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Before & After: A Cookbook Author's Tuscan Kitchen Make-Over

As a Brit living in Sweden - by way of the USA, Scotland and Dubai (scarily, my time abroad outweighs my childhood years in England now!) - I am always fascinated to see the homes of expatriates - and how the cultures intertwine. Emiko Davies is an Australian-Japanese food writer, photographer and cookbook author (her four books include Forentine: The True Cuisine of Florence, Acquacotta, Tortellini at Midnight and Torta della Nonna). Growing up in a diplomatic family, Emiko spent most of her life living abroad. After graduating art school, she ended up in Florence and fell in love with a Tuscan sommelier. Mid pandemic, the pair moved to a new home in a small hilltop town in Tuscany with their DAUGHTERS Mariù (8) and Luna (3). 

Built in 1800, the pair fell in love with the palazzo and its wonderful old tiles, high ceilings with frescoes, wooden beams and 210 cm windows and views over the valley. Plus, it was a few hundred metres from Emiko's favourite butcher as well as an organic produce shop, a good pasticcera and a handful of restaurants. 

Needless to say, the first thing Emiko did when she moved in, was plan and renovate the 220-year-old kitchen! 

Kitchen before

Emiko was thrilled to have a large kitchen (or at least larger than their one in Florence). She was keen to create a practical, reliable and sustainable space - as well as somewhere she and Marco could spread out while cooking. A large dining table would be at the centre - offering a place for friends to sit, and somewhere the girls could play, chat about their day and do their homework while Emiko cooks. 



Kitchen after
Italy was hit hard by the pandemic / lockdown, and Emiko was keen to support local businesses. This led her to Very Simple Kitchen - a young, local kitchen design company in Bologna, who specialise in versatile modules inspired by vintage industrial workbenches. 

The century old table previously belonged to Marco's great-grandfather and had been hidden away in his Mother's attic. It was made by a local carpenter using wood and marble recycled from Angiolino's bar. They cleaned it up, sanded it down and it was good to go! Emiko loves seeing her girls around a table that's steeped in family history. 

The sturdy stainless-steel benches are powder-coated in teal giving the room warmth and the doors hide a dishwasher (Emiko's first!) as well as bins, heavy pots, cutlery and a hidden safety drawer for their vast array of kitchen knives. 

A small room off the side of the kitchen has been converted into a pantry and laundry room. Freestanding shelves provide a spot for their extensive collection of cookbooks. 


Emiko decided to go for a cleaner, modern look without top cabinets - instead, using a rod to hang utensils (and keep them to hand). 

The work surface is made from terrazzo (with peach and green splatters) chosen because it's practical, easy to clean and fairly resistant to stains. Plus, it looks pretty too! 

Emiko and Marco love to cook side by side, so it was important to design a longer worktop they could share. They also chose a larger induction stove from Smeg (a first for Emiko who was looking for a more sustainable and long-lasting option). I have also installed induction stoves (from Bosch) in our kitchen at home and also at the cottage and I'm so pleased with them! 

The cabinetry is built in free-standing units, allowing for a variety of different types of storage. A glimpse into the hallway shows another type of tiling (every room features a different tile!). 

I love this renovation  - and how they kept some of the wonderful details like the tiles (it would have been a travesty to remove those!), plus it looks so warm and relaxed. I can so imagine the family all gathered - Emiko cooking, Marco kneading bread and the girls at the table, how about you?

I'm looking forward to following Emiko's journey to see what they do next in their home! You can find her here over on her blog and also instagram.

Curious to see more kitchen renovation ideas over the weekend? 


Right folks, that's it from me this week! I hope you've enjoyed all the tours! 

We're actually off camping this weekend - my third time ever. The level of kit involved is nuts - but the children are so excited so hopefully it will feel worthwhile once we arrive!  I hope the Swedish weather gods treat us to fair winds and sunshine. And wishing the same for you! 

Vi ses på Måndag!

Niki

Photography courtesy of Emiko Davies

LATEST COMMENTS:

  1. Wow! This kitchen is gorgeous. I LOVE the terrazzo and the hanging utensils. Such a statement.

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  2. Worth Appreciating. Great work.

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  3. The terrazzo countertop! *SWOON* A beautiful tour. Thank you!

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  4. Useful Content. Thanks a lot for the info!

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  5. I am surprised to see the two pieces of the terrazzo countertop just positioned next to each other without any attempt to hide the 'seam'.

    ReplyDelete

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