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Decorating My Modern-Rustic Kitchen

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The kitchen. A space, which for me, holds the greatest and most exciting potential for decoration and curation.
A chance to combine practicality with aesthetics; to serve up a slice of your personality alongside dinner! I have always been drawn to spaces that exude character simply through everyday items; that evoke a feeling of homeliness and comfort. And what better space to create those feelings than in the heart of the home – the kitchen.

Elle's modern-rustic kitchen combines practicality with aesthetics | © Elle Hervin - @elle_the_home_bird

It can sometimes be difficult, however, to conjure up that ‘lived in’ feeling, if for example, your house is newly built or lacks ‘character’ in the traditional sense. Our kitchen, with its midnight blue cabinets and quartz countertops is by no means traditional. It could, in fact, be described by some as modern in style. But living in a period property, I wanted a more vintage, or ‘rustic’ feel to my kitchen.

I needed it to be a practical space; one that keeps three hungry boys fed and happy, that allows me to cook family dinners and indulge my passion for (occasionally disastrous) baking. But I also wanted it to be a space that encourages the eye to roam over its curiosities, that initiates conversations and in some way is a reflection of us and our personalities.

Elle Hervin Open Shelving
Open shelving allows Elle to display her favorite kitchenalia... and her Ruffoni Opus Cupra collection, of course! | © Elle Hervin - @elle_the_home_bird

Using open shelving instead of wall cabinets allows me to display all those items which add so much interest to a kitchen; beautiful copper pots (my favourite is the Ruffoni Opus Cupra Gratin), vintage enamel containers and aged chopping boards. Introducing warm wood and copper tones to the space complements the dark cabinets and the kitchen immediately becomes more ‘relaxed’ in style and atmosphere. Flea-market finds, such as vintage stoneware jars and weighing scales, take pride of place on my shelves and countertops. They are useful but also beautiful to look at and I think that is the key to a modern-rustic kitchen. And no curated kitchen is complete without some artwork. I love vintage oil paintings of landscapes and portraits and so have added some small paintings to my shelves.

Elle Hervin modern rustic kitchen
The kitchen color palette includes rich midnight blue, white, copper and natural wood | © Elle Hervin - @elle_the_home_bird

My kitchen will never truly be ‘finished’ because curating this space is an ongoing process which never ceases to bring me pleasure.

I approach the decoration of my kitchen in the same way I would any other room – bringing together elements that complement each other and add interest. The beauty of having a space you can change easily is that you will never get bored of spending time in it – and let’s face it, we spend A LOT of time in our kitchens!

Elle Hervin Opus Cupra Chef PanWood and copper tones complements the dark cabinets for a more relaxed atmosphere | © Elle Hervin - @elle_the_home_bird

My top tips for creating a modern-rustic kitchen:

  • If you can, use open shelving to display items of interest
  • Include artwork in your kitchen – pieces that reflect your personality
  • Practical items like pots, pans and chopping boards should be good quality and beautiful to look at
  • Scour flea markets for old kitchenalia – such as vintage stoneware, earthenware pots or vintage scales and utensils
  • Include a few pot plants or garden herbs for a touch of greenery
  • Treat everyday kitchenware as items of interest – even oven gloves! (Mine are made from a beautiful vintage-style grain sack.)

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Meet the author

Elle Hervin

A former journalist turned full time content creator, writer and interior stylist,Elle Hervin lives on England’s North East coastline with her husband and three boys. Filled with one-of-a-kind, heirloom pieces – and with a color palette spawning from rich, moody blue to natural wood, white, pink and sage green – Elle’s period home is the perfect example of her approach to interior styling focused on making every day living spaces practical yet beautiful.