October 3, 2022

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The Interior Breakfast

Home design: A trip to France provides inspiration for a kitchen makeover

This Norwell kitchen redesign includes some French country touches.Danielle Robertson/Styling by Janine Maggiore/GrandView PropHouse

The longtime owners of this Norwell home installed cherry cabinetry for their last kitchen renovation — 30 years ago. This time around, they looked to France for inspiration. “We incorporated colors and materials with a French rustic aesthetic drawn from the couple’s romantic memories of a trip there,” says Raquel Swartz, founder of Seviva Design. The architectural designer also enlarged the space by absorbing the dining room. “We created a large, open space with natural light and modern updates that feel right at home,” she says.

1 Reclaimed white oak floorboards tie together the two spaces that became the new kitchen. “We eased the transition between this space and the adjacent ones by using similar wood,” Swartz says.

2 Swartz centered the new farmhouse sink on the existing windows, which look to a nature preserve abutting the property. The white oak shelves bring warmth to that corner of the kitchen.

3 The Visual Comfort antique brass pendants connect the kitchen with the antique furnishings in the older, neighboring spaces, while their sleek shape and clear glass keep them feeling modern.

4 The cabinetry, crafted by Wood Decor in Pembroke and painted Farrow & Ball Ash Grey, looks beige, gray, or green depending on the light. “Colors like this kept appearing in the inspiration photos of shuttered cottages and the French landscape,” Swartz says.

5 The crackled appearance of the tiles by Fireclay Tile (Swartz appreciates the brand’s use of recycled materials) is a fresh take on a traditional subway tile. “The gray/green tone mimics the neutral cabinets but the crackle differentiates it,” Swartz says. “You take a second look.”

6 The peninsula is a favorite spot for their visiting grandchildren. The stools’ driftwood finish is an ode to a French rustic aesthetic.


Marni Elyse Katz is a regular contributor to the Globe Magazine. Send comments to [email protected]