The result is a contemporary vision of Craftsman in which every detail pops. Gleaming cabinets of blond maple trimmed in red Honduran mahogany and ebonized walnut are the central features of the new kitchen. The face of each drawer and door is decorated with patinated copper inlays, which harmonize with the green granite counters and gray-green slate floor. Mark Moeller, a master woodworker from the area, spent some 2,200 hours turning Talaat's stile-and-rail designs into furniture-quality cabinets that house everything from pots and pans to a microwave, TV, and water cooler. "Leon and Karla wanted the space to convey a clean and 'unkitcheny' look, so everything except the stove is hidden behind cabinets," says Talaat.

The couple also wanted to open up the cramped work area without the expense of expanding the room's footprint. Talaat made the room feel more spacious by enlarging two passageways and eliminating an awkward butler's pantry that zigzagged into the the dining room. A third ­passageway was sealed up to create a storage-packed range wall. He also created a more efficient work triangle anchored by a new multipurpose island, plus a larger eating area. Six new casement windows and a pair of French doors bring in lots of light and backyard views.

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