Visit | Ilaria’s kitchen

Thank you so much for your patience while we were working on the recent site’s tech issues. I know how frustrating it can be on your end and I promise everything should be back to normal – and even better soon, as we are working on a major site update.

Today, I wanted to share with you the kitchen of Ilaria Fatone. I visited her in Aix en Provence for the book and fell in absolute love with her kitchen. Ilaria is one of the families presented in my upcoming book and she redesigned her kitchen like a maestro. I love the natural wood, the countertops, and the general vibe of this kitchen, don’t you?

Ilaria's kitchen | How the French Live | FrenchByDesign

Ilaria completely remodeled her kitchen, but with a tight budget in mind. She used some standard Ikea cabinets, but asked a woodworker to create simple wooden doors to modernize the ensemble and “personalize” her standard cabinets. She went for Frake/Limba wood, an exotic wood originally from West Africa, and loved the texture so much, she decided to keep it natural. What a brilliant idea! The kitchen has a modern and Scandinavian feel, while staying warm and inviting. I also love all the little details Ilairia added in her kitchen such as the wall wooden boxes or the timeless corian countertops. This kitchen is proof that you don’t have to spend a fortune when you remodel a kitchen.

Ilaria's kitchen | How the French Live | FrenchByDesign Ilaria's kitchen | How the French Live | FrenchByDesign

What do you think? Did you use any [affordable!] genius trick when you remodeled your kitchen?


Photography French By Design ©


Bonus recipe : Homemade French Chouquettes, by Siham Mazouz for French By Design


7 thoughts on “Visit | Ilaria’s kitchen

  1. Si – This is very inspiring. Can you explain what style of IKEA cabinets Ilaria chose. It’s hard to tell from the images if these are deep cabinets or simply drawers? Are the wooden doors a pull out or drop down? I would love to see an interior photo of one of her cabinets. So cool.

    1. Hello @Yvonne! The structure of the cabinets are similar to these from Ikea:

      Then Ilaria just had the woodworker secure the wooden facades, and instead of using any handle, asked him to cut an opening in the wood to use as door and drawer handle.
      I will double check with Ilaria to make sure this is correct and get back to you if I have any more info.

      I just love the simplicity of the idea and I’m thinking of doing a similar set up in my tiny tiny San Francisco kitchen, plywood maybe? ;-)

      Thank you for stopping by @Yvonne!

    2. thank you Yvonne for your message. what Si told is right. these are standard ikea cabinets just with drawers (I just don’t like cabinets with aimple doors, not as practical as drawers in a kitchen). and I asked my carpenter to just cut the openings to put our hands and open them (I don’t like handles either ;-)

  2. We are starting to think about redoing our kitchen. Trying to decide between a full gut or just appliances and counter tops. I’d like a timeless kitchen that will still look up-to-date in 25 years. Not sure that’s possible, so leaning towards the lesser remodel, but our current layout is so bad! :{

    1. Ha, I hear you, redoing a kitchen is full of challenges. My rule number 1 is that my kitchen needs to fit my needs, so whether you go with a cheaper option or a full gutting, keep in mind how you naturally flow in your kitchen. I see so many great looking kitchens that are just not functional to the cook in it! As far as timelessness, I’d recommend soft tones that don’t go necessarily with the ‘trend’. A vibrant blue kitchen is great in 2018, but a soft grey kitchen will look fresh forever. Think also about the natural light coming in, that’s also an important factor. Also, have I look maybe at Devol Kitchens on Instagram [], they share so many great kitchen designs and color ideas! I hope this helps! Good luck @Nancy creating your dreamy kitchen! Xo, Si-

  3. thank you so much Si ! this is the first time I see the pictures you took at home and it’s so good to see my absolute favourite room through your eyes … I can’t wait to see it in print now. xoxo

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