I've driven by Kathy Delgado's store, Vintageweave Interiors, a dozen of times. She specializes in amazing French farmhouse style antiques and home decor. I am not sure how I got so lucky to get an invite to have lunch with her and tour her own kitchen, but I did!
When I walked through Kathy's front door I went right to the kitchen, where I promptly ooh'ed and ahh'ed. There are lots and lots of linens, and everything in the kitchen is very tactile. You could spend days looking at all the decor from France!
While Kathy was making a special salad for our time together, we talked about anything and everything like we had been friends for years (we have never met in person before). She had me laughing and practicing her accent, all of which was highly amusing. This is what cooking in the kitchen is all about, I learned: stories, laughter, smiles, beautiful design, and of course, tasty food. Thank you, Kathy, for a truly unforgettable afternoon!
10 Questions for Kathy (and Her Kitchen)
1. When translating a classic French aesthetic for your own kitchen, what are some tips?
To obtain a French aesthetic, I always prefer to stay away from anything that says "Paris" or "France" actually on it; these reproductions scream fake. Rather, buy the best kitchen accessories you can afford from an actual flea market in France or a "Made in France" item. Copper pots, warm woods, and natural linens are mainstays of a French kitchen.
2. What did your kitchen look like before and what were some of the biggest changes to the design?
As the house was built in March 1920 and I'm only the second owner, the original kitchenette was a narrow galley with laminate everything. I utilized the existing plumbing for my bar area and then added on the kitchen as it stands today, designed and built from ground up. To stay consistent with the 1920's California bungalow feel, I was careful not to go too high on my ceilings and to keep the square footage befitting a beach bungalow. Instead of a built-in island, I sketched one out on paper and found a builder in Canada. It has hidden castors so that I may roll it off to the side during large parties.
3. What are some of your favorite details in the kitchen design?
As I had the good fortune of building this kitchen from scratch, there is not one detail that was not chosen out of love. I searched endlessly for hardwood flooring that spoke to me and fell madly in love with this wide-planked Australian Cypress. I ended up putting it in the living, dining and kitchen areas of my home to give an illusion of a much larger space. With California's stringent environmental laws, I was unable to find the high gloss coating I wanted so I mixed my own and added on four coats.
The cabinetry hardware was found in the South of France and I beat it up a bit with a hammer for a more aged look. They were a small fortune so the thought of hitting them with a hammer had my cabinetry architect wanting to have me committed! However, my ultimate love is the countertops. I found large blocks of black granite which I then had honed and chisel chipped the edges; the latter is something my sub-contractor adamantly refused to do. I presented them with a waiver stating that I took full responsibility and was of sound mind in "breaking" the edges, as they called it. For 13 years a photo of my countertops has graced their catalog cover!
4. I love how you took a table runner and used it as a shade for the door. How did you come up with this idea?
Whether designing for myself or my clients, I always prefer to use items not for their intended purpose. As an antique textile dealer, I incorporate textiles I find in France throughout my entire home as standard shades just would never do!
5. What do friends love most about your kitchen design?
Friends love the sink and the stove. I am part of a dinner club and they insist on cooking at my house as often as possible. You will find friends and family gathered around the kitchen island drinking wine at least three times a week.
6. How much time to you spend cooking?
My schedule can get quite hectic if I'm in the middle of a design job, have clients in town, or traveling in France so my home cooking varies. I actually tend to cook more the busier I am as it relaxes me. After a super long day, sometimes making soup or croissants at 2AM is just what I need to relax my mind!
7. What is the most elaborate meal you have cooked in your kitchen?
I've taken cooking classes in Italy and France and most of the European meals are quite simple in nature. Once at a cooking class in Pasadena, California, I learned how to make a type of German meat pie (which I substitute with turkey sausages) which requires everything from scratch and is quite gorgeous in presentation. I often make this dish on New Year's Eve.
8. Since you travel to France often and your aesthetic clearly represents your travels, what are your biggest French cuisine indulgences?
I'm a foodie so my research of French restaurants is quite vast. Coq au vin (Le Toulouse in the 6th Arr of Paris), beurre croissants (pretty much anywhere in Paris, but I'm partial to Au Levain du Marais in the 11th), and a proper French roasted chicken (LA BASTIDE DE L'ODÉON also in the 6th Arr) are my must-haves on every single trip. When my hankering on any of these gets intense, I know I'm due for a trip across the pond! I believe exceptional food can actually call your name!!
9. Best cooking advice or tip you ever received:
I always say "Do I have so many chef clients because I'm such a foodie or am I such a foodie because I have so many chef clients?" I'm blessed to be around some of the best professionals in the business. Chef Ludo LeFebvre (see Ludo's home kitchen tour here) did brave the path of using duck fat to make fried chicken and that pretty much changed my life's chapter of comfort food.
10. Is the design finished? Are there any pending projects that would complete your dream kitchen?
As it goes with great cooking, I'm a big believer in buying the absolute best you can afford and not substituting cheaper alternatives. I do plan to tackle finding the perfect tile backsplash above the stove soon. The kitchen will have an addendum outside with the installation of a fireplace pizza oven at some point, too! Saving for these projects has proven a bit tough when a proper croissant in Paris keeps calling my name!
Resources of Note:
- Refrigerator: Sub-Zero
- Range: Dacor
- Dishwasher: Miele
- Cabinetry: Custom sketched by owner and designed by Kitchen Studio Naples
- Hardware: La Rue, Paris France
- Flooring: Australian Cypress, Australia imported
- Apron Sink: Shaws Original, England
- French Doors: Custom
- Island: Custom designed by owner, created in Canada
- Curtains (runners): Vintageweave interiors, designed in France
- Speakers/sound system: Bose
- All accessories, oil painting, sketches and architectural pieces: Imported from France, Vintageweave Interiors
- White Pottery bowl: Cote Bastide, France
- Plates: Arte Italica, Italy
- Apron: Cote Bastide, France
- Stools: Xavier Pouchard, France
- Pots: Le Creuset, France
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(Images: Marcia Prentice)