Kitchen Confidential
Suzanne Goin and David Lentz's living room
The chefs married last year, but before that David had ditched his small futon-appointed studio to move in with Suzanne. "I knew from the start that the house needed decorating, but I wasn't up to it," Suzanne says. And so the couple called in the cavalry: designer Jeffrey Alan Marks, who makes as many customized pieces of furniture as he buys. "We went to see Jeffrey's house," Suzanne says, "and it had everything we like in it."

Jeffrey tends to use dark wood the way Suzanne uses ingredients—just enough and not too much. He explains that dark lines serve to "ground" a room. Jeffrey painted white window frames black and brought in black tables and chairs to provide a counterpoint for the generally soft palette.

The couple wanted mature but not stuffy, so Jeffrey proceeded with caution when introducing formal pieces.