Since the style boon of middle Italy’s la dolce vita (the sweet life) through best-selling books and much-viewed movies, the desire for the look of Tuscany has exploded. The popularity of this decor scheme includes the coveted Tuscan style kitchen, the center of most Italian families’ lives, as it is that of North American families and most probably all other countries’ families, as well. So to get the look and the feel that originates from the land of Michelangelo, Da Vinci, and Dante and that is known worldwide for it’s excellent Chianti wine, here are some tips to get you on the right track.
Don’t forget that the homeowners of the original Tuscan style kitchen do not consider themselves wealthy. The kitchens of Tuscan farm wives portray a humble lifestyle and therefore you won’t find $800 majolica vases sitting casually on the kitchen fireplace hearth.
These people, instead, may indeed have a wealth of objects in their kitchens, but almost all of them serve a useful and practical purpose. It is the foreigners who have made the objects in the Tuscan kitchen into art. So keep this in mind when outfitting your kitchen to be in tune with that of the Italians who call this part of Italy home.
What really defines a Tuscan style kitchen, as far as tangible objects, lies more in architectural details than in any knick-knacks placed on counters, tables, or on the walls or floors.
These include flooring that reflects that used in the Italian countryside of this region. Although those of us living in other parts of the world may not be able of getting the exact same materials, we can come close with terracotta tiles, brick, and cement stained in earth-toned hues.
True Tuscan Means Simplicity
Native Tuscans cannot afford ornate tiles, lavishly paneled rooms, or elaborate artwork, so they use what they have on hand: hand-hewn wood beams on the ceiling, inexpensively made plaster for the walls, hand-sewn rugs and tapestries, and simple, strong furniture.
Kitchen fireplaces are common not because of the aesthetic appeal, but because modern kitchen appliances are expensive and considered a luxury. This is what the non-Tuscan needs to keep in mind when trying to emulate the look and feel of a Tuscan style kitchen.
Light plays a large, part, too, in a Tuscan style kitchen. Although the earth-toned hues of the furnishings tend to be on the dark side, natural light from skylights, big windows, and oversized doors brings an airy, open feeling to this style of kitchen. Window treatments are kept to a minimum, if used at all, and are never obtrusive or elaborate.
A Matter of Spirit
A Tuscan style kitchen, for those wanting to emulate that appeal, really comes more from an ambience gleaned from the spirit: simplicity, love of family and home, and placing those things above what the material world can offer.
So if you are really looking for a Tuscan style kitchen, work more on finding in yourself the warmth emitted from a people who thrive on the truly good things in life, not on the decorative items that merely proclaim a style of decor. And then when you add the rusticity of true, Tuscan-like furnishings, why, you’ll feel like you are truly living in the heart of old-world Italy.