Dawn McKenna—a real-estate agent who’s lived in eight different homes during the 24 years she and her husband, Stephen, have been married—possesses a unique eye for possibilities. But even she didn’t immediately recognize the potential in the Chicago-area house she, Stephen, and their four kids call home. “I was the listing agent for this property and held an open house here,” she recalls. “It never occurred to me it would make a perfect house for our family because it only had three bedrooms. But Stephen walked in and immediately fell in love with it. End of story!”

Dawn's easy, breezy attitude perfectly suits her family’s casual cottage lifestyle. “It’s fun to be home here,” she says.

Completely gutted and redesigned, the McKennas' new kitchen showcases Dawn’s talent for creating a casually elegant mood. She eschewed upper cabinets – “too bulky,” she says – in favor of a focal-point range hood fabricated in zinc. She lined the room with vast expanses of timeless marble and open shelves to display her oft-used collections of silver and glass.

To see more photos of this incredibly chic cottage click here.