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A Kitchen with French Flair

A Dallas kitchen speaks to a love of France—its architecture, artisans, and culinary delights

Written by Sally Finder Weepie

Food is the language of love, they say, and in this house, all that amour has a distinctly French accent.

It’s influenced by the formal French-style exterior of the Dallas home—and by the Francophiles who live here. “She loves French architecture, cooking, and baking,” interior designer Heidi Arwine says. “And she had dreamed of having a La Cornue range. So that was the first order of business—getting the La Cornue ordered.”

But Arwine, who worked in tandem with architect Christy Blumenfeld on the project, didn’t stop there. She and Blumenfeld gave the family a complete La Cornue kitchen with base cabinets that echo the elegance of the copper-trimmed range.

The copper story continues on the trim decorating the custom vent hood and on cookware that fills ceiling-mounted shelves. “The homeowner already owned all of that copper,” Arwine says. “We created the shelves to showcase the pieces that she loves.”

Arwine and Blumenfeld designed the shelves—statement makers in their own right—to work in harmony with new windows. Each shelf aligns perfectly with a muntin to ensure uninterrupted sight lines and light that flows beautifully.

The windows—one on each side of the range hood—were one of Blumenfeld’s big moves during the renovation. The kitchen needed natural light, but Blumenfeld was hesitant to alter the original architecture created by Richard Drummond Davis—until she found Davis’ plans and discovered that the windows were supposed to be there all along. “That was our green light,” Arwine says.

Blumenfeld also switched out a coffered ceiling in favor of exposed beams that add to the kitchen’s rustic French aesthetic. The dark tones of the beams jibe with cabinetry, including an artisan-made dish pantry outfitted with contrasting natural wood doors with metal mesh inserts.

“Everything has a patina,” Arwine says. The table base is an antique lathe from Europe. Its graceful, timeworn form acts as counter-point to new marble that will soon, too, wear history on its surface.

“Marble countertops are a huge part of the French kitchen,” Arwine says. “The homeowner didn’t want to sacrifice that to worries that it would stain. She loves that it will tell the story of her family.”

That story will include many chapters of whipping up delectable treats in the adjacent butler’s pantry/second kitchen, a dream space for a homeowner who “takes baking to new level,” Blumenfeld says.

Here, the push and pull of the palette shifts black to a supporting role on Via Lactea granite countertops and spotlights white on cabinetry and panels that cloak a refrigerator and freezer. Custom hardware gives the look of an old-fashioned icebox.

“The family bakes together, eats together, and hangs out together here—that’s why I love this kitchen,” Blumenfeld says. “It brings them together in a really special way.” 

Photography by Nathan Schroder