Don't let the elegant details fool you. The rich wood Timberlake cabinets and sea glass tile may be easy on the eyes, but the main kitchen is all about business. “The kitchen has taken on a new identity in today's home,” says Nagle. “People don't just sit there to talk; they multitask. Mom and Dad may be catching up with each other while they help the kids with homework and the grandparents cook. It's the center of the family universe.”

The challenge, though, especially in a multigenerational household, is to design a universe where stars don't collide. In this case, that meant plenty of counter-top space and a good-sized island—one that was conducive to standing activities at one end and sitting at the other end. A custom P-shaped configuration does the trick. The straight edge forms a galley with a parallel wall outfitted with a KitchenAid range with double ovens. The curved side is rounded out with bar stools—the perfect perch for kids doing homework or a neighbor stopping by for coffee.

Traffic congestion may seem like an inevitability in a big family kitchen, but careful floor plan engineering in The Reality House proves it doesn't have to be. What's most notable about the main kitchen is what's not in it—namely, stuff that isn't used on a daily basis. Holiday platters and dessert plates? Those are stored in a butler's pantry off the formal dining room. That 24-can skid of canned corn you snagged at Costco? Sashay from the main culinary space into the adjacent prep kitchen and hang a left at the walk-in pantry.

A drawer fridge and ice maker in the prep kitchen make it a go-to place where kids can run in and grab a Coke without being underfoot while dinner's in the works.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Orlando, FL.