While style usually succumbs to overall function in a busy kitchen space, there is no reason -- as these homes prove -- that style can't share a plate with storage.
The kitchen in this California beach house has countertops made of formica, which the homeowners specifically picked because of its durability. A large mirror hangs on the back wall to open up the space even more, and the stools are comfortable enough for hours of sitting.
In this Brooklyn, New York, brownstone, what's now the kitchen used to be a formal parlor. The homeowners retrofitted the space by turning former closets into cabinets for appliances and dishes and adding a custom marble-top island. The room has become the family's go-to hang-out spot.
An editor's tiny apartment still manages to have big style. The original outmoded cabinetry is turned modern: The cabinet doors were removed and the interior was painted white. The backs of the shelves were painted the same blue as the walls. Food is stored in the white canisters on the shelves and the large storage boxes above hold platters and holiday decorations.
This 1852 Charleston, South Carolina, house mixes modern touches with the city's traditional architecture. This light-filled kitchen is the hub of the home's activity. The trestle table's white polished-marble top was honed to give it the timeworn appearance of a European cafe table. It is surrounded by old church chairs with hymnal pockets. The table anchors the contemporary room and serves myriad purposes.
A rustic and refined barn home features crafted pendant light fixtures in the kitchen from old metal shades and gas-pipe fittings. The island counter is a 3-inch-thick piece of maple that is so heavy, it had to be brought into the house in two pieces and then glued together!
The kitchen in this relaxed, elegant townhouse boasts limed-oak cabinets. The gently reflective stainless-steel countertop and backsplash also brighten the room; the dents and dings that come with use actually improve their looks. Black-iron stools are covered in a green vinyl that's tough enough for the after-school crowd.
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