Show It OffPut your most prized items on display instead of stacking them in a closed cabinet. Austin recommends suspending 2-inch-thick shelving from floor to ceiling; if you like, cover the wall with inexpensive subway tile to add texture to the background. "You can display pottery collections or store a beautiful assortment of brightly colored mixing bowls and glasses, which creates both visual appeal and functional storage," she says.
Got a big budget? Austin's dream kitchen update is one "where contemporary meets couture," she says. Her material of choice is super-smooth glazed lava stone, or basalt, a naturally occurring rock formed from volcanic eruptions. "Lava stone is the pièce de résistance of countertops," Austin says. "Nothing is more beautiful, but it's rarely used, probably because of its cost per square foot [$210 per square foot and up] and shipping cost. I envision it as a glossy, vibrant yellow or green island countertop in a kitchen with simple white Shaker-style recessed-panel cabinetry, a slab of white statuary marble for a backsplash, and an antique wood floor stained a dark coffee-bean color, laid on the diagonal or in a herringbone pattern." Delicious.