Thursday, October 8, 2020

Decorating With French Panetières and Pétrins

Simply put, a panetière is an ornate French Provincial bread box. But like all things French, you can count on more oh là là than that. The panetière is not your average bread box. Pronounced- pan uh tier, these french bread boxes originally were simple perforated wooden boxes containing bread that were placed directly on the table. However that soon changed in the 18th century when Provence led the way in making the panetière more elaborate. In this post we also take a look at their companion piece, the pétrin used for storing dough. Panetières and pétrins are hard to find today and quite expensive if you do. But many of you know my philosophy is that you never know what you might run into at any given time. Sooooo, if you happen to stumble over either one these great pieces at an estate sale or flea market, now you will know what they are. Enjoy!

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At the heart of the French Provincial kitchen sat two utilitarian but stunning necessities.

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 The baking of bread has always been associated with France and, as they usually do, the French elevated this mundane task of bread-making to an art form. And of course they used two lovely furniture pieces to get the job done properly.

The panetière.......

and the pétrin.

And when they were used together, even these two kitchen work horses became lovely pieces of furniture.  The French knew plenty about cooking with style even in the old days. 

Let's start with the panetière

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Let's start with the panetière. After the bread is baked in the fireplace it was then stored in the panetière, which was basically a very fancy breadbox. The panetière hung on the wall to keep rodents as well as hungry children away from it's contents until it could be served on the dinner table.

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 Panetières appeared in Provence in the Southern part of France during the 18th century and then made their way to other areas after World War I. 

The panetière, or breadbox, is considered a highly collectible French antique that represents an iconic symbol of French tradition ......the making of bread.

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Provence led the way in taking this simple wooden box to the next decorative level.

By the 18th century, turned wood spindles and more decorative aprons and cornices began to appear on panetières. But it was the 19th century that saw this formerly ordinary box develop into an elaborate work of art. Turned spindles were added all around to create the case and you began to see corner posts topped with finials in the shapes of acorns and many other forms. 

In the region around Avignon it was common to decorate your panetière by carving motifs designed to glorify the country life such as fruits, vegetables, local leaves and flowers. The image above is a late 18th century example with slated bottom and spindle sides, to allow air flow, and a plank back. Also during this time the addition of small doors and locks were added to help secure these perishable breads and pastries.

And of course the carved wheat motif was a very popular addition to the panetière.

The average size of a panetière can run 30 to 36 inches wide, 16 to 18 inches deep, and 26 to 39 inches high.

The more decorative panetière had a serpentine front and arched top.

You can find painted versions of the panetière......

but usually they are natural wood.

A beautifully carved panetière lends well to the popular French Country style of decorating.

An authentic French Provincial interior with panetière on display.

This French farmhouse interior features several antique provincial pieces including the panetière.

                 If you do not have a pétrin to rest your panetière on, a French chest or table will still give you a great French country look.

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                       1830's Louis Philippe walnut panetière. Today people are using them for wine racks.

Panetières are also being repurposed for use in religious displays which are currently so popular in the old world antiques markets.

Now we turn our attention to the pétrin

This heavily carved, antique dough box was created in France, circa 1790. 

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This French pétrin was a typical sight in the kitchens of France. Dough for bread and pastry was kept in the box for storage until ready for use.

Once ready, the dough would be taken out by lifting or lowering the lid, kneaded on top, and then placed back inside the pétrin to rise more. 

As part of the process of making breads and desserts several batches of dough would be kept inside the pétrin at any given time.

The lid was good for keeping in the warmth needed for rising. Plus unprotected dough was irresistible for mice and could be covered in ash from the fireplace. Some were heavily carved but others were more simple in design.

The pétrin can also be placed in the home for a variety of other uses. Pétrins are many times used as a table for display. You can use this type furniture also as a kitchen island or as a desk for your kitchen.

The pétrin and panetière were normally used together as a necessary unit for baking and storing bread.

A French farmhouse kitchen with a panetière over the pétrin.

Today, you can use the pétrin and the panetière alone or together wherever you need decorative storage.

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Since pétrins were utilitarian furnishings it is hard to find them in good condition.

Antique panetières and pétrins are becoming more scarce with each passing year. The overall condition of both wood and metal is always important,as is the degree of detail and carvings.Those with bombe fronts are particularly valuable, especially when well-preserved.

This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

In the event that I have not credited the correct source of an image, please contact me at and I would be glad to correct it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Decorate An Old World Kitchen With Antique Art


My philosophy: I fully believe in having art in every room in your home. Therefore art belongs in kitchens just as much as it does in living rooms, bedrooms, and dining rooms especially if your kitchen is old world in style. 
At present it is trendy to decorate with art in the kitchen....but that is not why I am doing this blog post. It is a classic look that never really goes out of style, depending on your art of course. Remember trendy art will eventually look outdated where classic art will not. 

It’s said that the kitchen is the heart of a home where people tend to gather to cook, to eat, even to play games so having a comfortable, neat, and cozy kitchen is essential. Since it is a place where a good amount of family time is spent, it is the perfect place to hang some great artwork. Art in the kitchen can transform this room from purely functional, to a charming space full of warmth. And kitchens should be warm and inviting. Who wants a sterile kitchen?

