Asa Gilmore

The kitchen was cramped, with a tiny eating area that interfered with the cooking zone. It just didn’t suit the owners, a family of four whose style is casual, even when company’s coming. Contradictory as it sounds, the solution for this small kitchen was a big island. Architect Jack Hawkins came up with a solution that does it all: an island that’s both open plan and gracious, fusing the eating and cooking areas. Made of African mahogany, natural quartz, and waxed steel, the 17-foot island won an award for its smart design. Differing heights between prep and dining spaces allow the different functions to be clearly delineated while being adjacent to each other; seating is possible at both areas. To further open up the kitchen, the rear wall of the split-level house was blown open, replaced by 22-foot-long, triple-sliding glass doors that open onto a deck built flush with the kitchen floor. From the backyard looking in, this big, multitasker of a kitchen island takes center stage, getting the visibility it deserves.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Reno, NV.