MERIT—Best kitchen in a single-family detached custom home—over 5,000 square feet REAL COOKS USE THIS kitchen, so much of the action centers around the 48-inch-wide Wolf range, its 1,200-cfm hood, the Grohe pot filler, and the materials used on either side of the stove top.

Real cooks need a variety of surfaces on which to prepare food, so Streeter & Associates architect Jeff Lindgren capped the Cambria countertop with stainless steel on either side of the stove top. “It works out to be a bacteria-free top,” says Lindgren. As a design touch, the architect extended the stainless steel along the edge of the countertop and wrapped it down toward the floor; similar stainless steel panels cap each end of the island.

Sophisticated materials show up in the rest of the kitchen, too. The floors are rich Santos mahogany, the custom cabinets are steamed European beech, and the back-splash is made from rippled glass that's been painted a subtle olive green on the back. “That's probably one of my favorite things in this kitchen,” says Lindgren. “All the stainless steel, from the ceiling down to the floor, just dances off that backsplash.”

Entrant/Architect/Builder: Streeter & Associates, Wayzata, Minn.; Interior designer: Laurie Plattes Interior Design, St. Paul, Minn.