MERIT BEST KITCHEN IN A SINGLE-FAMILY DETACHED REMODELED HOME—LESS THAN 3,000 SQUARE FEET

THIS DEFT TRANSFORMATION OF a once-cramped family room and kitchen is plenty sophisticated with its crisp millwork, coffered ceiling, soapstone-topped island, slate backsplash, and savvy reuse of solid-surface counters for the perimeter countertops. You almost wouldn't notice the little details built in to accommodate the owners' two small children. A 30-foot window seat stretching from the dining nook to the family room doubles as toy storage. The fridge is outfitted with a magnetic chalkboard surface. And cabinetry on the tall end of the cherry island puts everyday dishes within reach of small hands, while a lowered (30-inch-high) counter on the opposite side is set low, so that the kids can help cook.

All that, and this workhorse of an island does still more: Its tall side strategically hides the sink (and therefore the dirty dishes) from view, and its bar seating provides a nice vantage point for watching the neighborhood.

Entrant/Architect/Interior designer: Albertsson Hansen Architecture, Minneapolis; Builder: Choice Wood Co., St. Louis Park, Minn.; Fabric specifier: Thru the Roof, Minneapolis

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Learn more about markets featured in this article: Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN.