CASA PYLA, Kitchens
comments 4

Kitchen makeover in CASA PYLA – phase 1

Following our garden makeover, I’m very excited to share with you today our kitchen makeover in CASA PYLA.

For those who haven’t followed this new adventure on Instagram, earlier this year, we bought a very old house in Pyla, 2 minutes walk from the beach on the French Atlantic coast and 5 minutes walk from Le Moulleau (for those who know the area).

The house initially named “Bagatelle”  (renamed CASA PYLA by yours truly) was in the same family for over 50 years and as we say in French “dans son jus” meaning not much had been done in those 50 years to improve it.

The worst room was the kitchen.
It had a large hood (the only time I had seen something similar was in my great-grandmother house), a very old, chipped ceramic sink, old tiles on the walls, some Ikea kitchen units from the 80s and was looking pretty awful.
While I was planning to freshen up the bedrooms with new paint, we really had to fit in a new kitchen and bathroom to make the house comfortable for our guests.

Sneak-peek of the kitchen after the phase 1 renovations

We signed the deed on my birthday and kicked off the renovations that day.

Our plan was to renovate this house in 3 months to rent it out over the Summer (phase 1 now complete) and kick off the major renovations at the end of September (phase 2).

The house also came with a 40sqm garage which had previously been poorly converted into a commercial space with water, electricity, and toilet.
Ideally, I would like to start converting it into a nice, airy, studio in September. However, due to building permits, this may be delayed. The studio requires a new kitchen and bathroom too. So the kitchen above I designed for CASA PYLA, is the one that eventually will go into the studio.
That way, the budget we spent on redoing the kitchen in the main house is not completely wasted and all the kitchen units and appliances will be re-used.

Why aren’t you leaving this pretty kitchen in CASA PYLA? You may ask yourself…

It’s because we are reconfiguring the whole space and the kitchen is going to be moved at the front of the house and be much larger to cater for 10/14 people. However, I’m really in love with the style and hues of this kitchen.The warm tones and the textured wall make this new kitchen in CASA PYLA a wonderful space to prepare food. So let me take you through what I’ve done…

The kitchen before

The walls were in need of massive TLC. A large, dusty cupboard was blocking the light and so was the large hood which Mila and Steve took down. The IKEA kitchen units were the only “recent” thing in this kitchen.I got my Electrician to upgrade the electric circuit breakers for two reasons: To make sure it was safe for rentals and that it would cope with the additional appliances we were adding (dishwasher, fridge/freezerand washing machine). Once the whole room was cleared, we fitted plasterboards, sanded the walls and filled up the cracks in the ceiling before painting everything.Our kitchen makeover in CASA PYLA Then I painted one wall with lime paint by Kalklitir (keep reading for more info). Above is the first coat of #celadonprimo drying.

My inspiration

If you’ve been following for years, you know that I’m a fan of all-white kitchens.
Our kitchen in London after the renovations was all-white with a wooden worktop (see Grazia’s feature here).
I also redesigned our kitchen in France last June with white units and a beautiful, hard-wearing white Silestone countertop.

As phase 1 of CASA PYLA was only for 3 months until the major renovations, I was keen to experiment with new colours and materials.

Being only two minutes walk from the beach, I wanted CASA PYLA to be a minimalist hideaway with natural tones reflecting the hues of the sanded beaches and landscape nearby.
Obviously, we didn’t do any structural change for phase 1 so I focused on the textures and colours to reflect my vision.
However, I would say that 98% of the objects & furniture I sourced for phase 1 will be used for phase 2 in a more minimalist space.

Moving on from my all-white kitchen phase, I wanted warmer tones, textures, imperfect, handmade objects that would tell a story.

The kitchen units

The kitchen units and fronts are from IKEA. The model name is UBBALT in dark beige but weirdly enough, I can not find it on the UK website.
I was concerned it would be too dark but with the natural light coming from the door, they are perfect.

As this was a 3-month project, I chose one of the most affordable & nicest countertops I could find in Ikea. The ones looking like wood looked really cheap so I went for a matte almost black countertop called EKBACKEN which gave the kitchen a modern, Scandinavian feel.
Once again, I can not find this version on the UK website (really sorry about this!).

