Anice Hoachlander

What didn’t our judges adore about this cottage kitchen overlooking a wooded lake? “I love the floor, the cabinets, the lighting, and the stair coming down into that part of the home,” enthused one juror.

The black and white harlequin limestone tiles add a touch of whimsy to the casual painted wood cabinetry, engineered stone countertops, and bronze hardware. “All of the finishes are honed to create a soft background,” says project architect Melanie Giordano. “Then we made a statement with the apple green island topped with polished marble.”

All 425 of the kitchen’s square feet are filled with function. The island provides a large surface for family meal prep or buffet service, plus two of the drawers are refrigerators in disguise for keeping cold drinks at hand. The wall of open shelves conceals a work station as well as a walk-in pantry, which has a full-size fridge. In addition to the professional grade gas range, there’s an induction cooktop. Built-ins run along one side of the adjacent breakfast room and contain with a bar sink and an undercounter wine cooler.

Next to that de facto wet bar is a door leading to a large deck leading down to the lake. Structural beams are finished with white paint and classical molding. Low walls above both sinks are framed by columns that along with the beams break up the scale of the open kitchen/breakfast space. “Our intent was to replicate the style of a farm house kitchen,” Giordano says, “so we organized the entire first floor around that room and made sure it overlooked the lake."