French Countryside Arizona Kitchen

french countryside Beautiful Kitchens & Baths - Karen Rapp Interiors - French Provence Residence Arizona Interior Designer

AS A CUSTOM HOME BUILDER FOR MORE THAN 40 YEARS, Jerry Meek has helped many clients create their ideal kitchens. Usually, however, they want to start from scratch with a new space—not model it after one they were leaving behind.

“I think this may have been a first for us,” says Meek, president of Desert Star Construction in Arizona.

french countryside kitchen - butchen butcher block counter island

He explains that his clients loved their old home, which he and his team had also built. But with their children now older and on their own, they were ready to downsize to a more manageable space.

Their previous house pulled its themes from 17th-century Europe and could have passed for an old villa in the South of France.

“They wanted that same feel on a smaller scale,” Meek says, “so that defined the whole project, and it’s how we approached the kitchen.”

Indeed, says interior designer Karen Rapp, the new kitchen—like the home itself—is “just like something you’d find in Provence.”

terra cotta ceiling stove hood butcher block counters

French Countryside Home in Arizona

The walls, for example, are hand-chipped limestone, while the weathered wood beams spanning the 11-foot ceiling came from an aging house in Belgium.

The flooring is antique terra-cotta ceiling tiles reclaimed from a home in France, and old-world details like an arched Dutch door make the room seem transported from another time.

antique bonnetiere french wardrobe karen rapp interiors

Carefully carved, dark-stained oak shelves sit on stone corbels next to a plaster hood. And in a corner stands an antique bonnetiere (an 18th-century French wardrobe)—a monument worthy of the desert mountain visible through the kitchen windows.

“That piece is truly beautiful,” says Rapp, who also worked with Meek on the clients’ previous home. “When they bought it, it was in total disrepair, but a master craftsman we like to work with restored it and refinished it.”

The space doesn’t sacrifice function for beauty, however. That bonnetiere holds glassware and dishes, and the range, sink, and refrigerator form a perfect work triangle.


Then there’s the kitchen’s substantial centerpiece: an island the homeowners brought with them from their previous home and had trimmed down to fit the smaller space.

“It has a 2½-inch-thick butcher block countertop,” Meek says. “Like everything in there, it’s meant to be used every day.”The kitchen was put to the test early on when the homeowners threw a party for everyone involved in the home’s construction.

“You could tell they were happy with how it turned out,” Meek
says. “It’s just what they wanted—it feels like home.”


View the original article as featured in the Spring 2019 issue of Beautiful Kitchens and Baths by Meredith Publishing.

WRITER Chris Hayhurst
PHOTOS Laura Moss
FIELD EDITOR Jessica Brinkert Holtam

farmhouse sink curtain skirt


sink faucet

floor plan

open shelving french countryside kitchen

Mixing it Up for an Eclectic Feel

Phoenix Home and Garden Feb 2019 cover

Phoenix Home and Garden Magazine, February 2019

Combining design styles can create an eclectic and elegant look in your home.

By Ben Ikenson

A good rule of thumb in interior design is to choose a favorite style that guides you in making consistent, cohesive choices of individual decorating elements.

If you’re drawn to two disparate styles, such as traditional and contemporary or Southwest and midcentury, however, this approach simply doesn’t apply. But don’t despair—with the help of professional interior designers, you can enlist well-honed strategies to create the perfect mix-and-match look.

“You have to be careful not to end up with a mishmash, and there is a fine line between eclectic and hodgepodge,” explains interior designer and Phoenix Home & Garden Masters of the Southwest award winner Susan Hersker.

“Eclectic is a successful blending of designs, lines, materials and other considerations with a great deal of thought given to the process.” The designer’s rooms frequently include furnishings from different continents, periods and cultures, but commonalities in texture, color and form provide the necessary visual synergies.

Introducing a single, unique item to an existing interior can also take a special touch. Hersker relays an anecdote about a client whose home and furnishings were contemporary.

When the woman inherited a precious heirloom cabinet from her mother—a traditional-style item that was out of sync aesthetically with her sleek interiors—Hersker embraced the piece’s ornateness. Instead of banishing the casegood to a back hallway, she created a custom space for it in the homeowner’s office.

Now set between modern-style built-in cabinets, “it looks like it belongs exactly where it is, as if it was meant to be there all along.”


Dining Room by Karen Rapp Interiors - Phoenix Arizona
A contemporary Moroccan tribal rug anchors this dining room by interior designer Karen Rapp. The serene space seamlessly integrates a traditional table with contemporary chairs, a 400-year-old oil painting above the fireplace and an antique French side table.

Interior designer Karen Rapp, also a Phoenix Home & Garden Masters of the Southwest award winner, shares her primary trade secret for orchestrating cohesion while combining contrasting styles: Focus on scale, proportion and style sensibilities.

For example, she pairs a No. 14 bistro chair designed by Michael Thonet in 1857 with an Eero Saarinen Tulip table created by its namesake Finnish designer in 1957. “The scale and proportions of the chair and the table are the same, so that’s complementary.

Both pieces have curved design elements, and while they’re from different centuries, they have a similar timeless grace and elegance,” says Rapp.

Interior designers often deliberately choose seemingly discordant elements to enhance the personality of a space.

“Mixing styles can add charm as well as change the entire look of a room,” says interior designer Michelle Pierce. To create a hierarchy of styles and keep the ensemble balanced, she follows a 75/25 rule.

She notes, “If 75 percent of your existing furnishings and accessories are one style, say, traditional, you can add in 25 percent of another, such as midcentury, and your space will have a creative vibe but still be cohesive.”

