GRAND—Best kitchen in a single-family detached remodeled home—over 5,000 square feet WHEN PROFESSIONAL REMODELERS redo their own kitchen, you can be sure that every last cabinet, finishing detail, and appliance has been thoroughly thought through. Susan and Kelvin Pierce, owners of Commonwealth Home Remodelers in Vienna, Va., had planned on two renovations when they bought their 1920s Cape Cod 17 years ago. The first addition, completed in 1998, was the headquarters for their burgeoning design office and was connected to the main house by a bonus room. The most recent renovation placed the new kitchen in this bonus, or connecting, room, and the rest of the addition was built around it. Two daughters arrived in the intervening years, so out went the business to a commercial location and in came the dream kitchen.

“We'd always wanted a big kitchen, a space for multiple people to move around in,” says architect Susan Pierce. “The kitchen is the connecting room between the old Cape Cod and the addition. The structure was always there; we just finished it off.”

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They packed the 23-foot-by-21-foot kitchen with plenty of storage and connections to the rest of the house. Seating is along one wall at a table with a flip-up lid. A raised cabinet in the island has an open back so that, as the dishwasher is emptied, everyday dishes are slid into place. And, wherever possible, timesaving appliances—an Advantium speed cook microwave, an instant hot water dispenser, and a central vacuum—were employed. “I'm not a fine cook, but I do cook from scratch every day,” says Pierce.

But the connections to the rest of the house, especially an unusual opening in the ceiling to the second floor, are what really makes this kitchen special. “It's kind of a walk-around that we'll eventually line with cabinets and shelves,” says Pierce. “It's such an odd twist that the framers actually forgot to put the opening in. At that point, I asked myself, ‘Do I really want it?' But I'm so glad we did it.”

Entrant/Builder/Architect: Commonwealth Home Remodelers, Vienna, Va.