clock menu more-arrow no yes

Cook Space Full of Cottage Character

Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

"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.

Shapely Kettle

Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Kathy's collection of colorful teakettles includes one like this old-timey enameled-steel model.

About $40; overstock.com

Pot-Washer Faucet

Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

This industrial-style high-arc faucet makes dish duty go a lot faster.

About $320; faucetdirect.com

Apron Sink

Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

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

Bold Tones

Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn; Inset: Yunhee Kim

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

Mixing Bowls

Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn; Inset: Yunhee Kim

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

Vintage-Look Cooker

Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

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

Clear-Glass Pendant

Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

A simple globe showcases an old-fashioned Edison bulb for a warm glow.

About $120; lowes.com

Message Center

Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn; Inset: Yunhee Kim

Pair a red-rimmed blackboard with an enameled clock, as the homeowners did, or choose this combo version.

About $130; piperclassics.com

Beadboard Breadbox

Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn; Inset: Yunhee Kim

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

Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn; Inset: Yunhee Kim

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

Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn; Inset: Yunhee Kim

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

French-Door Fridge

Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

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

Herb Carousel

Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

This space-saving spinning spice rack comes with 16 prefilled containers.

About $40; overstock.com

Classic Mixer

Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

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

Cabinetry

Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

The homeowners selected Shaker-style cabinets with a peppercorn-brown stain, and curved pulls that echo those on the AGA stove and fridge.

Chrome pulls, about $5 each; build.com. Custom cabinets, visit kraftmaid.com for pricing

Utensil Holder

Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Stash spoons and spatulas in an open crock near the stovetop for quick access while you're cooking.

About $25; surlatable.com

Scale

Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

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