Survey after survey reveals that a big well-equipped kitchen is what really sets new homes apart from resales. Homelink really delivers on this score, with a warm kitchen design that includes many progressive features.

The kitchen connects to the outdoors with a screened porch complete with a gas fireplace. Perfect for dining, the space could be used six months a year in this climate. This would also be a great place for young children to play during meal prep.
The kitchen connects to the outdoors with a screened porch complete with a gas fireplace. Perfect for dining, the space could be used six months a year in this climate. This would also be a great place for young children to play during meal prep.

With the Integrated Home Services' (a division of Whirlpool) Web tablet, a remote touchpad control center, one can view and set the status of the appliances. For example, the tablet controls the refrigerator temperature, programs the dishwasher, and checks the status of any Internet-enabled appliance--including servicing diagnostics. If this kitchen is high-tech, it's also high-touch. Innovative storage solutions from Merillat's Organomics program abound. Utility cabinet roll-out racks and trays eliminate bending. The sink area, with its cutting board kit and under-sink tote, simplifies meal prep and clean up. Spice drawer organizers provide easy chef access.

There's a lot happening in this kitchen, but it all works. The brick stove surround, wood floors, industrial-style chrome faucets from Price Pfister, a collection of light and dark Merillat cabinets, stainless steel and black Whirlpool appliances, and black and white countertops create an old-world luxury charm.
There's a lot happening in this kitchen, but it all works. The brick stove surround, wood floors, industrial-style chrome faucets from Price Pfister, a collection of light and dark Merillat cabinets, stainless steel and black Whirlpool appliances, and black and white countertops create an old-world luxury charm.

This earthy kitchen also is innovative for what it doesn't have--a nook. Designed for meal preparation and entertainment, it features a four-seat breakfast bar, where kids and guests can sidle. The dining room was reserved as the primary eating area. Meals can also be taken most months of the year in the morning room, a screened porch off the kitchen that almost feels as though it's in the woods.

Contrasting cabinet finishes, in dark cherry and light oatmeal, create the eclectic feel of an unfitted kitchen. "I wanted some strong color on the cabinets, but, because the windows have major overhangs, I was afraid it would be dark," Suzette Bass of Marc Michaels Design remarks. So she lightened the mood with Tumbleweed wall paint. Then for the countertops and backsplash, she used two colors of speckled Zodiaq, Dupont's quartz-based premium alternative to granite. "The colors worked wonderfully with what we were doing," says Bass, who also used the versatile product for the great room fireplace surround and tcommunications center countertops. "The colors just shimmer."

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