Scandinavian simplicity, farmhouse charm

Farmhouse, Farmhouse, Farmhouse—this trend is everywhere! We’ll be breaking down this trend in more detail in a future post, but in the meantime, here’s an example of a kitchen that embraces the mixed-texture vibe of Farmhouse styling while retaining Scandinavian simplicity and plenty of thoughtful, practical touches.


Organically inspired 

With this kitchen’s aged beams and exposed brick, Farmhouse-inspired styling is a natural choice. The cabinetry finishes (warm, natural Cappuccino and soft Chai Latte paint) complement the dark flooring, rustic beams, and multi-colored brick. Overall, I’d say this color palette is almost monochromatic with the features of interest being texture through multiple materials and pattern through the colorful tile. And to create a bit more drama, the kitchen’s hardware, light fixtures, and chairs are showing touches of industrial simplicity.

Multiple textures and patterns require a good balance—too many competing elements can lead to a chaotic, clashing design. One way to create harmony in a multi-textured design is to look for ways to repeat something subtle. Here, we chose Chai Latte for the island and then a similar paint color for the shiplap on the window and refrigerator wall.


The two finishes tie together and the light colored paint brightens up the kitchen so that the rustic elements don’t overwhelm the space.

Seam Smarts = Simple and Sleek

Inset cabinetry adds a level of design difficulty since the face frames are exposed, but if you’re thoughtful and creative when it comes to seam placement, inset’s sleek look can really enhance your design.

Looking for ways to limit the number of different cabinetry pieces is key: in this kitchen, a number of cabinets are custom-quoted to minimize repeating seams.  For example, the base cabinets left and right of the range combine 2 three-drawer stacks into a single cabinet, which eliminated duplicate end stiles. This combination results in a more tailored look, as you may recall from the article on Creative Combos.


You will also notice that the base cabinets around the range (and along the sink wall) include extended end stiles down to add that furniture feel that’s such a particular element of upscale design with semi-custom cabinetry. For the range cabinets, in particular, this treatment gives the cabinets a lovely bureau look. Capturing the appliances in such thoughtful ways also gives the cabinetry a more custom, integrated feel. (And reduces the appearance of the depth on those hefty pro-style ranges!)

If your client wanted to take the furniture feel further, matching overlay panels could be an option.  Adding panels to the refrigerator and freezer would also complement the continuity of an open-plan design. Paneled refrigeration is more easily maintained than stainless steel, by far and away! (I could write an entire article on how much stainless steel is the nemesis in my kitchen…love the look, cannot stand the kid prints x 4!!)

The base combo cabinet to the far right of the sink was also custom-quoted to include a waste bin pullout and two-tiered drawer storage within the same cabinet, saving a little space and eliminating another seam. This cabinet is a two-for-one design success since it gives the kitchen those key functional elements and also the beauty of smart design.


Back on our cooking wall, the exhaust hood is discreetly installed behind the center wall cabinet. On this run, all three wall cabinets are increased to match the depth of the center wall cabinet (required for the exhaust hood), while the left and right cabinets have flush finished bottoms since they’re quite visible. The consistent horizontal line across the top and bottom, and consistent depths, keeps this segment ultra-linear and gives us a bit of a Euro farmhouse feel. You probably already noticed the extra height between the countertop and wall cabinets – which is at 31″. This makes for less practicality in accessing the cabinets, we know, but is intentionally designed for the purpose of showcasing the vintage patterned tile backsplash. (It’s a bit of a give and take of course, but in the end the tile statement became the priority!)

Loxley cherry Cappuccino Burnt Sienna Glaze and Highlight and Amesbury maple Chai Latte Classic

Fashion and Function

Another big part of this kitchen is the plentiful storage, a top priority for homeowners according to the 2018 Houzz Kitchen Study. In particular, integrating pantry storage into cabinetry is essential in spaces without a dedicated pantry closet, and in my opinion, it makes cooking more efficient since ingredients are closer to the work zones. The two tall cabinets that frame the refrigerator/freezer—a pull-out pantry and a tall cabinet with roll-out shelves—both perform a little differently and offer varying degrees of flexibility.

Off to the right, tucked cleverly between the brick column and the window wall, is a counter wall appliance garage. As we pondered our options for this space, we felt it was a great fit for the tricky opening and with a vertical lift door, it makes use of the counter-height space in a way that looks tidy but is still highly functional.

Design Tip!

CupIn designs like the one below, include extended stiles left and right; 1) for scribing to fit between uneven walls/surfaces, and 2) when placed near a window like this to allow the door to clear past the depth of the window sill.


In the overall room photo, you may notice that the cabinets on the refrigerator wall are slightly lower than those on the range wall. This was designed to minimize the overall size of the appliance and pantry section, and allow for display space above. It also shows off a bit more of (everyone’s favorite) shiplap!

On the outside of the island, you’ll notice that we included a set of Euro-style ovens and warming drawers. These are a great choice for adding chef-style cooking features in a smaller scale – they’re each jus 24″ wide! Moving the ovens to the outside of the island can be a functional choice. It’s not for everyone, but for clients who often have multiple cooks in the kitchen, locating the ovens on the outside of the island can ease the traffic flow in the space between the sink and island.


Island end detail


The island ends were created in the field by layering just a few pieces:

  • Empire square columns
  • 3″ and 6″ horizontal solid stock/fillers
  • Deluxe WALL panel (The deluxe wall panel gives me the same height rails at the top and bottom.)
    You’ll notice that the island features those striking X-mullions of the Amesbury door style, another subtle element that seems to be automatically labeled as Farmhouse.

Design Tip: A deluxe end panel in a contrasting door style is a great way to embellish your design with a little extra ornamentation!

The simple kitchen table extends the island in both design and function.  Since it’s not built in, it could be moved to expand seating when entertaining. It’s also a way to extend the work island — if you run out of room while prepping for dinner, you could always move the science fair project further down the table!

Keep it light

With the heaviness of the brick, beams, and tall cabinetry, the stacked open shelves to the left of the windows keep the kitchen from feeling like it’s closing in on you and also speaks to the farmhouse-inspired styling.

And by using edge cap for crown molding we stay true to Scandinavian simplicity while including a noticeable difference that feels more integrated and customized than if no crown is used. (Maybe it’s just me, but I tend to think that unless it’s contemporary design, the crown is a necessary detail that ties the pieces together and makes it feel finished.)

So, as you’ve seen, sometimes a design that appears straightforward on the surface has a lot of planning behind the scenes! In this kitchen, that called for creative solutions that kept the overall look clean and simple without sacrificing any usability along the way.

What are ways you’ve paired contrasting textures in a harmonious way? Have you found other smart ways to create a clean inset cabinetry look with minimal seams?


  1. Duane Becker

    A great article that specifies the small design details and how they improve the overall look or functionality. I will be distributing this. Thank you!

    1. Suzanne DeRusha - Medallion's Design & Trends Expert

      Thanks for your feedback Duane – we appreciate knowing it will be of value to you!

Leave a Reply