MERIT—Best kitchen in a single-family detached custom home—over 5,000 square feet BUILDER TED SCHMIEDEKE knows that Old World can mean just about anything these days, so he was determined to bring some authenticity to this 6,500-square-foot home—especially the kitchen, which is dominated by a gorgeous granite-topped island. That determination translated into using a cast-iron fireback behind the stove top, a Venetian plaster hood overhead, and reclaimed French parfeuille pavers on the floor. Even the kiln-dried Douglas fir beams speak to this desire for using the real thing wherever possible. “Rather than trying to beat them up, we eased the edges to make them look more authentic,” says Schmiedeke.

There's no such thing as a historically accurate Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezer, but the builder took pains to at least make it look built-in. It's camouflaged behind giant knotty alder doors with two large bronze handles. Think armoire rather than fridge and you get the idea.

Entrant/Builder/Interior designer: Chrystle Luxury Homes, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Architect: J. Smith Architecture, Scottsdale