Nothing adds warmth and character to a space like a timeworn piece. The solid surfaces in our kitchen are calling out for us to layer on some warmth. Stone countertops, backsplash tile, stainless steel sinks, appliances... there’s not much softness there! Find a way to add even just a hint of texture or natural materials, and I promise that your kitchen will thank you.
When I style a client’s kitchen, I have five go-to vintage items that simply and naturally inject warmth into today’s streamlined spaces.
1. Antique Bread Boards Raw wood and age-old knife scars open a door for history to step in. Stand a single board upright as a backdrop for a pot of rosemary, or stack multiples on the counter top for easy access as a tray or charcuterie board. Surely, the secrets of the many chefs who used it before you must come with it, right?
2. Vintage Copper Adding the warm rosy glow of copper to a kitchen can’t help but bring back memories of your grandmother’s kitchen. I love the dark tarnish it develops throughout the year as much as I love to polish it back to new every Christmas (I use half a lemon and coarse salt). This time-honoured task has been echoed in kitchens long before mine. I like to think that continuing the tradition breathes some authenticity into an otherwise modern space.
3. Handmade Pottery I always look for one statement piece that I leave on the stove top to catch the eye. An interesting curve adds femininity. A half-dipped glaze shows off textures. And raw earthy colours evoke comfort and ease. The pieces that have the artist's signature on the bottom are of special sentimental value to me, because I recognize the time and talent that went into the making of them.
4. Marble Pastry Slab
Marble has been used for centuries by top pastry chefs and chocolatiers because of its smooth texture and ability to stay cool. While the sophistication of Carrara marble is undeniable, I tend to stay away from using it for kitchen countertops simply because of the maintenance and cost. Rather, I opt for a vintage french pastry slab to roll out pastries. Clean-up is easier this way too!
5. European Linen
Linen is produced from flax, but not all flax is the same. European flax is grown in a wide coastal band of Western Europe with unique environmental factors. A damp ocean climate and rich soil produce long, strong fibres allowing the plant to reach up to a meter in height. These long fibres are woven into linens of the highest quality in the world. You haven’t truly dried a dish, if you haven’t used European linen.
I always have one eye open for any or all of these items - that’s why our shop has a constant and ever-changing supply. Shop online or in person to see what catches your eye, and show your kitchen some love.