Of course, a harmonious existence cannot be achieved solely through technology. Enlightened homeowners will attest that a thoughtful floor plan can also work wonders—particularly when it comes to alleviating traffic congestion, minimizing trips up and down stairs, and aggregating utility space to facilitate multitasking.

Witness, for example, the InSync Home's kitchen layout. Configured as a T-shape, it splits off into a mudroom on one side and an expanded laundry/bulk storage room on the other—recognizing that grocery stashing, dinner preparation, cleaning, ironing, and folding are often orchestral maneuvers that occur simultaneously, or at least with some overlap.

PIVOTAL POINTS: Walls aren't used to delineate spatial transitions from one room to the next in this open floor plan.  Here, the passage from family room to kitchen (below)  is marked by a bi-level wet bar and a change in ceiling heights.  The kitchen's 12-foot volume space bumps up to a loftier 18-feet in the adjacent family room, where exposed wood beams provide texture and contrast.
James F. Wilson PIVOTAL POINTS: Walls aren't used to delineate spatial transitions from one room to the next in this open floor plan. Here, the passage from family room to kitchen (below) is marked by a bi-level wet bar and a change in ceiling heights. The kitchen's 12-foot volume space bumps up to a loftier 18-feet in the adjacent family room, where exposed wood beams provide texture and contrast.
James F. Wilson
SHOW OFF: The highly visible backsplash was a perfect design opportunity, so to take  advantage, the team installed an assorted mixture of glass, porcelain, and  faux metal tiles from Crossville. Products include the Tuscania 2-inch-by-4-inch  rhomboid tiles, pieces from the Parm Patina Metals series, and Venetian  Glass Silver Leaf that incorporates layers of hand-blown Italian Murano  glass.
James F. Wilson SHOW OFF: The highly visible backsplash was a perfect design opportunity, so to take advantage, the team installed an assorted mixture of glass, porcelain, and faux metal tiles from Crossville. Products include the Tuscania 2-inch-by-4-inch rhomboid tiles, pieces from the Parm Patina Metals series, and Venetian Glass Silver Leaf that incorporates layers of hand-blown Italian Murano glass.
GROUP THOUGHT: The organization of spaces in the floor plan is anything but accidental. Utility  zones such as the kitchen, laundry room, mudroom, and garage are grouped  together at the south end of the house, where spaces skew more casual. Formal  entertainment areas fall in the center of the plan, and “quiet  zones” (including the master retreat and library) lie to the north.
James F. Wilson GROUP THOUGHT: The organization of spaces in the floor plan is anything but accidental. Utility zones such as the kitchen, laundry room, mudroom, and garage are grouped together at the south end of the house, where spaces skew more casual. Formal entertainment areas fall in the center of the plan, and “quiet zones” (including the master retreat and library) lie to the north.
DROP ZONE: A small mudroom between the garage and kitchen provides built-in storage for  boots, jackets, bags, and sports gear. It's also a recharging center for  iPods and other electronic gadgets.
James F. Wilson DROP ZONE: A small mudroom between the garage and kitchen provides built-in storage for boots, jackets, bags, and sports gear. It's also a recharging center for iPods and other electronic gadgets.
AIR REMOVAL: High-powered cooking appliances need the right ventilation to remove smoke, fumes, and  grease. The InSync Home has a 48-inch range hood liner from KitchenAid  by Whirlpool. An internal blower moves 1,200 cubic feet of air per  minute and halogen lamps flood the work surface with light. The stainless steel  mesh filter is dishwasher safe.
James F. Wilson AIR REMOVAL: High-powered cooking appliances need the right ventilation to remove smoke, fumes, and grease. The InSync Home has a 48-inch range hood liner from KitchenAid by Whirlpool. An internal blower moves 1,200 cubic feet of air per minute and halogen lamps flood the work surface with light. The stainless steel mesh filter is dishwasher safe.
COUNTER PRODUCTION: As is the style these days, the kitchen features multiple countertops, in this  case two types of SenSa Granite from Cosentino. The kitchen island uses  Cosentino's Giallo Vicenza color with a 6-centimeter ogee edge, while the  base cabinets are topped in the company's Cosmos Brown with a 3-centimeter  ogee. SenGuard stain protection offers a 15-year warranty against staining.
James F. Wilson COUNTER PRODUCTION: As is the style these days, the kitchen features multiple countertops, in this case two types of SenSa Granite from Cosentino. The kitchen island uses Cosentino's Giallo Vicenza color with a 6-centimeter ogee edge, while the base cabinets are topped in the company's Cosmos Brown with a 3-centimeter ogee. SenGuard stain protection offers a 15-year warranty against staining.
CABINET MEMBERS: The kitchen is outfitted with cabinetry by Canac Kitchens -- Virginian maple Hazelnut with black antiquing for the main storage and Virginian maple Riverstone with chocolate glazing on the island.  Both styles feature full-access boxes, concealed hinges, and solid wood drawers with dovetail construction.  www.canackitchens.com
