GRAND—Best kitchen—multifamily FOR MORE THAN 20 YEARS, Bob McDermott and James Gentner talked about renovating the kitchen in their 1920s row house “to give Bob a place to do his cooking endeavors in the appropriate way,” says David Knudson, the Washington architect who got the call. “We finally did that.”

Knudson reworked a gang of separate entities at the back of the narrow row house—dining room, enclosed porch, nook, and kitchen—into areas that now all flow together. What was once a nook within the existing kitchen is now the working sink-and-stove end of the new space. What was once a door from the dining room into the kitchen is now a pass-through whose accordion-style window of frosted glass can be closed to hide the mess of meal prep (but still let in light). And what was once an awkward enclosed porch is now the nook, with views of both the working kitchen and the backyard deck.

PRODUCTPICK FROM ARCHITECT DAVID KNUDSON: Vermont Soapstone sink and countertop
PRODUCTPICK FROM ARCHITECT DAVID KNUDSON: Vermont Soapstone sink and countertop

“We were very much constrained by the existing footprint in terms of the volume of the kitchen,” says Knudson. “I've seen kitchens where ‘more is better' is the theme, but in this case we had an envelope and some very specific needs. The challenge was to get everything to work and still have it look good.”

Things in this kitchen not only look good, they are also functional. Radiant heat was installed beneath the comfy cork floor. The double soapstone sink is deep enough for plenty of pots and pans. Two different countertops—soapstone and butcher block—give McDermott a choice when it comes to food prep. Open shelves next to the stove and a wall-mounted utensil grid keep tools out in the open, just what a real cook wants. And the handsome dark green cabinets—stock KraftMaid from The Home Depot—add the right amount of closed storage and color in this ultra-tailored kitchen.

“The kitchen functions well, and it looks great,” says Knudson. “I think we met the clients' needs.”

Entrant/Architect: David Knudson, Washington; Builder: John Lewando, Takoma Park, Md.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Washington, DC.