A family-run French bakery and café in the heart of Kenmare, Maison Gourmet is a true labour of love. Owners Patrick and Emma Puech previously ran a successful boulangerie in the Occitania region of southern France, before setting up shop in Kerry five years ago. Business has been booming ever since, with locals flocking to the Henry Street store daily for fresh bread, delicious pastries and organic coffee.
As word of the quality of Maison Gourmet’s French patisserie spread, Emma and Patrick found themselves in need of a larger space to accommodate their growing customer base. EDIT Design Studio was delighted to design a new shop and café area for them, tailor-made to showcase the bakery and café’s authentically French spirit, while also increasing the speed of service.
We came up with a number of design solutions to solve problems with queuing speed and efficiency. Firstly, we reconfigured the existing café design, which had a sit-down area at the front. This space was reimagined in our new layout as a more practical shop and takeaway zone, called Maison to Go. It was fitted with a stylish curved counter, where customers can pay for takeaway coffee, bread and pastries, before moving on to a side counter to add their own milk and sugar, keeping the flow moving. A seating counter was added for any customers who may wish to sit in at the front of the café with their drinks.
In this shop and takeaway area, we used white walls to make the most of an abundance of natural light flooding in from the street. Flagstone floor tiling and wood-and-wicker counter stools at the window bar brought in the atmosphere of airy French kitchen. Everything chef-owner Patrick bakes at Maison Gourmet is handmade from the finest ingredients, with flour and butter imported from France combined with the best local produce. The café design needed to reflect this artisan quality through natural finishes, tactile textures and handmade pieces.
The bread shelving unit with integrated fridge was a bespoke joinery commission, designed to echo the curved lines of the main counter. The colour choice for this shelving and most other key design pieces was based on Emma’s favorite hues of red and yellow – every bakery she has owned in the past has featured different tones of these colours.
Throughout the space, we centred typical French café elements, such as rustic rattan bread baskets and traditional cross-back dining chairs. To catch the attention of passersby on the street, bistro tables in a rich Burgundy beneath a striking canopy complete the outdoor space.
At the back of the café, we devised an intimate dining area capable of seating 30 diners. Since the property has no outdoor space at the back and the room had no natural light coming in, we decided to convert this into a festive indoor garden, wrapping it in wallpaper with a lively foliage and fruit print. An old cast iron fireplace was filled with overflowing plants, becoming a fun focal point.
Back here, richly upholstered banquette seating and plenty of warmly lit nooks create a homely yet refined ambience, at once welcoming and sophisticated. Described by Georgina Campbell’s Ireland Guide as “a little bit of France in the centre of Kenmare”, it’s the perfect place to spend a cosy afternoon chatting with loved ones, sampling everything on Patrick and Emma’s exquisite menu.