Maria Helm of San Francisco's PlumpJack Cafe creates a welcoming place on a budget.

When Maria Helm married Robert Sinskey, she found herself with a functional but uninviting kitchen. Helm, who cooks at PlumpJack Cafe in San Francisco, and Sinskey, the proprietor of Robert Sinskey Vineyards in nearby Napa, kept to a budget: they splurged on a workhorse of a stove, but they poured concrete for the floors and the counters, faced the cabinets with inxpensive galavanized steel and bought the casings for their recessed lights at Home Depot. A few antiques add warmth and keep the space from looking too industrial.