I prefer oil paintings as they automatically warm up a space and give instant old world flavor. Yes, you will have to occasionally clean them with mild soap and water. But that needs to be done no matter what room they are hung in. Whatever YOUR preference is, start collecting some art for your kitchen.

Art is usually not the first thing that comes to mind when decorating your kitchen. And unfortunately, after all the other elements have been placed, art is not even given a second thought. Most homeowners fail to understand that beautiful antique art can make all the difference when it comes to making your kitchen feel like the "heart of the home" that it is.

This second image of Chateau d'emallevlle gives a better view of the lovely old oil painting featuring game and produce.....perfect for an old world kitchen.

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An old world kitchen should be decorated and designed in a way that instantly evokes a sense of feeling welcome, cozy and warm. Art will help with the warm up!

A lovely old world kitchen by designer Axel Vervoordt. Investing in beautiful artwork for the kitchen might not be your first thought when collecting art. But, since we spend so much time in the kitchen, it's makes sense to display your art where people tend to gather.

Even antique art is not so serious anymore making it unnecessary to relegate it to only the formal rooms of the home. Kitchens and bathrooms are perfect spaces to display art. In fact in today's interiors you don't even have to hang your art.

Leaning artwork gives it a more casual, yet elegant, feel and a room like the kitchen benefits from this warmer look. You will see more of this trend in art display in some of the following rooms.

Art creates character in a way that not much else does. Add some to your kitchen by all means!!

James Farmer Designs

Look for places that allow you to work some larger-scale artwork into your kitchen. Large pieces have a way of helping make a small space look bigger.

Timothy Corrigan

I love antique oil figural landscapes because it feels like extending the space to the outdoors. This one pairs itself beautifully to the gardens outside of Timothy Corrigan's Restored 18th-Century French Chateau du Grand-Luc.

Lisa Farmer-Eye For Design

The following three pictures are from my kitchen last Christmas. I have used several oil landscapes plus samplers down the hall leading to the kitchen. This way the kitchen is connected to the art filled area leading up to it.

Lisa Farmer-Eye For Design

I love this big oil painting I found at auction. It has alot to do with warming up the space.

Lisa Farmer-Eye For Design

I have a heart for oil paintings but you can certainly use other types of art. The bottom picture here is actually an antique needlepoint picture of a French woman, her children, and sheep I found at auction and adore. Antique watercolors,lithographs, chromographs, engravings, will also work wonderfully in a kitchen.

When treasure hunting for kitchen art try look for antique oil pastoral settings featuring sheep....

Kristen Buckingham

or even cows. These look especially nice in an old world kitchen.

Or try antique oil paintings with a food or drink theme.....perfect for the kitchen.

The bowl of peaches in this old oil works well colorwise with the great old copper cookware.

This old world kitchen has a lovely oil painting of produce hanging above the door. Don't be afraid to hang your pictures high!! It will make the eye travel up and your walls will seem even taller.

Antique oil portraits bring instant old world charm to every
interior......why not the kitchen!!

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Oil portraits in the kitchen of the late Joan Rivers.

Or you can always use them all together like this great mix of landscape, food themed still life, and portraits which is leaned and showcased on a beautiful brass and marble shelf.

With all the necessities of a kitchen, like appliances, backsplashe, and cabinets, it can be hard to find a place to work in some art. This homeowner did not let limited space stop them. Try some of their ideas.

Kitchens don't have to be large to be transformed into a beautiful space with a collection of antique prints or paintings. Smaller kitchens usually have a cozier feel anyway and the art just enhances the warmth.

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No window above your kitchen sink? Make use of the space and hang a beautiful old painting to give you he feel of outdoors. Maybe a landscape or floral like this one.

Create an interesting art display by working a small framed piece of artwork into an open shelving display or even on the top of any ledge you might have in your kitchen.

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The farmhouse kitchen, has always been a classic old world look and is trendy today as well. An oil painting above the stove and another leaned casually on the counter enhances the authenticity.

Ginny Magher

A stunning old world style kitchen featuring antique art.

Gold framed art is lovely against white or cream walls of the kitchen. Works well with the soft glow of copper!

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If your kitchen cabinets don’t stretch all the way to the ceiling use the top for a display of leaning art.

I love the oil painting of rabbits above the fireplace in this colorful art filled kitchen by Bunny Williams.

Designer Megan Pflug

Dark kitchen counters and walls are popular but a few well placed paintings (especially in gold frames) can really supply the charm factor.

Even a small piece of antique artwork can make the most sleek and modern kitchens feel instantly more cozy.

If you like alot of art try a gallery wall grouping of interesting pieces. Also  a great way to bring color to your kitchen..

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Or if your preference is for just one piece of art to display, invest in quality that will retain it's value.

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You have heard the old saying "the little are mighty". Even a small piece of antique art can shine in the kitchen when styled nicely.

If you want your old world kitchen turned into an aesthetically pleasing and charming family space instead of opting for a purely utilitarian look, antique art can transform it instantly!!

Click here to see the previous post

This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

In the event that I have not credited the correct source of an image, please contact me at and I would be glad to correct it.