brick and when we priced it out, I just didn’t love that idea so much to spend what it would cost. Plus, I knew I wanted wood elements anyway. We went for a shiplap/shiplath look using 4×8 sheets of 3/8ths inch plywood cut into 6-inch strips with a 1/8th space in between.

shiplap backsplash

I chose skinny over thick because skinny is typically used more in cottage homes while thick is used with the modern farmhouse style. That’s also the same reason why I chose placing it vertically instead of horizontal.
Related: What is French Country Style? The Difference Between French Country, English Cottage, and Modern Farmhouse

Once all the wood was up it started looking like a sauna and I was a little nervous about the whole thing haha. Of course, paint came to the rescue!

kitchen before

Important tip: Make any necessary repairs to the wall and paint before hanging shiplap. I had read a blog post where someone said you didn’t need to and could barely tell, but I could tell for us and it was a pain to go back and try to fix what we could. I suppose if your walls are white and you’re hanging white shiplap then it wouldn’t matter.

I was really liking how everything was looking once the walls were painted white and we got our open shelving up. I knew from the very beginning I wanted a good amount of open shelving. I chose the wall near the sink where we keep our dishes since that would be the easiest to convert. It’s also on the other side of the stove so there’s less chance grease/grime would get them. But honestly, I don’t really care about that and I’m okay with a little extra cleaning if it means I get open shelves.

staining open shelving

For our open shelves, we used 2x12s. I was in charge of staining them and I used Minwax-Provincial. To be honest it came out a little darker than I wanted so I messed with sanding and doing a limewash and then it just looked gray. Boo. Haha. I was going for more of a medium brown. Butttt when all was said and done I didn’t care enough to start over. I don’t know what kind of vibe you’re getting from me but I really do care about my kitchen haha. I just have to decide what’s worth my time and what’s not and I try to be flexible to things that don’t go how I originally hoped. πŸ™‚

You’ll see that I repeated the same stain and limewash look throughout the kitchen for consistency. I am a big fan of limewash glaze now (I used Valspar Limewash Glaze) and it’s kinda my fix for everything now. πŸ˜‰

If I’m getting the process a little out of order, forgive me. My brain is hazy. But after (I think) the shelves were done we moved on the brick…and I was in charge of that!

kitchen before 2
looking like a fashion blogger here! πŸ˜‰

Since I decided not to brick the whole room, we chose to make it a statement backsplash over the stove and under the (what will be) the wood range hood. Brick was an element I knew I had to have in our kitchen! In our first house, we added brick and I whitewashed it and in this home, I tried a german smear/heavy grouting look. I must say, I love what I did! πŸ˜‰

Titus went on to build the wood range hood, starting with the frame. In our first home, he built it out of pallets and this time, 1x4s. He didn’t use a plan and winged it, but if you really want a tutorial (like the baseboard heater covers he built) I can try to get him to make one! πŸ˜‰

kitchen before

I did the same stain & limewash look on the wood range hood but instead, I brushed it on with a rag instead of a paintbrush and it went on way lighter. I was happy with how this one turned out!

kitchen before wood range hood

Okay, did I do enough explaining of the process? Let’s move on to the afters so I can do even more explaining! πŸ˜‰

french country cottage inspired kitchen

Can I just say…how beautiful! No, it’s not modern and it’s not everyone’s style…but that was never my goal. πŸ™‚

Below are the slightly gray yet beautiful shelves haha. Pretty much everything on them is functional and things I use, besides maybe 5 things. A clock my Grandpa made is on the top shelf and it’s really special to have sentimental things on my shelves too!

french country cottage inspired kitchen open shelving

The “island” is just a dresser. I don’t think our space can “technically” fit an island but it’s a beautiful, antique piece I found at a secondhand place and I like to have all my beautiful pieces in a place I can look at. πŸ™‚

I may move it, but I like it for now.

Those claw feet!

The picture below is where you can see my try at natural wood cabinet doors. I used Citistrip to strip it. Then I had to scrape, scrape, scrape. Sand, sand, sand. Bleach, bleach, bleach. Then I went over it with the Valspar Limewash Glaze. Like I said, never again! I really like the end result but it was so much work.

french country cottage kitchen

For the hardware, I think I found the perfect mix between modern yet rustic. Even though modern isn’t my style, sometimes it’s good to balance out a rustic style!

The wood range hood came out slightly bigger than what we expected because I wanted all the boards to be the same size. But we can always remove one board if I don’t want it to come down as far.

wood range hood

I’m getting carried away with all the photos and I got to stop now so there’s something new left to show you for when we finally do get to the big reveal! But I will show you just one before & after because every post needs that. πŸ˜‰

kitchen before
french country cottage inspired kitchen

Now, here’s what we have left to do:

What’s left:

  • We are considering building the cabinets to the top, or at the very least adding trim.
  • New appliances. We are debating between a vintage-looking fridge (like a smeg), a stainless steel one, or something classy like Cafe appliances and building cabinets around it so it’s enclosed. We think we want stainless steel for our other appliances though.
  • New floors. Most likely hardwood or engineered hardwood.
  • Mudding/smoothing the ceiling where we took the bulkheads out. There’s one layer of joint compound in the photos but we’re not done yet.
  • Filling in the gap between the shiplap and the ceiling to make it even and a smooth transition.
  • New sink & faucet. Probably a farmhouse sink…at the very least white!
  • Countertops. I want marble or a very good quartz look alike!
  • Need a better way to tie back those curtains haha!

Is there more to do? Probably. I mean, are you ever really done? πŸ˜‰ I’m not sure of the timeline though. What’s left are some pretty big things! I can still be content in the meantime though. Or die trying…

Check out the sources below and if I missed anything or you have any questions, let me know!

Sources:
Cabinet hardware
Sink sponge holder
Iron towel rod
“Antique” chandelier
European (hidden) hinges
Hooks for hanging copper pots, apron, & straw bag
Kitchen curtains
Copper measuring cups + spoons
Hanging garlic
2 Set soap dispenser (Castille soap in one, dish soap in the other)
Bamboo drying rack

Do you like seeing home updates? Then you’ve got to check out the living room and entryway posts then!

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Carolyn Arentson
Carolyn is the founder and creator behind My Chic Obsession. When she's not dreaming up new content, you can find her watching a funny tv show with her husband, raising her two boys, or planning her next trip to Paris.