I’ve spent the better part of the last four months researching kitchen designs for my on-again-off-again-(maybe)-on-again renovation project in my Paris place. What I’ve discovered: high style comes at low prices in France. The design innovations and space-saving solutions I’ve seen make American kitchens look like something out of 1930—at least what’s affordable and readily available in American kitchen design. And I use the word “design” loosely here.
I spent two hours in the “Espace Cuisine” at Darty Pont Neuf in Paris—a store that’s part Best Buy and part Home Depot (but nothing like either of them)—where I explored more than a dozen demo kitchens. Dazed and drooling I was as I fondled sleek, glass countertops and shiny, minimalist cabinets; I marveled over sculpture-like range hoods and ingenious storage concepts. The kitchens came in every color and finish, size and configuration. And they were all fitted with appliances equally chic and sleek—and equally reasonably priced.
It was a revelation. Chic and cheap. Never could I have imagined I’d be able to afford my dream kitchen, the sort of kitchen I’ve mooned over, my nose pressed against the showroom windows of Boffi, Valcucine and Bultaup. If I were to renovate my New York kitchen in the same high design style as my Paris kitchen, I’d have to go to one of those aforementioned exclusive “Euro” kitchen design stores where they would extort $30-40K from me for the privilege, and that’s before appliances and installation. My Paris kitchen, fully installed, including appliances would be: €11,000 (USD14K)—a puny price by comparison. In France, high style is accessible to everyone, not just the über rich. Maybe it’s owing to their socialist leanings, or that whole liberté, egalité whatsit, but anyway, vive la France I say !
Here, a mere sample of the delirium of design wonderment I snapped at Darty:
Affordable Kitchen Design Resources for the Parisian Apartment
Sure you can spend a fortune in high-design stores in Paris, too, but why, when there are so many stylish options at IKEA prices? And speaking of IKEA, that’s the obvious option #1. Here are a few others to get you started.