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A country-style kitchen in the city centre

28 February 2016

When a team from IKEA in Portugal wanted to test out the new METOD kitchen range, they knew they couldn’t do better than getting a cook’s stamp of approval. So they helped Maria, who runs a catering business from her home in old-town Lisbon, give her tired kitchen a clever update that’s full of character. Here’s the result...

City centre, country-style kitchen
Before: cluttered and chaotic


In Maria’s old kitchen, an uncomfortably tall hob, bulky washing machine, tiny fridge and crowded countertops took away from the pleasure of cooking. Adding built-in appliances and modern functionality while staying true to the character of the 300-year-old apartment was top of Maria’s list of improvements!

Basics at hand


Renovating Maria’s kitchen didn’t mean changing her style, but finding smarter ways to store things. Now she has a built-in hob, there’s space for her most-used oils, seasonings, knives and spoons on the side, right where she needs them.

Wooden wine rack


To accentuate the kitchen’s country style, the team added storage solutions made from natural materials like wood and wicker. They also chose plenty of open shelves and racks to display Maria’s collections of wine, herbs, spices and plates.

Side-table trolleys


Storage and surface space were in short supply in Maria’s old kitchen, so the IKEA team added two small trolleys. ‘I wheel this one to the end of the table to make another cooking station when I need one,’ says Maria. ‘Or use it to keep bottles and bowls out the way.’

Storage with style

‘I wanted to keep the kitchen’s style – the grooved doors, old table, baskets... but add storage. Now with the built-in oven, fridge-freezer and bookcase, it’s more functional and beautiful’

Maria, cook, Portugal

Out-of-the-way lighting


Good directional lighting is important for prepping ingredients and serving up food, but doesn’t have to take up space on a countertop. Lights clipped to shelves can be angled to point wherever’s most useful.

Keep it personal


Keeping her favourite seasonings in an old crate means that Maria can move them to whichever counter or tabletop she’s using in one go, and easily tidy them all away when she’s finished cooking.

Keep it personal


Not all areas of the kitchen have to be completely practical – above her apron hooks, Maria made a display around a portrait of her father. ‘He loved to cook too, and I still follow many of his recipes,’ says Maria.

Maria’s son Antonio helps out in the kitchen

‘My father made me his sous chef when I was very little. And now my son, Antonio, is mine!’



See how Maria and the IKEA designers planned her new kitchen, and watch it take shape.

Made by

Photography: Dan Duchars
Styling: Johanna Flyckt-Gashi