Cook Space Full of Cottage Character
“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.
Kathy’s collection of colorful teakettles includes one like this old-timey enameled-steel model.
About $40; overstock.com
This industrial-style high-arc faucet makes dish duty go a lot faster.
About $320; faucetdirect.com
A farmhouse sink was high on Kathy and Chris’s wish list, not just for its classic look but also for its easy-to maneuver-in deep basin.
About $1,000; qualitybath.com
The kitchen gets its feel-good vibe in part from its color palette: gold walls, creamy trim, and a red-and-yellow checkerboard floor.
Armstrong vinyl composition tile, about $1 per square foot, and Valspar paint in Delightful Moon (walls) and Jekyll Club Veranda Ivory (trim), about $30 per gallon; lowes.com
A display-worthy collection of bowls is an easy way to add hits of cheery color.
Solid, about $25 for two, and stripe, about $40 for three; kmart.com
A cast-iron AGA stove costs nearly $15,000. The couple opted for the updated and more affordable AGA Legacy.
About $5,700; aga-ranges.com for dealers
A simple globe showcases an old-fashioned Edison bulb for a warm glow.
About $120; lowes.com
Pair a red-rimmed blackboard with an enameled clock, as the homeowners did, or choose this combo version.
About $130; piperclassics.com
This painted-and-distressed pine box helps keep loaves fresh, while a handy pull-out drawer stows a bread knife within easy reach.
About $120; touchesofcountry.com
Colorful Dish Towels
Mixed stripes and plaids in absorbent cotton are pretty and practical.
Red, about $15 for three, and yellow, about $15 for two; surlatable.com
Jam and Honey Pots
Just add scones! Teatime is more fun with these cheerful condiment jars. Their silicone-topped dippers make contents easy to spread.
About $30 each; lecreuset.com
Kathy and Chris got a deal by ordering two AGA appliances together, which then sat in the dining room for a year while the couple designed the kitchen around them. A French-door fridge works well where space is tight.
About $3,600; aga-ranges.com for dealers
This space-saving spinning spice rack comes with 16 prefilled containers.
About $40; overstock.com
First introduced by KitchenAid in 1919, an enameled stand mixer—this one holds 4.5 quarts—is still an eye-catching countertop accessory.
About $230; target.com
The homeowners selected Shaker-style cabinets with a peppercorn-brown stain, and curved pulls that echo those on the AGA stove and fridge.
Stash spoons and spatulas in an open crock near the stovetop for quick access while you’re cooking.
About $25; surlatable.com
The creamy finish on this upright spring-dial version resembles the white enamel on the couple’s vintage Weylux Queen balance scale.
About $20; amazon.com