- Photography by Steve Johnson

Inspiring Kitchens

Since 2002, when we began Homelife, we have had the pleasure of featuring some of the most stunning kitchens in Southern Oregon. Some have been cavernous, others small and precisely designed, but all have captured and delighted our design sense in one way or another.

The design styles we've featured have been as varied as the homeowners. In this issue we take a look at three different styles: French, Asian Chic and Refined Rustic — and we offer some tips on how to achieve those looks. Now, maybe your kitchen isn't quite as elaborate as some of the ones featured here, but the good news is these designs can be adapted to just about any sized kitchen. You're only limited by your imagination.

From Shady Cove to Grants Pass to Ashland to Jacksonville the following kitchens are all beautiful — and all reflect the individuality and creativity of the homeowners.

French inspired

Inspired by frequent trips to France and her thriving art career, this Jacksonville homeowner brought a little bit of Paris back home. Hand-carved wooden bird decoys perch atop the fridge, slightly off-kilter, colorful carved ladies serve as table lamps, and her collection of minuscule Parisian streetscapes painted by a French street artist surround her garden window.

A charming collection of French sauces, exotic sea salts and cooking wines perch on her countertop. Additional paintings and Parisian knickknacks complete the design style.

TIP — how to get the look

  • Textural touches: Animals and baskets are always popular in the French countryside. Look for whimsical collections to display on shelves, counters and walls.
  • Feminine flourishes: Pull your French fancy together with vases and pitchers filled with lavender, roses and other colorful flowers. Like this homeowner has done, display some of your finer oils, salts, and imported sauces in a charming arrangement. At the window, hang homemade curtains made from vintage linen tablecloths.
  • Try to resist Eiffel towers and fleur de lis everywhere. That becomes more of a "theme" than a French design element. Find more subtle ways to create your Parisian look.

Asian Chic Inspired (TELLINI — ASHLAND)

The soft, simple serenity of this elegant and Asian-inspired Ashland kitchen keeps its harmonious feeling with same tone counters and wall paint.

Slightly curved hardware gives the dark cherry cabinetry a softness that combats the linearity of an ice-blue mosaic glass tile backsplash. Counters are kept clear and open and a single orchid is elegant in its Asian inspired simplicity.

NORBY HOUSE - In Grants Pass, the sleek, minimalist approach in this kitchen enhances the built-in elegance. Again, just a simple flower adorns the black granite countertop.

A bold Asian aesthetic comes from a custom hutch poised against the stretch of wall that gains drama from its linearity and deep espresso stain.

Vertical carbonized bamboo flooring opens the space visually by using a flooring tone similar to the cabinetry. The melding colors add harmony to the room as well.


  • A long line of polished river stones down a countertop can create a Zen feeling in the room.
  • Sculptural plants or a single orchid work well for a very minimalist Japanese design.
  • Keep colors from conflicting from one another. Strive for open space and harmony in the design.
  • Learn the very big difference between Japanese and Chinese design so you achieve the look you want.

Rustic Refined Inspired

Wood, water, stone, and glass have come together to create this very large Shady Cove log home on the Rogue River.

As with all rustic refined themes, wood is the star in this kitchen. Light cherry and curly cases match the kitchen cabinetry. Wood warms the walls as well as thrives overhead in over-sized beams. Even the range hood is covered in elegant wood. State of the art stainless steel appliances are warmed by the neutral granite countertops and backsplash and the soft, overhead lighting. Durable, yet attractive wood floors ground the refined rustic style.

TIP — how to get the look

  • Wood, wood and more wood! On a budget? Why not install butcher block countertops instead of granite to create your look.
  • Make interesting collections and frame them nicely to keep the "refined" element. A well-displayed collection of horseshoes, arrowheads, or old time sepia photos can bring the rustic into play.
  • Make your overhead lamps and lighting a little more formal to keep the feeling of the room "refined" and not just "rustic."
  • Wood flooring, even laminate, can help finish the design esthetic that you're going for.

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