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Kitchen of the Week: A Mexico City Makeover in Apple Green

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Kitchen of the Week: A Mexico City Makeover in Apple Green

July 1, 2021

We recently visited Libia Moreno and Enrique Arellano at Utilitario Mexicano, their Mexico City emporium devoted to celebrating humble everyday objects made in their adopted country. After falling in love with their shop, we asked to see where they live. The two—she’s a textile designer, he’s a graphic designer, both originally from Colombia—happened to have recently finished a kitchen makeover and agreed to show us around.”Like everyone, at the beginning of the pandemic we had to be at home more than usual,” Libia began. “The kitchen was something we had been wanting to change but never got around to.”

Their apartment is on the top floor of a 1950s three-story building in Mexico City’s Colonia Roma Sur—around the corner from where the film Roma was made. Six years ago, before moving in, they had taken on the heavy lifting: the existing kitchen with its linoleum cabinets and beige stone counters was moved out of its sequestered space, now the pantry, into the main living area. Removal of the dropped ceiling gained the room nearly two feet and a chevron floor was introduced in a convincing wood-lookalike vinyl.

Accustomed to creating shop displays with graphic punch, the couple finally had time to give their out-in-the-open kitchen ensemble some punch. Take a look at their upgrades, choice street finds included, and scroll to the end for a glimpse of how the setup looked pre-pandemic.

Photography by Enrique Arellano.

since the apartment came with a large living room, libia and enrique transforme 9
Above: Since the apartment came with a large living room, Libia and Enrique transformed it into an all-in-one living space. Their powder-coated steel cabinets with stainless steel counter are by Rallé, a new Mexico City company specializing in modular metal kitchen designs.
libia and enrique decided they wanted steel cabinets after visiting a mexico ci 10
Above: Libia and Enrique decided they wanted steel cabinets after visiting a Mexico City building where the kitchens were “the originals from the sixties, all metal and funky colors.” They were excited to find Rallé, a startup working in a similar style, and note that the cabinets can move with them. They made the hanging bar from a metal curtain rod. The cast-iron pans are Utilitario Mexicano staples. The stovetop and oven are by Teka, and the Luxo-style clamp lights are the Lampara Para Restirador Ajustable from American Lighting.
on the counter, a le creuset pepper mill and sampling of utilitario mexicano&am 11
Above: On the counter, a Le Creuset pepper mill and sampling of Utilitario Mexicano’s enamelware collection. A Utilitario Mexicano Pepita Pot serves as a utensil jar.
settling on a color for the kitchen cabinets took months of deliberation, and w 12
Above: Settling on a color for the kitchen cabinets took months of deliberation, and was inspired by the leaves on the jacaranda trees outside their living room window. Enrique made the knotted rope hanging planters.
libia and enrique couldn&#8\2\17;t decide what to use as a stove backsplash 13
Above: Libia and Enrique couldn’t decide what to use as a stove backsplash—and then they happened upon an enameled metal street sign. Note the fridge—it’s tucked into the space that originally served as the kitchen.
the couple found their table and metal lockers as they were being loaded onto a 14
Above: The couple found their table and metal lockers as they were being loaded onto a garbage truck at their local recycling center: “we jumped out to ask as if they were garbage; they sold it all to us just for the weight: it cost less than $80 USD and is what dictated the style of the house.” The pegboard had previously been used for display in their shop. They keep the clipboard on it to compile funny things that their son, Leon, says.
libia, enrique, and leon, who is almost four. in addition to working with enriq 15
Above: Libia, Enrique, and Leon, who is almost four. In addition to working with Enrique at Utilitario Mexicano, Libia and a partner run Colorindio, a company specializing in handwoven pillows, tablecloths, and other traditional textiles made by eight Mexican communities.
a view of the entry, with the family&#8\2\17;s record collection and a fram 16
Above: A view of the entry, with the family’s record collection and a framed print from the London Transport Museum. The wool rug is the Tapete Triangulos from Colorindio.
the lockers and table were discards from a nearby hospital. they received a goo 17
Above: The lockers and table were discards from a nearby hospital. They received a good cleaning and de-rusting, and the locker bottoms were lined with protective felt.
a view of the living area, including leon&#8\2\17;s play kitchen. the chair 18
Above: A view of the living area, including Leon’s play kitchen. The chairs around the table are Friso Kramer and Wim Rietveld’s 1950 Result Chair currently in production by Hay.
leon sits under a landscape painting from a flea market. during a move the pain 19
Above: Leon sits under a landscape painting from a flea market. During a move the painting got paired with a wet paint sign the couple had brought back from a trip to New York: “it was a beautiful casualty that we decided to leave as is.”

Before

the apartment&#8\2\17;s existing cabinets were brown formica that the coupl 20
Above: The apartment’s existing cabinets were brown Formica that the couple painted white. “Basically, we moved the old kitchen and reused it for six years before moving on.” Follow Utilitario Mexicano @utilitariomexicano.

Some more metal kitchen ideas:

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