An artist crafts a new look for a California bungalow.

By Charlotte Druckman
Updated March 31, 2015

"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 pieces—including 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 It stands on legs, so you can move it around—and 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).