In this post, I will show you my kitchen refresh where I took a very beautiful but neutral kitchen and accessorized it first with reds and yellows, and finally with blue and white accessories.
For those of you who follow my Instagram (@drjuliemarshall), you know how much I LOVE accessories. So it would come as no surprise that I would want to accessorize my home as well.
My husband and I recently purchased a new home in La Quinta, California where the kitchen cabinets were dark brown and the kitchen island was quite large and deep. In California, most people decorate in a minimalist style. I, on the other hand, prefer a home with lots of cozy, comfy features as well as lots of colors. I convinced Mr. G. Q. that the way to go was to purchase all the large items such as the kitchen table, chairs, sectional sofa, and dining room set all in neutral colors. Then I planned to use color on all the accessories in our home.
Kitchen Refresh, Before:
When I first saw this kitchen island, I was so excited to have a place for this rooster that I had been eyeing at Sur La Table for several years. Once I put Mr. Rooster on the island, I thought he looked somewhat lonely given the depth of the counter surface. But I decided to focus on the rest of the kitchen…
The next four photos show you my kitchen BEFORE I added any fun accessories. Yikes! The island was huge, the counters were long, and the soffits were high and bare.
You can see from these photos I decided to bring the French Provencal colors of red and yellow into my kitchen refresh by having valances made for my back door, the back picture window, and the window over Mr. G.Q.’s desk. I originally had cafe curtains made which I thought looked great. But unfortunately, my husband hated them and I had to modify them into a balloon valance. Ugh. I thought this looked kind of skimpy as the ceilings are high and the soffits to the cabinets were bare.
Kitchen Refresh, After:
Then I continued by adding red kitchen accessories. As you can see in the next few photos, I found red utensil jars, a tea kettle, a spoon rest, a toaster, a Kleenex box, a treat jar (similar, here), and liquid soap dispensers. I found a red Drink Mate dispenser and a red mixer. Mr. G.Q. was annoyed that all I bought was red stuff. But I liked it.
And then I decided to soften things up a bit with silk greenery. I popped some ivy in two corners and some boxwood in another. Pro-tip: Artificial greenery, if it’s nice quality, is worth its weight in gold as an accent all over your home. It really elevates a look.
I loved the red and yellow colors but I thought the room needed more. I realized that French Provencal fabrics frequently also involve shades of blue as well. And I recently read an article that blue and white ceramic pottery is considered appropriate for all different types of decor.
I decided that I needed more color, texture, and details. Imagine my delight when I found these oilcloth placemats in a cute French store in Carmel, California. I paired them with red cotton napkins and a blue and white ceramic ginger jar, filled with red, orange, and yellow silk tulips. This helped bring the colors down from just the valance onto the off-white pedestal table and chairs (similar here, and here).
For the island, I added a large blue and white ceramic bowl (similar, here), as well as a blue and white vase filled with silk yellow forsythias. This collection of three items looks so much more cohesive. Pro-tip: It is always preferable to arrange items in odd rather than even numbers if possible because the eye finds that more pleasing.
At that point, I thought I was done with the kitchen refresh. I slept on the kitchen appearance for a couple of days. But then, I came up with the brilliant idea that I should also decorate the top of my cabinets.
To the soffits, I also added blue and white ceramic jars to add to the continuity of colors. In addition, to add more texture and softness, I added several large wicker baskets filled with silk ivy. These two touches really made a big difference in making the room look more finished.
A Few More French Kitchen Accessories:
I mentioned that originally I was planning on just using red as my accent color in my kitchen design. But, I realized that the room still needed some warmth after I had placed these red utensil containers and accessories. So that’s when I started experimenting with the wicker baskets, the ivy, and the blue and white items.
I also added a rooster painting from my friend and professional artist, Colleen Parker. It’s a lovely oil painting over my stove with a rick black wood frame. Roosters are a sign of hope, and the beginning of a new day in the French culture.
I decided to add a red and blue-bordered rug to the floor between the dark cabinets and the island. This is a great space for a dark (mostly red) rug (similar, here) because it is soft when cooking barefoot and it doesn’t show stains.
Here are the final photos of my kitchen refresh. It shows the kitchen from the opposite angle as the previous ones and you can see that I carried the ivy-laden wicker baskets and blue and white jars all the way through the design.
Please let me know in the comments below your thoughts on my kitchen refresh. Thanks so much for reading and hopefully, commenting!
Dr. Julie Marshall
PS Here are a few more posts for you to enjoy: