House Tour: Rachel Khoo: cook, writer and genius DIYer

This was one of the most popular posts on the blog this year so I thought you might like another tour to remind yourselves of what a great space Rachel has created. It’s a small flat but she really makes every inch of it work. I particularly love the tables she has created but the folding sliding wall is a thing of genius for anyone who veers between needing more living space but also a spare room. Rachel’s new book The Little Swedish Kitchen is also out now and is full of great recipes many of which were shot in this very kitchen pictured below. 

Today we are going to take a little house tour. This is the live/work space of Rachel Khoo who is known mainly as a cook. And an author. And a broadcaster. What she is not known for is a brilliantly clever knack of designing small spaces. And I think you should all see these. Because maybe you live in a small space. Or your children do. Or maybe you just want to add some clever ideas into your home.

When I went to visit Rachel I had no idea that her house would be so clever. She contacted me through instagram shortly before the book came out and asked I would like to feature on her website Khoollect. Yes. I said. That would be great, I said. She asked if I would like to drop round to her house after she finished a morning’s cookery shoot to bring a copy of the book for a photograph and emailed me a list of questions.

Now I’ll be honest. When I went round I was mainly thinking about cake. And I had seen a couple of pictures of her kitchen and thought it would make a great instagram post. What I was not expecting was to walk into this deep dark hall. There is a full length mirror on the bathroom door to bounce the light around and I was intrigued before I stepped off the doormat.

The kitchen was as lovely as I expected from the images I had already seen, but I had no idea that it was one room that doubles up as Rachel’s sitting room as well. She used to live in Paris and is used to tiny living spaces (and having lived in Paris myself some 30 years ago I can definitely attest to that). However, it’s what she does with the space which is so instructive.

Here you see it empty as it was when the studio was first finished and there was a standard table – on the right in the picture above. However below is the clever bit and the next time I need a table this is how I’m doing it. So you can see there is a brass-topped table below with red legs on wheels?

Rachel bought a couple of hydraulic motorcycle jacks from Amazon and then had a top made from a sheet of brass wrapped round some MDF. She glued the two together and hey presto. A table that can be wheeled in and out of place and adjusted to worktop, dining or coffee table height. She has two, so one functions as a coffee table and the other as a table for two to eat from. On the day I visited they were both working together for lunch.

This is Rachel’s sitting area behind the kitchen and we can just take a moment to appreciate the colour scheme – mint green and burgundy is a variation on the ubiquitous emerald and blush and it works mighty well. She is also enormously lucky – or perhaps not – to live practically next door to Retrouvious which is where her worktops came from and the hall mirror. It would be a disaster for me – I would be shopping every day. Even shoes would take a back seat to that.

But we’re not finished yet with the clever bits. This is the other room in Rachel’s flat. It’s basically a ground floor flat with two good size rooms and the bathroom in the middle. This was two rooms to start with and Rachel knocked it into one.

Then she designed these book shelves with a hidden desk in. There are two so that two people can work comfortably side by side. But then that wasn’t enough. And Rachel decided she needed the space to be more flexible. So she made a wall that pivots.

So on one side it’s desk and shelves which is pushed back against the long hall wall. But then you can spin it round so that it divides the room into two halves. And on the other side of the shelves is this pretty wallpaper. With this bed in a box.

Which folds out to become a single bed. And the the room at the front – which now has the bookshelves in also has a double bed which folds out from the wall. Mind blown yet?

Watch the video below. – which includes a better shot of the tables.  Honestly I was in awe. I was so in awe I left without eating any cake. Yes exactly. The studio is also available for hire for location shoots by the way.

Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. Love this! I live in a small one bed Victorian flat with my 16 year old son, so many ideas here I can try out plus the fact the whole studio is stunning.

  2. First saw RACHEL on little Paris kitchen a wonderful programme, wish did some more .certainly an innovative D,I,Yer , lovely to see what she has done to her flat an inspiration

  3. I have been a fan of Rachel since she cooked in the Little Paris Kitchen some years ago and still wonder why she has not made “the big time”?
    She is full of ideas, creativity and enthusiasm. Now she dashes between Sweden (Swedish husband) and the UK. Rachel is so engaging and a talented cook. I long for her to have a TV series again so hope someone is listening. Loved seeing what she has done in her small flat.

  4. What an amazing and talented individual Rachel is! That is Khool! Inspired on so many levels.

  5. You’ve inspired my Monday, thank you Kate & Rachel! Urgent question – the fold up desks – how to could I achieve that in an existing bookshelf? Mucho appreciation for any tips or how tos!

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