Where the drab cooktop, microwave, and ovens once hogged space, a gleaming stainless steel range now sets the stage for serious cooking. Surrounded by knotty alder wood cabinets, this area is crowned with a French-inspired plaster-and-wood carved hood that conceals the exhaust vent. On the hood: a hand-painted basket overflowing with fruit and flowers. "Because the surface is sloped, any artwork I placed on it looked awkward so I commissioned a local artist, Janet Fadler Davie, to paint the still life," explains Leslie.
photo: A decorative paint job on the plaster-and-wood vent hood and a patterned tile backsplash look so much better than all beige surrounding the cooktop.