Shown: The Girl With a Wineglass (1659-60)
1. Install a stained glass window. In Vermeer’s day, stained glass windows were plentiful. Glass was expensive, so windows were made from small pieces of glass held together by lead strips. While stained glass is still made today, it’s often associated with religious buildings or those small decorative artworks held in place by a suction cup.
A stained glass window isn’t just a beautiful piece of art, it’s functional as well. It adds pattern and color, and depending on the glass, it can provide privacy without blocking light.
The stained glass windows in this kitchen are a beautiful focal point and help elevate the other traditional materials in the space.
2. Invest in an Oriental rug. Look at most any Vermeer (or 17th-century Dutch painting for that matter), and you’re likely to see an Oriental rug. Vermeer probably included them to demonstrate his talent in rendering all things intricate. While this one is shown draping a woman’s legs, most in his day were used as table coverings instead of on the floor.
If you don’t like the idea of walking on something so exquisite, hanging a rug on the wall is another way to enjoy its beauty. This one serves as a headboard.
Shown: The Music Lesson (1662-65)
3. Checker your floor. Vermeer’s home clearly had checkered floors, and the plucky pattern also showed off his prowess in expressing perspective and depth in his paintings.
Shown: Young Woman Standing at a Virginal (1670-72)
4. Embellish with a blue and white tile. The city of Delft is renowned for its blue and white pottery. An imitation of Chinese pieces imported by the Dutch East India Company, it’s also known as delftware. The pieces originally had tin glazing, which turned an opaque white when fired. Cobalt blue ceramic glazed patterns were added for decoration. Popular imagery includes windmills, flowers and pastoral figures.
Delftware includes pottery, plates and serving pieces, ornamentals, as well as tile. Here in Vermeer’s painting, delft tile, also known as Dutch tile, is used as baseboard skirting on the wall.
Unless you build a windmill on your property, probably nothing will evoke the aesthetic of the Low Countries more than delft tile.
This kitchen uses delft tile as a full-height backsplash behind the cooking area. It’s a spectacular complement to copper pots too.
Interested in incorporating these ideas into your home?
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