This Traditional Kitchen Features French Countryside Appeal

Old World architecture and antiques fill a Houston kitchen with timeless French flavor.

french inspired kitchen

Kerry Kirk

When Laurin White talks about a dream trip, she gives the familiar phrase an entirely new definition. Returning home from Normandy and Paris, the Alabama-based designer was in a bit of a fog as she set off to create a kitchen for Houston clients Wes and Rebecca Hickey. “It was like I had writer’s block on the design,” she says. Then inspiration came rushing in like the Seine.

blue oven range

Kerry Kirk

“All at once in the middle of the night, I saw the kitchen in my head—the cabinets, the curves, the colors. Everything was there,” White says. “It was the most amazing thing.” Bolting awake, she made a beeline to the computer, transforming her vision into a rendering for the Hickeys. 

“I had been so inspired by Parisian architecture and the French countryside—how homes there withstand the test of time,” White says. “That all came out in my drawing, and Wes and Rebecca were completely on board. They said, ‘Let’s do it!’"

White first framed the cooking and gathering space with a graceful arch whose curves repeat on the kitchen’s doorways and built-in shelving units. White walls and abundant natural light from steel-frame windows set an airy stage for runs of white oak cabinetry juxtaposed by white countertops—quartz on perimeter work areas, quartzite on the island. 

“They have three kids, so there’s lots of drawer space for all the everyday things a family needs,” White says. “But I also gave them open shelves and mesh-front cabinets that provide peeks to their heirlooms and special items.” 

Copper cookware and French tureens are among Wes and Rebecca’s favorites—some wedding gifts, some found. “We wanted everything to mean something to us,” Rebecca says. Serving pieces are showcased in cabinets strategically located near the dining room.

Near the built-in Miele coffee system, mugs and teacups are stowed within easy reach. White oak cabinetry and shelves layer in warmth and an organic feel while brass accents, including mesh grills on select cabinet doors, complement the couple’s copper cookware. 

up close open kitchen shelving

Kerry Kirk

“They’re a young couple, but they’re well on their way to being collectors,” White says. “We all had such fun on antiquing trips around Texas.”

One favorite find is the pair of vintage pendants that hang over the island. White and the Hickeys snapped up the 1940s Paris street lamps at the Marburger Farm Antique Show in Round Top, Texas. “It’s like they were made for our kitchen,” Rebecca says. “You can just imagine where they were—the amazing history they have.”

grid kitchen window

Kerry Kirk

More French flavor comes from a François & Co. mantel and a showpiece Lacanche range. Handcrafted in Burgundy, the range speaks to the kitchen’s French aesthetic—and brings a splash of pretty Delft blue to the neutral space. “I love to cook—it’s my happy place,” Rebecca says. “From the get-go, Laurin and I envisioned a Lacanche range, and we made a pact to convince Wes. Then on Valentine’s Day, he surprised me by ordering the Lacanche. It’s like I’m in France when I’m cooking. It’s such a romantic feeling.” 

Large steel-frame windows bring in verdant views, keeping the kitchen connected to nature. A mix of metals contributes to the collected-over-time appeal of the space. A Newport Brass bridge faucet juxtaposes antique copper and the well-patinaed finish of Parisian street lamps, which White repurposed as island pendants.

open shelving by oven

Kerry Kirk

Above the range, an oil painting adds a further stroke of sentimentality. The work by Antonio Cortes, a 19th-century Spanish artist known for his pastoral landscapes, caught Rebecca’s eye—and her heart—during another trip to Round Top. “I grew up on our family ranch in South Texas, and I showed cattle,” she says. “This feels like part of my roots.”

Uniting past and present, this space is all about function and feeling. “The kitchen is my command center, my place to entertain, my place to gather my family every day,” Rebecca says. “It really is the heart of our home.” 

That makes the kitchen a winner in the designer’s eyes as well. “People are the most important part of a project. You design for them, not the picture on Instagram. It’s special when you really connect with them,” White says. “So while I love the sight lines, the layers, and the textures, my favorite thing is watching the family live their life here. The kids running around, the dog napping in the sun, Wes and Rebecca working together to prepare a meal—it’s so special, literally a dream come true.”

Produced by Margaret Zainey Roux

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