A Look Back | A Kitchen Designer’s Trip To France
The following are excerpts from articles in October 2013, when Peter Salerno, CMKBD, traveled to the French countryside for design inspiration. What he found in places like Oise and Vence informed several of his award-winning kitchen designs. Enjoy!
One of the most beautiful kitchen designs Peter Salerno discovered on his trip to France is a custom blue and white painted kitchen in Oise, a department of the Picardie region of northern France. Located about 19 miles north of Paris, Oise is a beautiful region made up primarily of hills and plateaus, as well as forests and plains, which evoke all the charm and beauty of the French countryside.
With the natural landscape and terrain of the Picardie region in mind, the designer of this kitchen (Sylvie Bisserie, whom you can read more about here) created a light, vibrant kitchen space filled with blues and whites accented with copper kitchenware, utensils and appliances. As the publication Maison Creative explains (translated from French):
“In the kitchen, created entirely by a custom cabinetmaker and painted with light and bright colors, Sylvie chose glazed tiles blue and white tiles that give the space cheer… decorating with rustic utensils and copper kitchen appliances to respond with the red soil creates a beautiful harmony.”
The kitchen space is said to convey “authenticity and conviviality”, an apt description of a lovely space that brought Peter Salerno fresh inspiration to his classic painted kitchen designs.
Peter Salerno’s travels for design inspiration throughout France also brought him to the town of Vence, located in the far southeast of France, in the Alpes-Maritimes department of the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region. The Alpes-Maritimes department directly borders Monaco and Italy to the east and has some of the most beautiful and varied topography in all of France. As its name suggests, the region is characterized mainly by the maritime Alps – but it’s also one of the few French departments to feature a Mediterranean coastline.
The most well-recognized cities in the area are Nice and Cannes; Vence is the 12th-largest town in the Alpes-Maritimes department. Located in the hills between Nice and Antibes, Vence features many awe-inspiring, existing medieval elements – for example, the town’s historic village features a fountain originally built in 1578 and an oak planted in 1538. Other aspects of Vence architecture are even older; portions of the external wall were built in the 3rd century and the town’s cathedral was erected in the 4th century.
Design in Vence is based on open flow between rooms and the usage of beautiful, easy-to-use Vence stone, located not only in the town’s walls but in many of its rustic, gorgeous country homes. In the kitchen above, featured in the outstanding publication Maison Creative (Hors Serie 2, 2013), you can see the implementation of the flat, beautiful Vence stone and the open floor plan. The result is a bright, spacious kitchen that makes full use of the sunny climes of the Alpes-Maritimes region; Nice sees almost 1.5 times as much sun per year as the rest of France.
A white wood-burning fireplace and large windows adorn the kitchen walls, and the long slab dining table ensures there will be plenty of room for good food, great wine, and cherished guests.