"We have a complete aversion to stainless steel," says Chris Parsons, who grew up around vintage homes warmed by traditional cast-iron AGA cookers in his native England. So when it came time for him and his wife, Kathy, to remodel the hodgepodge kitchen in their 1920 house, two big splurges—an updated dual-fuel AGA range and a matching fridge—set the tone for a cozy English cottage-style space.
The cream-and-black appliances also inspired the color scheme. Sourcing the rest of their materials from home centers, the couple chose cream granite counters with black flecks, and a vent hood and cabinets with a deep-peppercorn-brown finish. "We were buried in swatches for months," Chris says. A checkerboard of buttermilk-yellow and cherry-red floor tiles complements the focal-point range; golden-yellow walls and a red worktable island help brighten the "durable vintage look" the couple was after.
The result is a cheerful space brimming with cottage character. For ideas on assembling a similar look in your own home, read on.