Design Double-Take: A Rustic/Refined Kitchen Revival


My oldest son, Thing 1, sometimes gets upset when he realizes that that he probably won’t invent anything that is completely new — as in, no one has ever thought of any part of it before. I try to explain that we if all had to invent the wheel each time we wanted to get to a place or build anything, 99.8% of humanity would still be walking everywhere and living in caves or stick huts.

The explanation never seems to make him feel better. Oh well. He’ll have other disappointments in life.

Good design totally builds on/imitates what has come before, so I never judge a new space harshly when I get the feeling of deja vu while looking for  inspirational images. I, myself, am usually looking for something to imitate as a launch pad for a new design!

I take designer deja vu and look for ways to learn. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and I love seeing the creative ways a designer tackles an inspirational idea and makes it totally new for his/her unique space.


The Original and the Revival:  A Rustic/Refined Kitchen

Also, it’s really fun trying to remember/track down where I saw the original space!

Who am I kidding?! It’s like a friggin’ screwdriver in your brain. Like trying to remember where you saw some obscure actor in a movie 10 years ago and can’t sleep for a whole night trying to figure it out!


So you can imagine my delight/pain when I came across this kitchen recently.


Design Double-Take: A Rustic/Refined/Reclaimed Kitchen Revival


The above is by the talented designer Stephen Saint-Onge and was featured on the blog of Cliq Studios, a semi-custom online kitchen cabinetry company that I’ve worked with.


I knew exactly which kitchen it reminded me of, but finding it was another matter. I knew it was from a House Beautiful issue I read from perhaps 10 years ago … before Pinterest really exploded in popularity, so I didn’t know if I was going to be able to find it online or not.

After about half an hour of searching, I found it!


Design Double-Take: A Rustic/Refined/Reclaimed Kitchen Revival


(Please pardon the small pictures; these are all that there are online! Even the pics on the designer’s website are small and uncopy-able.)


It’s a kitchen by Megan Rice Yager. House Beautiful featured it in 2010, but I remember it like yesterday!


Design Double-Take: A Rustic/Refined/Reclaimed Kitchen Revival


I LOVE the richness of the reclaimed walls, the simple taupe cabinets (way before taupe cabinets were super popular), farm sink, industrial faucet …


BTW, here are the sink and the faucet


Design Double-Take: A Rustic/Refined/Reclaimed Kitchen Revival


… the French range (I think it was the first one I’d ever seen. This one also comes in French blue.) …


Design Double-Take: A Rustic/Refined/Reclaimed Kitchen Revival


 … the slip-covered chairs and — OH MY GOSH — the PAINTED, STRIPED FLOORS!!!!


Design Double-Take: A Rustic/Refined/Reclaimed Kitchen Revival


… And, of course, the  patinaed-with-use antique set-back hutch and dining table.


Similar cupboard here.


Back in 2010, we were in our starter ranch house in Nashville. I dreamt of the “forever house,” but I had no idea yet what/where that might be, so I filed Megan’s kitchen away in my memory. I didn’t have any Pinterest pages back then, and I have never been good about keeping paper files.


I feel positive Stephen did exactly the same this for his own kitchen. Let’s revisit.

Design Double-Take: A Rustic/Refined/Reclaimed Kitchen Revival


Reclaimed walls, check.

Taupe cabinets, check.

Dark counters, check.

Stainless appliances, check.

Painted floors, check.

Patinaed surfaces (island top), check.


Design Double-Take: A Rustic/Refined/Reclaimed Kitchen Revival


But then, of course, he totally put his own twist on this look. An island with storage and book space, with the top made from his former dining table.


Design Double-Take: A Rustic/Refined/Reclaimed Kitchen Revival


Hanging posts and vintage tribal runners.


Design Double-Take: A Rustic/Refined/Reclaimed Kitchen Revival


Soapstone, rather than granite, counters and an under mount stainless sink.


Design Double-Take: A Rustic/Refined/Reclaimed Kitchen Revival


Charming built-in open shelves between the posts and beams.


Design Double-Take: A Rustic/Refined/Reclaimed Kitchen Revival


Oranges … not really a design element, but in this weather, we all need our vitamin C!


Design Double-Take: A Rustic/Refined/Reclaimed Kitchen Revival


Stephen really likes fruit!


Design Double-Take: A Rustic/Refined Kitchen Revival


And my favorite part of his kitchen — dining in the “library!”


