"It's cozy without being cutesy," says artist Whitney Cowing of the kitchen in her 1911 Arts and Crafts bungalow in Oakland, California. Relying on her experience as a former restaurant manager, Cowing scoured such places as East Bay Restaurant Supply (800-743-2526) for inexpensive piecesincluding the DHC barstools ($35)that would work with her soda-fountain aesthetic. To get a vintage look, she purchased a 1940s Wedgewood stove (from $4,500 from All Gas Appliances; 510-233-0456) and new opalescent lampshades from Omega Too ($90; 510-843-3636).
The stainless steel cabinet with maple top from John Boos holds pots and pans ($1,330; 888-431-2667 or www.johnboos.com). It stands on legs, so you can move it aroundand it's easy to clean underneath.
Cowing keeps pantry supplies on open shelves because "if something's locked away, I forget about it," she says. A friend, Christiane Jory, made the vintage-style fruit and vegetable magnets that trim the shelves; Cowing gave Jory artwork in exchange ($32 for eight; 323-436-7477).
Cowing likes utensils and glasses to be accessible. She places silverware in canisters ($65), hangs wineglasses on wire racks mounted under the cabinets ($12 from East Bay Restaurant Supply; 800-743-2526) and stores fruits and vegetables in wire baskets from Prize, an antiques shop in Berkeley ($38; 510-848-1168).
"If you want to use color in a kitchen, green is great because it makes food look good," says Cowing, who chose three shades of paint by Benjamin Moore: Cedar Green (2034-40) for the ceiling; Daiquiri Ice (2034-70) for cabinet fronts and walls; and Acadia Green (2034-50) for cabinet trim (800-344-0400).
To enhance the 1940s feel, Cowing made curtains from "Tortolla" cotton cloth ($17 per yard at Poppy Fabric; 510-655-5151). She protected her own oil painting from dirt and grease by coating it with polymer resin so it can be wiped clean (Cowing's art is sold at Bucheon Gallery, from $500; 415-863-2891).
Many of the countertop appliances are chrome. Some are new with a vintage aesthetic, like Cuisinart's "Classic Style" toaster ($110; 800-726-0190). Others are more modern-looking, such as the "Professional" espresso maker from La Pavoni ($800) and the Riviera coffee grinder ($325 from Thomas E. Cara, Ltd.; 415-781-0383).