Kitchens were isolated rooms in the 1960s, when this one was built in the infamous Watergate complex. That was a double loss, as it also was cut off from a one-of-a-kind view of the Potomac River and the Key Bridge. When the walls came down in a gut apartment renovation, Robert M. Gurney and project architect Sarah Mailhot pulled the kitchen into the living area, making it the glamorous centerpiece.

“Because the kitchen was so open, we made sure it was a very finished piece,” Gurney says. A sleek palette, befitting the building’s pedigree, combines graphite-colored laminate cabinets, white quartz countertops, a walnut bar, and the unifying flourish—a long, ribbed-grain walnut wall that spans the living room, kitchen, and wine room. Half-hidden in an artfully lighted alcove, the wine room visually enlarges the low-ceilinged living area. The bottles rest on aluminum rods mounted on a translucent panel lit from above and behind. “It glows, and becomes a nice thing to look into at night,” Gurney says.

Our judges said the design “separates space in an interesting way.” One added, “It’s hard to tell where the kitchen begins and where it ends.”

Entrant/Architect: Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Architect, Washington, D.C.; Builder: Added Dimensions, Takoma Park, Md.; Interior designer: Baron Gurney Interiors, Washington, D.C.; Living space: 1,250 square feet; Construction cost: Withheld; Photographer: Maxwell MacKenzie.

Product details

Bathroom fittings: Dornbracht,; Bathroom fixtures: Kohler,; Cooktop: Miele,; Countertops: Silestone,; Dishwasher: Fisher Paykel,; Garbage disposer: Franke,; Hardware: Gruppo Romi,

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Washington, DC.