Best contemporary kitchen in a single-family detached custom or remodeled home—less than 3,000 square feet square feet

Blending is always a challenge when it comes to remodeling, but it's especially crucial when working within a historical framework. Not only does the interior have to mesh with existing rooms but the exterior must hold up its end of the bargain, too. “The rooflines, the siding, the eave details of this 1880s farmhouse all had to tie into the existing architecture, and it had to be dead-on right,” says Tiburon, Calif., architect Colleen Mahoney, who designed this winner for someone she knew well: her sister.

Design factored into the interior, of course, but it's the materials and equipment that really give this Victorian-inspired kitchen its authentic look. There's the vintage range, the only holdover from the previous kitchen; custom-made cabinets with leaded glass that have just the right amount of distressing and pitch-perfect hardware; a custom-made, granite-topped island; and, of course, a farmhouse sink. Traditional may not be trendy, but it's the right choice here.

Entrant/Architect: Mahoney Architects, Tiburon, Calif.; Builder: Credence Construction, Petaluma, Calif.

Tip “When you're working within a historical context, every effort should be made to unify the design and make it look timeless,” says architect Colleen Mahoney. “Fortunately, the different craftsmen who worked on this project all got it. The real gift of working today is that we have the artisans and skilled finish carpenters. The craftsmanship that seems to have been lost in the '60s and '70s is back.”

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