Parisian born Kim Chi Kunn is the co owner of charming independent coffee house maison d’être on Highbury Corner in Islington. Kim initially moved to London to broaden her already impressive seven year experience working in advertising and her plan was to stay for six months then move back to France. Six years later, happily entangled in business and love with super creative Konstantinos Papakostas, looks like she’s here to stay.
Kim took the brave step to leave competitive ad agencies behind when a fun afternoon forage with her partner Konstantinos left them with four and twenty blueberries to bake in a pie and something unexpected happened; Kim just couldn’t stop baking.
Kim comes from a very large family, she has 20 aunts and uncles and about 50 cousins. As a result she has a passion for entertaining and a natural flare for hosting friends and family. She wanted to create a space for sharing her baked goods that was just like being in her living room, a place where you’d be her guest. It took a year of planning and learning while she toyed with words like house, maison, home. A little too shy to have her name up in lights, instead of christening a once unloved shop on Highbury roundabout Kim’s house, she created maison d’être, your home away from home.
Everything in maison reflects Kim’s sense of style and personality. As you enter there is a mirror near the door with little “Home Is........” cards that are filled in by maison d’être visitors.
Look closer and you’ll see, Home is ...... noisy, Home is ...... my bed.
Home is....... where my smile is broadest!
Kim knows all her customers by name and her proudest moments are when the cafe is very busy and things are a bit stressful behind the scenes but a customer still says they are peaceful and at home. She specifically chose to serve coffee from Nude Espresso, an independent roastary on Brick Lane not just because she loves the taste but because Nude is run by Richard and Gerard from NZ and Australia who she counts as lovely and very friendly. The same goes for tea if you went to Kim’s flat and she offered you a cuppa it would only be teapigs, so it only makes sense that that’s what is served in her home away from home.
Kim and her partner live in Hackney but she decided to open maison d’être in Islington because there were already too many great coffee shops in her neck of the woods like The Mouse & de Lotz , where she loves the coffee, the cakes and the people. If you see this gorgeous creature cycling home, heading East via The New River Walk, be sure to crack a smile and give her a wave because she’s definitely making Highbury Corner a more beautiful and homely place.