All images of Stephen’s kitchen via Cliq Studios, except this last which is from Stephen’s website.


Here’s a “Get the Look” for your pinning pleasure!

A Refined Rustic Kitchen


Jet Mist Counters (Sometimes called Vermont or Virginia Mist. This is a soapstone lookalike in granite)

Lantern, Step-back Cupboard

Small Art 1, Small Art 2


Striped Floor Paint (Megan dry brushed the navy over the taupe.)

Chairs (I would stain-proof like this.)

Faucet, Range, Table


Can you tell I have kitchens on the brain? The Handsome Husband and I are working through plans with our architect and GC for our own major renovation that will address the 1970s/90s addition to our 1790 house — kitchen/mudroom/laundry/master bedroom/bathroom.

I’m tentatively titling it “Renovating a Remuddle on a Real Person’s Budget” — i.e. we’re not bulldozing the addition, like most old-house purists would.

We would, too, if we had the extra $. But we don’t. Hence the “Real Person’s Budget.”

We’re beginning in the spring and will have a TON of posts about working through all that. I’ve got tons of inspiration boards and research on products to share with you … just not quite ready yet!


A rustic, refined, reclaimed kitchen


What do you think of designer deja vu? Copy cat or sincere form of flattery? Could you live in a rustic/refined kitchen???






10 thoughts on “Design Double-Take: A Rustic/Refined Kitchen Revival”

  1. I l-o-v-e this (these, lol) kitchen. Especially this time of year- I don’t think I would be as happy during the hot so cal summers when I just want things as light and cool and airy as possible, but hunkered down for the winter in my desert mountain town… yes. Especially the library dining table! How inviting is that! If only every rental cabin copied Stephen’s copy.
    Also very much looking forward to your coming kitchen renovation as compromised with reality and a non infinite budget 🙂

    1. Thanks Julie! A desert mountain town sounds like Heaven! Since I live in snowy New Hampshire, these kitchens are TOTALLY my ideal right now. Not appropriate for my house, unfortunately, but if I had that lake cabin in my dreams …. 🙂

      Excited for my reno! Definitely trying to balance the budget and wants vs. needs and ideal vs. good enough — it’s difficult since soooo many things need to be addressed. Hope you’ll like the series!

  2. Hi Amy,

    Love it! It’s the perfect New Hampshire-rustic-in-the-woods #unkitchen! I can smell all of the delicous aromas and especially the wood burning fireplace during a blizzard! I so enjoyed my son’s fireplace over Thanksgiving at his home in Western Mass. Made me long to have one again.

    xoxo ~ Laurel

    1. Oooo, yes, a fireplace in the kitchen, how wonderful! A number of old houses around here have them, but sadly ours was muddled away at some point in its history. Out of the probably 7 fireplaces our home once had, only one and another mantle are left.

      The Berkshires are so gorgeous — I don’t get over there often enough. One of these days I’ll brave Brimfield. I’m so glad you got to enjoy Thanksgiving there with your family. Thanks for reading!

  3. Sandra P McCurdy

    I also have an 18th century home and would like a soap stone look without having to oil. I would assume the finish would be honed in order to achieve this look? Have you used this granite in any of your projects?

    1. Hi Sandra. I have not yet done a kitchen in Jet (or Vermont or Virginia) Mist granite, but I have seen it in person in 2 kitchens — in one 18th c. and another reproduction home — and I’ve seen it at my stone fabricators. It looks really, really nice. Yes, I would definitely suggest honed.

      If you want veining, however, you might want to check out Silestone’s Charcoal Soapstone quartz pattern. Probably more expensive, though. Hope that helps!

      1. Thank you Amy. I surprised to learn that there is no real advantage of honed granite over soapstone in terms of maintenance. The fabricator requires a signed waiver for long term performance and they suggest reqular sealing of the finish. I am now looking into the silestone as you suggested. Enjoy your blog a lot, especially the excellent practical advice. Thanks!

  4. Wow! Your kitchen look awesome. I love the rustic design that you’ve done over that kitchen of yours. Those open shelves are really one of a kind but what I love the most is your library design dinning. I love books I think I could stay here as soon as I finish reading all the books.

    1. Hi Helen. Glad you like the New England rustic kitchen so much, but I can’t claim credit for it! It is the work of the talented Stephen Saint-Onge. But I coudn’t agree more — I LOVE the library dining.

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