The general openness of this 1970s contemporary home made it wonderful for parties. But its cramped “condo kitchen in an otherwise upscale house” meant that the chef was removed from the action, notes architect Alex Esposito.

Charged with creating a more handsome and functional layout for casual entertaining, Esposito borrowed space from an adjoining area and expanded the kitchen to accommodate a large stainless island. He then introduced a sculptural countertop bar that serves as a transitional element connecting the kitchen to the adjoining communal spaces. A curved drop in the ceiling above the bar is clad in alder veneer to match rich alder cabinetry in the kitchen, dining room, and living room. This same rounded form is echoed in the base of the bar—a sleek half cylinder of wood, steel, and glass—which intersects the flat plane of a vibrant, grape-colored wall. Talk about a focal point.

But that’s not the only dramatic element in this bold redesign that emphasizes symmetry and balance. The dining room, with its vaulted ceilings and skylights, is outfitted with a rolling library ladder providing access to tall storage cabinets (also clad in alder). Its artsy glass tabletop, with color streaks resembling rock striations, was custom designed by the owner, an industrial designer, and fabricated by a local glass shop.

Similar glass features appear in the bar and kitchen backsplashes, complemented by Labradorite granite countertops flecked with electric blue and brown.

Entrant/Architect: Alex Esposito Architects, Southport, Conn.; Builder: American Development, Mahopac, N.Y.; Kitchen designer: Designs for Living, Manchester, Vt.