• Cutout handles and casters on birch plywood cabinetry elevate budget-conscious material in this architect’s own kitchen. A splurge on Brazilian cherry flooring underscores the kitchen zone within the larger, maple-floored room.

    Credit: Jeffrey Jacobs

    Cutout handles and casters on birch plywood cabinetry elevate budget-conscious material in this architect’s own kitchen. A splurge on Brazilian cherry flooring underscores the kitchen zone within the larger, maple-floored room.

archimania, memphis

Architect Todd Walker is a Modernist, but he realizes that for some people the style has an ascetic quality to it. So when he set about designing this kitchen for his small family, he wanted to achieve a space that was softer and gentler and, most important, didn't take itself too seriously.

To accomplish this, Walker specified light-colored, warm materials such as birch plywood and white laminate--choices that also helped the room appear more spacious. Although relatively inexpensive materials, they were upscaled with custom touches. For instance, angled cutouts for door handles mimic the adjacent window's abstract framing. And a birch plywood pantry is set on casters for mobility and to hide an electrical panel. One splurge: the warm, Brazilian cherry floors, which distinguish the kitchen area from nearby rooms.

The house is still serious, Walker says, "but it's serious about design." The judges agreed. They enjoyed the kitchen's whimsical quality and complimented the way it is "really integrated into the house." 

principal in charge/project architect/general contractor: Todd Walker, Archimania
project size: 12 by 14 feet
construction cost: $88 per square foot
photographer: Jeffrey Jacobs

  • A splurge on Brazilian cherry flooring underscores the kitchen zone within the larger, maple-floored room.

    Credit: Jeffrey Jacobs

    A splurge on Brazilian cherry flooring underscores the kitchen zone within the larger, maple-floored room.