The black tap is the Bosjön tap which I found in the bargain corner in IKEA (so far so good).

The Kalklitir textured wall

This textured wall combined with warm tone kitchen units were key to my vision and it worked out better than expected.
I used Celadon Primo from Kalklitir.

Few things to know about Kalklitir lime paint:

  • 1 kg bag will cover about 8 square meters in two layers but I feel two coats is the minimum to start getting a nice textured effect,
  • With Kalklitir, you can paint directly on matt or semi-matt water-based paint,
  • If your wall was previously painted in high gloss paint or with paint containing oils/Alkyds, you should use a primer first. If you’re not sure what you have on your wall, use a primer to be safe.
  • The paint is not waterproof. While water splashes will dry, oil and grease stains will remain which is why it is not recommended to use in the kitchen near the cooking area. I did mine because I knew the kitchen would be destroyed after 3 months. My priority was getting a good background for my stylism. However, I’m keen to use this hue again in the studio’s kitchen on a feature wall. It is really a wonderful background to photograph dark ceramics. You can try using some varnish to make the surface waterproof but this may change the colour and finish of the paint. I didn’t have time to try but I painted some plasterboard samples to test this later on.
  • The paint comes in powder and needs to be mixed with water,
  • It’s fairly easy to apply but maybe more physical because of the X-stroke moves you need to make to achieve the textured effect (I finished that wall in my bra)
  • Darker tones show textures more than light ones.

How to apply the paint to get a textured effect:

  • Buy a large paintbrush with natural bristle (not a roller)
  • There are two methods to obtain a textured effect: “up-and-down” which will give you a more patchy surface, and ‘”X-strokes” which will give you more of a cloudy effect.  I’ve applied the latter.

Watch the X-stroked technique

Watch the “up and down” technique

The other walls in the kitchen were painted with Dulux Valentine Colour Resist paint in pure white as in our bathroom makeover.

Bloomingville tableware

Textured ceramics were also key to the overall look I was aiming to achieve.

In the past, I’ve always gone for white, bone china tableware. However, I find that dark, ceramics are truly fantastic to style food.
I also love the contrast of the earthy ceramics with the clean lines and surface of the kitchen. Minimalism meets imperfection.
The stylish, earthy Kendra Gray collection from Bloomingville was ideal.

Our kitchen makeover in CASA PYLA

All ceramics from Bloomingville except the black salad bowl (IKEA). The natural brush is from La Maison Pernoise

With its beautiful, organic dark tones, it is the perfect tableware to create a stylish table setting on a daily basis. Its dark tones also work beautifully with our Fermob garden set.
Fermob is available from Amara Living in the UK and you can read about our garden makeover here.

Kendra Gray plates (ref 82043440) Kendra Gray bowls (ref 82043438), Kendra teapot (ref 82043445)

Menu lighting

The led Task pendant light by MENU was a major coup de foudre.
Designed by Danish designer Gry Holmskov, it strikes a harmonious, breathtaking balance between function and aesthetics.
I find it’s quite hard to find truly, minimalist ceiling light and this one was exactly what I was after.

Its design makes a statement without ever becoming obtrusive. The pendant’s light intensity and color temperature can be adjusted with an app, making it easier than ever to create the best illumination for the time of day, season, or desired ambiance.

The other thing I love from the MENU collection are these bottle grinders.


And that’s about it. I hope you have enjoyed reading about this makeover. I would love it if you could leave a comment below.

If you fancy spending some time in CASA PYLA, feel free to email me hereThe house is available for holiday rentals, shooting & filming until the end of September 2019. Then will be closed for major renovations to reopen Summer 2020.

It is located in Pyla-sur-mer (45 min drive from Bordeaux airport) and 10 min drive from the beautiful Dune of Pyla.

This article is posted in partnership with Bloomingville, Menu, Kalklitir, Dulux Valentine and contains affiliates links.


  1. De faÿ says

    Article très complet et très inspirant ! Bravo pour cette rénovation très sensible !

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.