For most of recorded history, homemakers fashioned available natural materials into decorative and functional living spaces. Kitchens typically included rock-hewn cooking hearths and fireplaces, floors of wood or paved with local stone, and hammered tin, nickel and copper accessories. You can recreate the rustic, homey appeal of simpler times with a rock and copper kitchen design that’s customized to your personal style, preserving the past while offering all the benefits of today’s modern technology.

Rock Fundamentals

Large, dramatic boulders in hewn-rock archways, and open kitchen fireplaces carved from glacial rock can dominate a kitchen — so may be a good choice for a large kitchen space or a great room. Segment smaller kitchen rock walls with narrow wood beams and copper wall sconces. Local rock, such as western Montana rock, volcanic rock in Hawaii or Petoskey stone in Michigan, provides a dramatic accent to the top triangular half of a wall in a vaulted-ceiling kitchen. Beauty and functionality merge in stone or marble countertops, window wells and backsplashes.

Copper-Toned Fixtures

Besides being plentiful and useful, copper has been a popular metal through the ages because it is so malleable and readily transfers heat, making it ideal for pot-bottoms and teapots. It also gently reflects oranges and reds, providing instant warmth in any room. Choose hanging copper-trimmed kerosene wall and ceiling lamps, or install hammered copper track lighting fixtures in hand-hewn wood ceiling beams to give your kitchen a truly rustic look.

Rock or Stone Flooring

As you plan your kitchen design, consider paving your rustic kitchen floor with rocks or stone instead of installing linoleum or wood. Beautiful and comfortable floor designs include river rocks, pebbles, slate, polished stone and mountain rock. For a lighter look, choose a rock slurry embedded with bits of beach glass, mother-of-pearl and local sea shells.

Copper Accessories

Copper accessories in a rustic kitchen reflect light in warm golds, reds and oranges, and complement while softening the more rugged rock and hewn wood basics that surround them. A simple wood-and-copper hanging rack makes an ideal display for copper-bottomed pots, pans and cooking utensils. Choose copper-tinged nickel-plating for the updated trim on an antique wood-burning cookstove, or a dark copper hood for a built-in stove. A pair of punched-tin and copper wall hangings on a stone wall provide a segue from your kitchen to dining area.

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