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

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 14
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.