Open Season

Architect Tom Shafer did an extensive remodel of this 1950s ranch house and designed the entire project—including the open kitchen—by following the home’s existing lines. Fifties Love Affair, Winnetka, Ill.: Architect: Grunsfeld Shafer Architects, Evanston, Ill.; General contractor: Rizzolo Brothers Company, Libertyville, Ill.; Interior designer: Insight, Highland Park, Ill.; Photographer:Paul Warchol

The work island is English brown oak that's oiled, not polyurethaned, with an undermounted sink. Architect Tom Shafer says the oiled wood is "a great product for use around water or food." The island, which serves as both kitchen work island and living room sidebard, has become the "epicenter of the room," he adds. "We wanted it to be a magnet." Fifties Love Affair, Winnetka, Ill.: Architect: Grunsfeld Shafer Architects, Evanston, Ill.; General contractor: Rizzolo Brothers Company, Libertyville, Ill.; Interior designer: Insight, Highland Park, Ill.

In this lodge-style west Texas home, the primary cook wanted to be certain that the kitchen was in the center of the floor plan. She also wanted her guests to be facing the kitchen, even when they were sitting and watching TV in the adjoining great room. Herd Kitchen, Austin, Texas; Architect: Paul Lamb Architects, Austin; General contractor: Don Crowell Builders, Austin; Interior designer: Fern Santini Design, Austin

Herd Kitchen, Austin, TexasArchitect: Paul Lamb Architects, Austin; General contractor: Don Crowell Builders, Austin; Interior designer: Fern Santini Design, Austin A stone wall helps differentiate the great room from the kitchen, while its dramatic archway helps unify the two spaces.

Even in homes with traditional Arts & Crafts detailing, the open kitchen floor plan—a truly contemporary idea, for sure—reigns. The New American Bungalow, Evanston, Ill.: Architect: Cohen & Hacker Architects, Evanston; General contractor: Sturm Builders, Northbrook, Ill.; Interior designer: JamesThomas, Chicago

The New American Bungalow, Evanston, Ill.Architect: Cohen & Hacker Architects, Evanston, Ill.; General contractor: Sturm Builders, Northbrook, Ill.; Interior designer: James Thomas, Chicago; Photographer: Tony Soluri. The architects of this project typically design contemporary houses, but whatever the style, the challenges of an open kitchen remain the same.

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