Keep it country: nine farm-fresh ideas for your home
Springtime on the farm goes ahead no matter what so let’s celebrate country style
Rachel Chudley’s Bethnal Green kitchen in London, with copper detailing
Rising London decor star Rachel Chudley is making a name for herself with her bold colour schemes and fresh approach. Her kitchen in Bethnal Green, far from rolling pastures, riffs on an older aesthetic where the range was the beating heart of the home. It celebrates the big move forward refrigeration brought to modern mid-20th-century life. Inspired by nearby Brutalist Keeling House, she loves the light and connection with the private yard, through bespoke wooden framed glass doors. The kitchen units are clad in copper, a material that has been prized for millennia for its ability to degrade bacteria. Chudley’s handles and hinges were originally made for fridges in the 1950s. The gloss on the wall is an inky blue, specially designed for her by American colour specialist Donald Kaufman.
For an authentic rustic look that is not hackneyed, check out the kitchen designs by York-based Main Company. The firm uses a lot of reclaimed wood in its projects. The natural tones of the barn board and oak, used throughout this project, surround the kitchen units and combine with blue painted cabinets. The work tops are made of Caesarstone’s light Cloudburst concrete quartz to create a slick sense of space within this period barn. In pride of place is a stainless steel and copper-knob Lacanche range cooker, which is hidden behind the raised surround of the island.
An easy way to tractor your way to the farm is to invest in some of artist Eoin O’Connor’s recent collaboration with Tipperary Crystal. His up-close and personal paintings of curious cows, complete with bright yellow ear tags, have sold well through The Kilkenny Shop and other independent stores and galleries. These striking canvases have been digitally printed onto its cafe range. The artist lives and works in Aughrim, Co Wicklow, where he frames the Irish countryside, using his background in architecture to help form his compositions. But the work is not architectural, in that it is bold, loose and colourful. The new range includes a water jug, €25; a cream and sugar set, €25; a Little Miss Sunshine mug, €10, and espresso or cappuccino cups and saucer sets of four, €40 each; with matching biscuit plates costing €30 for a set of four.
A curtain was a traditional and practical way of creating cupboard doors. It can work really well in a small, scullery-style kitchen where you don’t have a lot of floor space. In the right hands, it can look quite ritzy, especially in those of interior designer Rita Konig. Pictured is a design used in a contemporary fashion that features pin-tuck pleating. The below-sink curtain is topped with on-trend Memphis-style confetti terrazzo and a new black Quooker hot water tap. Fusion, the design that offers hot and cold water as well as boiling water, comes in round or square options. Its sister tap Flex, pictured, has a pull-out round hose and offers hot and cold water-use only. Either design costs about € 1,835 from stockists listed on its website.
Add a dresser
You can’t channel country living without factoring in a dresser . Once prized, many of your antique dressers were exported to the US in the 1980s as old homesteads were emptied. Examples can be seen in the Irish country furniture exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, Dublin. You can see popular choices such as willow pattern platters, mugs and plates, earthenware bowls and jugs, and bowls turned from wood. Neptune has reimagined this piece of furniture to give it a distinctly European accent. The softly painted piece, its Chawton double dresser, €7,010, is designed to be as at home in a farmhouse as in a souped-up semi-d in south Dublin.
Upscale Italian kitchen firm Abimis was recently contracted by a jewellery designer to install its mirror-finish Ego in her Dublin 2 period home. She went for the magpie-worthy, reflective finish, to create contrasts with the classic, cream-coloured Aga range cooker, a type that once typified the country kitchen. It is set into the original inglenook of the room with the surrounding brickwork tiled in a pretty, handmade ceramic tile. The brick breast has been painted a dark, anthracite grey that matches with the flue and range top. The kitchen, has a bevelled flush door, from €8,000 per linear metre.
Barn doors make a feature out of a sliding door and are the antithesis of the subtle, pocket-type sliding door that glides invisibly out of sight. They work well when used to close off a kitchen area of an open-plan room and in ensuite bathrooms. The latter comes with some caveats. This style of door offers very little sound dampening and/or privacy. PC Henderson in Westlink Industrial Estate off Dublin’s Kylemore Road, sells two- and three-metre track kits. Pictured is a three-metre bar with fittings for two doors, which costs about €250. Use only if you have a rustic design scheme; a modern farmhouse or some other iteration of agricultural genre. Tramore-based Murphy Larkin sells a couple of barn door styles similar to these pictured, while Embankment Joinery does a lovely ribbed modern interpretation.
pchenderson.ie; embankment-joinery.ie; murphylarkin.com
For a true country table setting you need the right serve and dinnerware. The new Collection One from Burleigh offers an affordable way to buy into its hot heritage and new designs. At the centre of this photograph is a Pollen side plate, the firm’s first new design in a generation. Under it is a dinner plate from Palisade, by Christopher Dresser, a Victorian designer who worked with everyone from Messrs Tiffany of New York to Minton and Wedgewood. The bold all-over print elsewhere is Hibiscus. Prices start from €17.50 per piece. Alternatively, channel the look by shopping in your own cabinets where you may already have some fine patterned china and stoneware. Break out any cornishware and reuse Stephen Pearse Classic or Shanagarry ranges you have inherited.
The Belfast or butler sink has been in vogue since the 1700s. It was commonly found in the kitchens of the landed gentry, and the robustness of the deep bowl has guaranteed its endurance, giving plenty of room for large items to be washed. You find originals in salvage yards, or another option is to use a water trough, especially a stone original, which can look impressive when set into either a sleek concrete counter top or in a country-style kitchen. You can use this kind of sink in kitchen or utility, as pictured here in a slick design by Martin Moore which starts from about €38,500, excluding delivery from the UK. A less provincial way to work the look is the installation of Blue Provence’s ceramic double basin, €2,950, a design that is available through Tilestyle that will also work in an industrial interior.