With a blog name like Cupcakes and Cashmere, you'd expect Emily Schuman's kitchen to be nothing short of fabulous — and thanks to designer Amber Lewis, it is!

The first renovation project in a new home is always the most exciting (and nerve-racking!), but Amber's expertise helped Emily and her husband, Geoffrey, achieve the look they craved for a price they could afford. Clean lines and classic materials dotted with fashionable flourishes (hello, brass hardware!) put this kitchen at the top of our lust list. See Amber's top tips for nailing the look for less!

Island Living

While Carrara marble might be topping the kitchen trend charts, Amber was quick to warn about its high-maintenance characteristics. If you don't want to spend a small fortune just to have your counter and island tops ruined by red wine, balsamic vinegar, lemon, the wrong type of cleaner (we could go on), then consider an alternative. We're equally enchanted by the gray veining in their Dolomite-topped kitchen island, a much more durable option that looks just as lovely.


Going Gold

If you're like us, then you have to fight the urge to pin every kitchen and bathroom you see with brass hardware. Problem is, the sleek versions in that perfect golden shade are pricey — prohibitively pricey, in most cases. After deciding against more-affordable options that were either too orange-toned or stylistically off, Amber proposed a brilliant solution: find pieces with beautiful shapes, and get them plated at a local shop!

Keeping Your Cabinets

To save money, Amber persuaded Emily and Geoffrey to keep their top cabinets and instead transform them with bright white paint. The new color instantly invigorated the space and allowed them to spend on other high-impact upgrades, like adding white subway tile with platinum-gray grout.

Visit Amber's blog for even more kitchen renovation tips and Cupcakes and Cashmere for before-and-after shots of the kitchen!