Great light, cottage style, and plenty of room for company―give your cooking space all this, and rave reviews are guaranteed.

White Hot Ideas for the Kitchen
Overhead, strings of lights designed to look like vines hang from iron beams.
| Credit: Ralph Anderson / Styling Lisa Powell Bailey

It's Dinner Party 101:
No matter how fabulous the rest of your house is, everyone ends up in the kitchen. That's where the chef works magic, uncorks the Merlot, and plates the first round of crudités. When Betty Holmes moved into her Austin cottage, the kitchen was small and lacking workspace and storage. Not the best situation for a woman who used to run a cooking school and loves to play hostess. To update her kitchen, bigger would definitely be better.

With Views In Mind
The first step was to add 15 feet to the eating area. More room meant that Betty's pine table could be centered in the room. Instead of windows, French doors span one wall and lead to a patio. "We wanted to let in as much light as we could and get a great view of the garden," says architect Mell Lawrence.

White Done Right
Wide pine boards, nailed horizontally and painted white, give character to the walls. High-gloss white porch paint brightens the wood floor. "Everybody told me I'd regret painting the floor, but I don't," says Betty. "Yes, it gets scuffed, but I like that. It makes the kitchen look like a closed-in porch."

Special Storage
When you have a dish collection as colorful as Betty's, keeping stuff on display is not a bad idea. Patterned place mats lay on shelves near the table. Inside her pantry, a plate rack and hutch showcase plates and partyware. With everything close by, throwing a get-together is less work, more fun. Cheers to that.

"White Hot Ideas for the Kitchen" is from the July 2006 issue of Southern Living.