I’ve mentioned a couple times before that kitchen faucets (along with many other aspects of kitchen design) are starting to resemble industrial, restaurant style kitchens. Stainless steel, versatility, and utility are all the rage. But if you don’t like this sparse modern aesthetic, and you’d rather feel like a home cook than a high-octane chef, you might want to opt for something a little more traditional. If your kitchen tends more toward French country than 5-star modern chic, here are a few traditional kitchen faucets that might be a better fit for your style.
What’s Wrong With Culinary Style?
I don’t have anything against stainless steel – sinks, faucets, and appliances can all look great in steel, but in a traditional kitchen – especially one done in a French country style – it draws attention to itself as being entirely too modern. Stainless steel faucets look great with stainless steel sinks, but less stunning with more traditional fireclay or copper sinks. As well, the minimalist shapes of industrial-style kitchen faucets are at odds with the lush and ornamental style of a French country kitchen. Instead, you want to opt for something like this Bridgeford Faucet from Grohe which has both a more lustrous finish and a more detailed, ornamental design.
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One of the biggest differences between traditional faucets and more modern ones is the shape of the neck. While modern faucets have a simple U or J bend to them, traditional faucets are more elaborately shaped, both curvier and more angular, with more ornamentation at every bend. Something like this Bridge Faucet from Rohl gives you the same depth as a modern faucet, but it takes a more scenic route to get there, giving you a more appealing silhouette that immediately invokes a French country design.
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Secondly, traditional kitchen faucet handles are often quite different from the modern single-lever style. Cross style handles are, of course, the most traditional, but certainly not the only option. This is definitely something to pay attention to, as it can effect the way you use your kitchen faucet. For example, while cross and lever style handles are very traditional, if you’re used to having a single handle control both the hot/cold and the volume of water, you might be better off with a faucet like this New Horizon Faucet from Whitehaus, which allows you the same control as a modern faucet, but with a beautiful, classic ornamental handle.
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Really Ornate Designs
Because French country kitchen faucets are much more ornate than modern designs, they can actually work very well as a centerpiece for your kitchen. Maybe most notably, Herbeau has an entire line of kitchen faucets based on authentic 19th century French designs which not only have beautiful finishes and detailing, but also stunning ash wood handles. I particularly like their De Dion collection (including this De Dion Wall Mount), the handles of which are based on the gear shift of the 1904 DeDion-Bouton automobile. With a completely unique style and historical flair, these faucets are not merely a traditional French choice, but act as a stunning focal point for a French country kitchen.
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What About Functionality?
Now, culinary-style kitchen faucets aren’t in-vogue for no reason. While they might not be the prettiest faucets you can find, they definitely get the job done, and are often more intuitive and more usable than more conventional models. With flexible necks, pull down hoses, adjustable sprayers, and a whole host of other features, restaurant style kitchen faucets are definitely more versatile. But choosing the right faucet can have an impact on on the overall look and feel of your kitchen. In a French country kitchen – or with any traditional style – a gadget-laden faucet will stand out like a sore thumb. Something like this Marielle Faucet from Price Pfister might not have all the same features, but it blends much better with a traditional style, and competes a country style kitchen.
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Getting The Best Of Both Worlds
If you like the look but don’t want to lose the functionality of modern faucets, don’t worry. It’s a little harder to find models with the same features, but not impossible.The most popular (and, I think, important) feature is the pull-down faucet with an integrated sprayer. Many French country kitchen faucets come with separate sprayers, but for full modern functionality, look for something like this Prince Faucet from Danze, with an extending, flexible hose and adjustable sprayer. Not only do you get a more seamless look on your counter top, and greater functionality with your faucet, but also the same great look you want from a traditional faucet.
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