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10 Petite Paris Kitchens by Marianne Evennou, Master of the Bite-Size Design

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10 Petite Paris Kitchens by Marianne Evennou, Master of the Bite-Size Design

October 20, 2023

Let others bemoan the challenges of fitting a working kitchen into a closet-sized space. To designer Marianne Evennou, c’est normal.

Marianne caters to a Parisian clientele who ask her to take on all sorts of remodels, from first apartments to historic townhouses. Celebrated for her masterful use of color and interior windows—and for approaching each project as an assignment in making art practical—Marianne has, along the way, become the master of the mini kitchen.

She never repeats herself but often deploys certain tricks: To make the most of each space, cabinets are custom built—on occasion “if the measures allow it,” her contractors go with money-saving Ikea cabinet skeletons. Cooktops are always induction for a streamlined look, and often just big enough for two pots. Ranges are standard size but often have dual function as microwave ovens. Sinks shrink to 40 centimeter (15.7 inch) squares, “which is more than enough,” Marianne says. Compact fridges—Marianne likes Smeg’s smallest—are concealed under the counter. And vents (not legally required) and dishwashers sometimes have to be sacrificed—”but you can find some very tiny dishwashers.”

Space permitting, Marianne likes to differentiate the kitchen from its surroundings: “Each passage from one universe to another must be felt and provoke an emotion.” Here’s a look at 10 of Marianne’s standout concoctions and some lessons to take away.

Photography courtesy of Marianne Evennou (@marianneevennou). Many of the images appear in her recent book, Un Intérieur à Soi.

1. Cabinets needn’t be blank slates.

in the first months of the pandemic, marianne was contacted by a woman in phila 17
Above: In the first months of the pandemic, Marianne was contacted by a woman in Philadelphia who was dreaming of a Paris pied-à-terre. Miss Rose purchased her studio—a mere 16 square meters (172 square feet)—from a distance, and she and Marianne worked together entirely by Skype. The results include this teeny kitchen.

In general, Marianne doesn’t like the top-heavy look of over-the-counter cabinets, but for storage in this case, there was nowhere to go but up. So Marianne made the solution a point of interest: she enlisted her sculptor/furniture maker husband, Franck Evennou, to create the painted plywood bas relief on the cabinet doors. The combination oven-microwave is a Smeg Victoria. Note the deVol Aged Brass Hanging Rail for suspending key tools. DeVol is also one of Marianne’s favorite hardware sources and supplied the Boho Handles and Classic Knobs. Photograph by Grégory Timsit.

2. A niche can hold all the essentials.

marianne set this kitchen—&#8\2\2\1;too small to pretend to be its o 18
Above: Marianne set this kitchen—”too small to pretend to be its own room”—in an alcove in the living room, and masterfully harmonized the cabinetry with the charcoal half of the two-toned room. Note the painted dark frame around the alcove and the two-tile wide floor.

Here, Marianne went with an open box as overhead storage and hung plinths for displaying ceramics. Photograph by Stefan Julliard.

3. Kitchen tables can be formal—and cozy.

in an apartment where the kitchen has to do double duty for formal entertaining 19
Above: In an apartment where the kitchen has to do double duty for formal entertaining, Marianne slipped in a dining table alongside the stove. With its simple linen tablecloth, patterned backsplash, and gingham sideboard curtain (covering practical storage), this kitchen is presentable day and night. The rattan Dou Lampshade is by Ferm Living. Photograph by Grégory Timsit.

4. Interior glazing is a great solution for a back kitchen.

a half glazed wall divides the kitchen from the living room chez sabine. marian 20
Above: A half-glazed wall divides the kitchen from the living room chez Sabine. Marianne reports that Sabine came to their initial meetings with Ladurée macarons, which inspired the “soft but not cutesy” palette.

Marianne designed the Mosaic del Sur cement tiles and matched them with a Ressource paints powder pink on the upper walls and cabinets. That’s a mini fridge over the oven by Candy. Circular THPG Bakelite light switches and outlet covers crop up like punctuation marks in a lot of Marianne’s projects.

Explore more of the apartment and kitchen details in Sabine’s Pocket Apartment and Steal This Look. Photograph by Grégory Timsit.

5. Kitchens and stairs can be artfully integrated.

with nowhere else to plant the stair, marianne zigzagged it as a piece of sculp 21
Above: With nowhere else to plant the stair, Marianne zigzagged it as a piece of sculpture: “it creates visual animation on the wall and shelters a niche in the kitchen.” Marianne designed the turned wood pendant lights. Photograph by Grégory Timsit.

6. Stairs can even provide kitchen storage.

marianne says she &#8\2\20;loves the idea that piece of furniture can have  22
Above: Marianne says she “loves the idea that piece of furniture can have several functions.” In this 25 square-meter pied-à-terre belonging to a Swiss family, the plywood staircase leading to the mezzanine provides storage for dishes—and elsewhere it serves as a bookshelves and a desk. Go to Blue Streak for the full tour. Photograph by Marie-Pierre Morel.

7. “Being simple is sometimes complicated.”

this design is on the top floor of a 376 square foot duplex and is part of the  23
Above: This design is on the top floor of a 376-square-foot duplex and is part of the living room. Marianne camouflaged upper storage cabinets on either side of the range hood: recessed into the wall, they completely disappear and have storage shelves of varying depths. Marianne relocated the bathroom that was immediately behind the kitchen and turned it into a pantry, which is visible through the interior window.

The countertop is Zimbabwean granite, a favorite of Marianne’s, and the zellige used as a backsplash are from Mosaic Factory. The One-Arm Chandelier is a Wo & Wé design. Marianne cleverly distinguished the living area from the kitchen by applying the terra-cotta flooring in two patterns.Photograph by Grégory Timsit.

8. A counter can serve as a window—and a screen—for a tiny cook space.

tiny kitchen paris by marianne evennou jmp9130 24Above: Marianne built this partially enclosed kitchen for a 16 square meter (172 square foot) apartment. The design is now more than 10 years old and, she reports, still in active use “and doesn’t care about the passing of time or fashion.”

“The only luxury is the choice of white marble as a worktop and wooden cladding on the partition, which,” Marianne notes, acts as “a window and an opening to let the space breathe and offer it to the visitor’s eye.” Tolix Marais Stools stand at the just-big-enough-for-two counter. Kitchen equipment is hidden behind a curtain made of ticking from Paris fabric store  Marché Saint Pierre. Thanks to shared shades of gray, the stripes pair well with the patterned cement tile floor. Photograph by Jean-Marc Palisse.

9. Open storage can be orderly.

for a medical student and her musician brother&#8\2\17;s shared quarters, m 25
Above: For a medical student and her musician brother’s shared quarters, Marianne separated the entry from the kitchen by a steel-framed interior window that overlooks the front courtyard. She concealed the stove vent behind textured glass, and flanked it with open shelves sized for dinnerware, plate rack included. See more in The Ultimate First Apartment in Paris. Photograph by Grégory Timsit.

10. Gem tones work in jewel-box kitchens.

&#8\2\20;this kitchen was designed like a painting surrounded by a black&#x 26
Above: “This kitchen was designed like a painting surrounded by a black  frame,” says Marianne, who cloaked it “from head to toe” in Ressource’s Pompeian Brown.

A vintage Chinese portrait, amethyst curtain (from Marché Saint Pierre fabric), and Carocim cement tiles make this one of our all-time favorite Marianne creations. Photograph by Stephan Julliard.

Many of these apartments appear in Marianne’s recent book Un Intérieur à Soi.

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