James F. Wilson CABINET MEMBERS: The kitchen is outfitted with cabinetry by Canac Kitchens -- Virginian maple Hazelnut with black antiquing for the main storage and Virginian maple Riverstone with chocolate glazing on the island. Both styles feature full-access boxes, concealed hinges, and solid wood drawers with dovetail construction. www.canackitchens.com
FAST FOOD: With convenient kitchen appliances by KitchenAid in the upstairs media room, master  bedroom suite (below), and guest flat above the garage, among other locations, there's no need to make a long  trek to the main kitchen for a drink or snack.
James F. Wilson FAST FOOD: With convenient kitchen appliances by KitchenAid in the upstairs media room, master bedroom suite (below), and guest flat above the garage, among other locations, there's no need to make a long trek to the main kitchen for a drink or snack.
CABINET MEMBERS: The kitchen is outfitted with cabinetry by Canac Kitchens—Virginian maple  Hazelnut with black antiquing for the main storage and Virginian maple  Riverstone with chocolate glazing on the island. Both styles feature full-access  boxes, concealed hinges, and solid wood drawers with dovetail construction.
James F. Wilson CABINET MEMBERS: The kitchen is outfitted with cabinetry by Canac Kitchens—Virginian maple Hazelnut with black antiquing for the main storage and Virginian maple Riverstone with chocolate glazing on the island. Both styles feature full-access boxes, concealed hinges, and solid wood drawers with dovetail construction.
STATION AGENTS: A kitchen this large needs multiple prep areas: InSync has three stations outfitted  with products from the Kohler Co.: a Pro Cookcenter self-rimming sink  that also performs water-based cooking (shown); a cast-iron Smart Divide  sink with a low-profile basin divider; and a 33-inch undercounter stainless  steel trough sink. All three stations have Kohler's Vinnata faucet with  its high arc and a pull-down spray head.
James F. Wilson STATION AGENTS: A kitchen this large needs multiple prep areas: InSync has three stations outfitted with products from the Kohler Co.: a Pro Cookcenter self-rimming sink that also performs water-based cooking (shown); a cast-iron Smart Divide sink with a low-profile basin divider; and a 33-inch undercounter stainless steel trough sink. All three stations have Kohler's Vinnata faucet with its high arc and a pull-down spray head.
KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL: A wide variety of appliances from Whirlpool Corp. converge in the pinnacle  of convenience. A KitchenAid Architect Series range offers electric and gas  cooking options and features 3.25 cubic feet of oven capacity. The double-oven  cooks with true convection technology, and the bottom-freezer refrigerator  has French-door styling for full-width storage.
James F. Wilson KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL: A wide variety of appliances from Whirlpool Corp. converge in the pinnacle of convenience. A KitchenAid Architect Series range offers electric and gas cooking options and features 3.25 cubic feet of oven capacity. The double-oven cooks with true convection technology, and the bottom-freezer refrigerator has French-door styling for full-width storage.
PANTRY TIME: In addition to the ample cabinet space, the kitchen has a pantry with a Schulte  Strong Home Storage system. Components hang from the freedomRail adjustable  rail system and can be positioned up, down, or side to side. Adjustable  to accommodate tall and small items, the system also accepts baskets, shelves, and  cabinet boxes.
James F. Wilson PANTRY TIME: In addition to the ample cabinet space, the kitchen has a pantry with a Schulte Strong Home Storage system. Components hang from the freedomRail adjustable rail system and can be positioned up, down, or side to side. Adjustable to accommodate tall and small items, the system also accepts baskets, shelves, and cabinet boxes.

With its massive, 13-foot-by-4-foot island and split-level wet bar, the kitchen further acknowledges the impossibility of preventing humans from congregating where there's food, and it provides ample elbow room for that phenomenon. Broad stretches of countertop space stand ready to accommodate tandem chefs, kids with homework, laptop-laden spouses, or friends stopping by for a glass of wine or cup of tea. But the careful orientation of this culinary hub in the floor plan—not quite at the heart, but rather slightly off center—also keeps it from becoming a cut-through, and thus limits the potential for bottlenecks. “You don't need to walk through the kitchen or family room to get to [almost] any other room in the house,” notes builder Goehring.

Still other functional efficiencies are achieved with the home's generous dispersal of appliances far and wide. The main laundry is near the garage on the first floor, but an additional washer and dryer upstairs offer an alternative to carrying baskets of dirty clothes downstairs each time you want to throw in a load.

And then there are the satellite kitchens—mini assemblages of convenient appliances installed in no fewer than six locations beyond the confines of the main kitchen. Among them: a second-floor snack bar, complete with microwave, drink fridge, icemaker, and sink. Don't want to pause that movie to run downstairs for a soda, beer, or popcorn? No need.

Click here for "That's Entertainment," the next article in this series.