By Katie Wood
One-of-a-kind design shines bright in the heart of the home.
After design duo Robbie and Angie Cook, owners of gift shop Hester & Cook, moved into their Nashville cottage, they spent the next 12 years working together to create a home that perfectly suited their stylish vintage tastes. What began as a small galley kitchen has since been reimagined into a well-thought-out space that blends modern conveniences and vintage elements with an industrial vibe that makes this space one of a kind.
The anchor of the room, no doubt, is the large commercial island worktable that was salvaged from a school in south Georgia. It wasn’t necessarily what the Cooks had in mind when dreaming up their kitchen, but when they saw the island at market, it was love at first sight. “It wasn’t like I was looking for it, it just kind of found me,” Angie says. “We came across the island, and it just seemed like the perfect piece.”
When it came time to choose flooring, Angie and Robbie knew they wanted tile to create a cohesive look. But just how much tile did they want in their newly expanded kitchen? “We were going to tile the entire floor, but in proportion to the rest of the house we felt it would be a little weird—like half of the house would have been tile,” Angie explains, noting they opted for a rug effect to pull the kitchen together.
And, as anyone in the middle of a home renovation well knows, decision making doesn’t always come easy. The couple had lots of ideas on what to do on the wall where the refrigerator sits, but couldn’t commit to a plan. Maybe they’d do some built-in shelving, or perhaps a desk space, and there was even talk of French doors and expanding further. Finally, Angie found the solution she’d been looking for with glass door cabinets from Restoration Hardware. “They look like built-ins, but they’re temporary. So if we changed our minds we weren’t going to have to rip out anything,” Angie says. “It was a good solution for storage until I decided which direction we’re going to go in.”
The cabinets on the other side of the kitchen are original to the galley layout and got a cosmetic update with a fresh coat of paint, vintage brass doorknob pulls, and a marble countertop. They carried the blue walls found throughout the house into the kitchen, but chose a metallic-based paint for something slightly different. “Something about it makes it feel a little more vintage,” Angie says. “It’s a little unexpected, and I really like that.”
Angie notes that the new, expanded kitchen became a great place to congregate not only for entertaining but also with her husband and their three sons at mealtimes. Though they have a dining room and darling banquette in the butler’s pantry, the metal island takes center stage for family meals. “I prep the meal right there on the island, and then we clear it off and serve the meal there. We just pull up the barstools—there is always a space for everyone,” Angie says. “It makes a great family gathering place. We always make a point of sitting down together at dinner every night.”