Monday, December 21, 2015

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The Art of French Decorating: Steal the Style of Julia Child's Kitchen


Back in November, Julia Child's former French cottage, known affectionately as "La Pitchoune," or "the little one," hit the market for the first time, listed at around $880,000. The famous chef's stucco getaway was built on the grounds of Simone Beck, co-author of The Art of French Cooking. Child and her husband Paul visited the 1,614-square-foot home every year from the time it was built into the 1990s, with the agreement that ownership would return to Simone and her husband once they were through with it. That happened in 1992, after Simone died.  

The kitchen of La Pitchoune was modeled after the one in the Childs' Cambridge, Massachusetts, home (which you can see on display at the Smithsonian), complete with extra-tall counters
Julia was 6-foot-2and pegboard in lieu of upper cabinets, presumably allowing Child to quickly grab whatever tool she needed, rather than rifling through cabinets. 

No one would describe Child's kitchen as masterfully decorated. It's cluttered and a little bit hodgepodge, with a high-end stainless steel gas stove just a few feet from a rather mundane white dishwasher. But it's also endlessly charming: The pegboard provides the relaxed vibe of open shelving,  the butcher block island is both functional and cozy, and the combination of the emerald-green backsplash and copper-colored terracotta flooring adds warmth and depth.

It's admittedly an unusual color combination for a kitchen, but it's undeniably statement-making, whether the mood of the room is relaxed (like Child's kitchen) or formal (like Cameron Diaz's NYC kitchen; see below).

So how can you steal all the charm of Child's kitchen, while upping its style quotient? 


Traditional: William Morris Vintage, Anemone in Emerald Green Small Square Tile ($16.85 per 6" square tile,

Modern: Glass Subway Tile in Emerald Green by Giorbello ($15.82 per square foot,

Budget: EliteTile Penny Porcelain Mosaic Tile in Emerald ($9.31 per square foot,


Traditional: Solistone Hand Made Terra Cotta 6" by 12" Floor Tile ($9.60 per square foot, Home Depot)

Modern: Salerno Ceramic Tile American Wood Series Red Oak ($1.55 per square foot,

Hint: Try wood-look tile in a herringbone pattern!

Budget: Marazzi Super Saltillo Desierto 12" by 12" Tile ($1.89 per square foot, Regal Floors)


Traditional: Aurora Mills Maple Butcher Block Table ($1,379, OneKingsLane)

Modern: John Boos Work Table with Undershelf ($489.95,

Budget: French Country Small Workcenter ($489.98,

Light fixture

Traditional: Art Deco Antique Pendant Light ($375,
Modern: Cyan Design Vertigo Silver Four-Light Chandelier ($822.50, Bellacor

(Yes, this is a serious departure from the original. But this fixture glams up the space, if that's what you're going for.)

Budget: Camden Medium Federal Style Pendant with Mellon Glass Shade ($278.90,

Storage basket

Traditional: Antique French Square Picnic Wicker Basket with Lid ($136.27,

Modern: Kelby Large Square Lidded Basket ($49.95, Crate & Barrel)

Budget: Birch Lane Large Woven Storage Bin ($39,


Traditional: Knape&Vogt 24" Shelf-Made Images Instant Shelf ($37.99,

Modern: Plank Floating Wall Shelf ($29.62, Walmart)

Budget: Lewis Hyman Venezia Shelf Kit ($23.45,

Mortar and Pestle

Traditional: Antique French Mortar and Pestle ($199, eBay)

Modern: Marble Mortar & Pestle ($99.95, Williams-Sonoma)

Budget: French Kitchen Marble Mortar & Pestle ($29.95, Crate & Barrel)

Now see it all together...





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