There are few things that evoke Mediterranean breezes, summer's light and good food with friends and family as much as Italian kitchens. They combine the colors of the Italian countryside--rich reds, oranges, yellows and purples--with stone, terra cotta and copper to create an old-world feel.
Defining the Italian kitchen
Italian kitchens are defined by more than the color scheme. The materials used in Italian kitchens can include rough or aged tile, granite countertops and natural wood cabinets. Strong, bold lines are a hallmark of Italian design. Don't be surprised to find the unusual in an Italian kitchen--hand-painted accent tile, antique pendant lights and gauzy white curtains that can make the rich colors of the kitchen really pop.
Popular features of Italian kitchens
Italian kitchens go beyond earth tones and materials. Expect to see soaring arches, delicate lighting used to highlight small works of art and apron sinks that impart an old-fashioned feel. Italian kitchens often make the stove or range a focal point--if that stove is a retro model that harkens back to the days of cast-iron and wood-fed fires, all the better. Kitchen islands with a tile countertop and a wine rack built in are also common features.
Finally, don't forget the details. Italian kitchens make the most of green plants that bring a dash of the outside in, as well as faucets with an attractive flow, bringing to mind the aquifers and cisterns of the Italian countryside. Open shelves or those with glass cabinet fronts are perfect for showcasing pottery and brightly-colored dishes. Attractive canisters holding a variety of pasta, spices and dried herbs are perfect for adding a homey touch.
How to get started
Start by exploring all the options for your dream kitchen. There are some great ideas at faceyourkitchen.com, and several at oldhouseweb.com. When you have decided on the materials you prefer and the layout you would like to see, it's time to talk to a contractor about making your dream a reality. Use the form on this page to start your research into contractors who specialize in kitchen remodels.