This week we take a look at a charming coastal kitchen designed in the rustic Captain Courageous style. Located in a historic home in coastal Massachusetts, this kitchen combines timeless nautical elements with modern conveniences.

Overview of the Captain Courageous Style

The Captain Courageous style is inspired by the maritime history of New England. Named after the 1937 film starring Spencer Tracy, it evokes the romantic yet rugged spirit of life aboard a fishing schooner. Key features include:

  • Use of reclaimed wood, distressed metal, rope, and other nautical materials
  • Open shelving rather than upper cabinets for a lighter, airier look
  • Porthole windows, ceramic tile “flags”, and other nautical accents
  • Cool blues, white, and sea foam green color palette
  • Rustic, farmhouse inspired elements such as butcher block and tin ceiling tiles

This style is perfect for homes near the ocean, lake, or river and pairs seamlessly with cottage, farmhouse, and coastal decors.

Kitchen Layout and Key Features

This Captain Courageous kitchen utilizes an efficient galley layout. Here are some of its standout features:

Rustic Wood Elements

Wood plays a starring role in this kitchen’s decor. The cabinets are crafted from reclaimed barn wood in a weathered grey finish. They feature visible hammer marks, dents, and other imperfections that showcase the wood’s history.

The kitchen island is made from a solid wood butcher block, ideal for chopping, prepping, and serving meals. Its smooth surface contrasts nicely with the distressed cabinets.

Porthole Mirrors

Small porthole windows are placed sporadically across the upper walls. Not only do these accent windows let in natural light, but they reinforce the maritime vibe. Where real portholes aren’t feasible, round beveled mirrors take their place.

Open Shelving

The lack of upper cabinets complements the galley layout. Open shelves along one wall provide space for displaying cookware, antique dishes, and nautical accessories. The visible items bring color and texture to the room.

Tin Ceiling Tiles

The existing tin ceiling was preserved during the renovation. Tin tiles were frequently used in old coastal homes and their patterning lends vintage character. The silver coloring pairs nicely with the blue/green palette.

Penny Tile Backsplash

Behind the stove, the backsplash is clad in aqua penny tiles. Penny tiles are a classic choice for a kitchen backsplash as their small scale provides plenty of grout lines for visual interest. The cool aqua color coordinates with the overall color scheme.

Antique Accessories

This kitchen embraces its coastal New England setting through antique accessories. A driftwood chandelier complete with hanging glass buoys provides primary lighting. The kitchen island contains built-in cubbies for displaying collected shells, seaglass, and fishing gear.

An old lobster trap and oars hang on the walls as decorative focal points. Their distressed paint finishes and visible wear-and-tear add to the rustic ambiance.

Materials and Finishes

The materials and finishes used throughout this kitchen were chosen for both form and function. Here’s a closer look:

Reclaimed Wood Cabinets

As discussed earlier, the cabinets are made from reclaimed wood. Specifically, reclaimed barn wood was used for its weathered patina and rustic texture. The grey washed finish helps unify cabinets sourced from different barns.

Quartz Countertops

The countertops are made from white quartz, selected for its durability, ease of maintenance, and timeless appeal. Crisp white quartz complements the distressed wood finishes.

Subway Tile Backsplash

On the perimeter walls, the backsplash is white subway tile. This classic tile style matches the traditional architecture of the home. Satin nickel grout adds subtle contrast.

Butcher Block Island

The kitchen island is crafted from maple butcher block, providing a thick solid wood prep space. Butcher block is naturally antibacterial and stands up well to heavy use. Occasional re-oiling is required to maintain its finish over time.

Wood Plank Flooring

To balance out all the wood cabinetry, the flooring is simple rift oak wood planks. The light color and smooth finish pair nicely with the coastal color palette. Dark metal vents break up the floor’s visual expanse.

Stainless Steel Appliances

The appliances include a stainless steel refrigerator, gas range, and dishwasher. Stainless steel offers a classic, timeless look and is easy to coordinate with different styles. The satin finish helps reduce the appearance of fingerprints.

Tips for Achieving This Look

Want to incorporate Captain Courageous style into your own coastal kitchen? Here are some tips:

  • Shop marine salvage stores and antique shops for unique nautical accessories like buoys, spyglasses, and ship wheels. Incorporate a few statement pieces.
  • Add porthole mirrors to walls and cabinets to emulate porthole windows. Circular mirrors with antiqued brass finished frames work best.
  • Use reclaimed wood strategically for the cabinets, island, shelves, or ceiling planks. A whitewashed or grey washed finish unifies varying wood types.
  • Incorporate a butcher block island or countertop for functional prepping space. Opt for wood with a natural antibacterial quality like maple or walnut.
  • Add pops of color via penny tile, ceramic fish tiles, or glass floats. Keep the overall palette more neutral to let the accents shine.
  • Distress new materials like metal vents or lighting fixtures using sandpaper. Aim for a well-worn, weathered look.

The Captain Courageous kitchen style allows you to fully embrace the charm and romance of the New England coast. For homes near water, it’s the perfect nautical decor approach.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions about achieving the Captain Courageous style:

What are the best woods to use?

Weathered grey barn wood is ideal for the cabinets and built-ins. For open shelving, butcher block, and furniture, use woods like pine, fir, maple, acacia, or walnut. These are attractive, durable, and naturally antibacterial.

Should I paint or stain the wood?

That depends on the vibe you wish to achieve. A whitewashed or grey washed stain gives a coastal faded look. For a richer scheme, use a natural wood stain in a greyish tone. Painted wood should look aged and weathered.

What colors work well in this style?

Focus on coastal hues like navy, whitewashed wood tones, sea foam greens, corals, sky blues, and sandy beiges. Add contrast with black or brass accents. Keep the overall palette tranquil to emphasize any bright pops of color.

What are good materials for countertops?

Quartz is a great option – durable, low-maintenance, and available in coastal colors. Soapstone, concrete, and wood (as butcher block islands) also pair well with the distressed wood cabinets. Marble is dramatic but higher maintenance.

Should I use open shelving or upper cabinets?

Open shelving lends a breezy, beach house look. It displays nautical accessories and color coordinated dishware. For more enclosed storage, opt for glass faced upper cabinets. Built-in cubbies also add character while housing items.

What type of flooring works with this style?

Wide plank wood floors complement the coastal farmhouse vibe. For a lighter look, use wheat-colored oak, ash, or pine. Or opt for painted wood planks. Woven seagrass or jute rugs add texture.

Final Thoughts

The Captain Courageous kitchen style is both nostalgic and timeless in its appeal. For coastal homes, nothing sets the seaside mood better than reclaimed wood, antique accessories, and ocean-inspired colors. Keep the overall look relaxed, vintage, and evocative of life along the shore. With smart material selections like quartz countertops and quality wood flooring, this style is built to last for years to come. Embrace your inner sea captain!