Karen Rapp Interiors eclectic living room
To enhance the large scale of this sitting room dressed with mostly traditional furnishings, Rapp incorporated large pieces of contemporary artwork from the homeowner’s collection. The size of the painting above the sofa table is proportionate to the size of the antique Chinese foo dog collection.

Arcadia Neighborhood Home: Still Farmhouse Chic

KRI-Designed Arcadia Neighborhood Home PINTEREST

Phoenix Home & Garden Cover Nov 2009As documented in a 2009 article in Phoenix Home & Garden, Steve and Shelley Adelson of Phoenix, Arizona purchased a 1950s-vintage ranch style home in the Arcadia neighborhood of Phoenix.

When the bought their home in the 1990s, the idea was to immediately begin a remodel.

But, as it happened, raising their very rapidly growing family of four sons (including a set of triplets!) took a bit of precedence over their house plans.

So, some 10 years later, their remodeling resumed, with the Adelsons now focused on creating a home that was fit for a family of six.

Almost needless to say, the project planning was in an era prior to the advent of social media and internet sites—like Houzz, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook—that today help homeowners plan their projects.

These days, a homeowner can search for terms and hashtags such as “What’s my Style,” “Fixer Upper,” “Farmhouse chic” and “Arcadia neighborhood” and instantly be inundated with thousands of online images.

It makes combing through magazines seems positively “old school.”

But 10 years ago, Shelley Adelson created a real-life mood board to represent her take on what is now called “farmhouse” style. She used a real-life scrapbook—full of magazine tear sheets, fabrics and plenty of inspiration.

The second step in Shelly and Steve’s plan was to assemble a team of creative-minded professionals to bring that scrapbook—that vision—to life.

Team “Perfection”

The original design team for the project included architect Catherine Hayes, builder Nancy Brunkhorst (of Nance Construction) and, for the interior design, Karen Rapp of Karen Rapp Interiors.

Cathy was particularly inspired by the architectural design of the Pasadena, California home, that served as the setting for the popular 1991 movie, “Father of the Bride.”

It was an innovative, timeless decision for the Arcadia neighborhood.

The original construction was daunting: as the Phoenix Home & Garden article noted, the existing residence needed to be razed to the foundation—only the living room chimney was left standing.

For the new construction, Cathy Hayes shifted the orientation to face the street at an angle, enabling the front yard to be expanded and the rooms to be fitted with numerous windows that let in plenty of indirect sunlight, and an optimized view of Camelback Mountain.

Now, a decade or more later, the Pasadena-style home—in concept and conclusion—has stood the test of time and remains a community showplace.

Adelson Arcadia Neighborhood before KRI and Hayes Studio remodel

Front Elevation “Before”

Adelson Arcadia Neighborhood before KRI and Hayes Studio remodel

Front Elevation “After”

Front Entry
Photo by Laura Moss

An authentic “Arras” garden bench that one might easily find in Paris provides a quaint accent to the Adelson home’s entry.

Adelson Arcadia Neighborhood before KRI and Hayes Studio living room

Main Living Room with Fireplace

A set of chairs and a sofa, originally sourced from Argentina, create the perfect ambiance in this light-filled sitting room with a view out toward the yard and pool.

Kitchen and Living Room

The spacious redesign was characterized by the placement of dramatic, whitewashed beams that span the ceilings in the living and dining rooms.

Adelson arcadia french country farmhouse kitchen

Photo by Laura Moss

The comfortable kitchen features some French country touches, including the kitchen backsplash tiles, which replicate famous “French faience” tiles. The tiles are custom-glazed in black, rather than the more customary blue.

dining room hutch - farmhouse french country

Dining Room
Photo by Laura Moss

A grand, glorious buffet and hutch custom-designed by master craftsman Jim Altman is a replica of a Parisian-style bar. It boasts a tile back splash and wet bar, as well as freezer drawers.

adeleson-karenrapp-hayes butler panty

Butler’s Pantry
Photo by Laura Moss

The butler’s panty features a farmhouse sink, Dutch door and concrete floor tiles.

adelesonkarenrapphayes-8 green master bedroom whitewashed trestle arcadia

Master Bedroom
Photo by Laura Moss

The master bedroom is all about femininity, perfect for the wife and mother in an all-male household. The leopard print fabric on the antique bench and bolster pillows inspired the color scheme.

adelesonkarenrapphayes-6 black cabinet clawfoot tub chandelier arcadia

Master Bathroom
Photo by Laura Moss

Garden views and natural light fill the master bath, thanks to the windows above the bathtub and “his” vanity and sink. The masculine black cabinetry provides contract to the daintiness of a petite chandelier, feminine footstool, and traditional claw-foot tub.

Black, White and Gold Bathroom

Following is a partial list of some of the artisans, trades- and crafts-people who contributed to the Adelsons’ home reconstruction:

  • Contractor: Nance Construction
  • Architect: Hayes Architecture & Interiors
  • Interior Design: Karen Rapp Interiors
  • Landscape Architect: Berghoff Landscape Design
  • Plumbing: Clyde Hardware
  • Tile and Stone: Handcrafted Tile Inc., and Craftsman Court Ceramics
  • Floors: Premier Wood Floors
  • Light fixtures: Paul Ferrante and Steven Handelman
  • Window Treatments and Upholstery: Jennifer Van Galder, Maudlin
  • Appliances: Monark (formerly Westar)
  • Cabinetry and butcher-block counter: Desert Cove
  • Custom furniture: Jim Altman

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View the original article by Susan Regan from November 2009. Photography by Laura Moss