The clients for this seaside vacation home in Kirkkonummi, Finland, wanted a kitchen that was practical, elegant, and out of the way. But they didn't want the room cut off from the amazing views of the site's rocky headland.

Architects Pekka Helin and Mariitta Helineva came to the rescue, placing a galley-style kitchen near the center of the boomerang-shaped floor plan. “It has a different hierarchy than kitchens in our other residences,” Helineva acknowledges, but that's what the clients wanted—a kitchen that “fades away in the background.”

To that end, the duo designed the space to follow the curve of the home's rear exterior wall, using the curve to conceal appliances and prep areas and to direct attention to the seascape beyond its borders. The room's placement just inside the main entry also facilitates quick dispersal of groceries—an important program point for “very orderly” homeowners, Helineva explains.

The look may be quiet, but the design certainly isn't bashful. Cast-in-place concrete on the exterior wall and ceiling collaborate with the exposed wood framework to “create a receptive surface for the play of light,” says Helineva. A pale gray glaze minimizes the concrete's heaviness. Brushed aluminum cabinet and drawer fronts also help lighten the mood, and thick oak countertops, window casings, and floors add warmth.

A bold, stainless steel range hood hangs mere inches from the wall and ceiling to create a sculptural effect—yet another nod to the tastes and habits of the homeowners, who collect art as a hobby. To keep the focus on the hood, the architects omitted upper cabinets in favor of lower cabinets that continue along the wall into the dining space, to function as furniture. Rolling shutters close off the countertop between the fridge and ovens to minimize clutter and keep the space at its simple, sleek best.

architect: Helin&Co Architects, Helsinki, Finland

general contractor: Kreuto Oy, Helsinki

resources: bathroom faucets, toilet, and sinks: ILBAGNOALESSI; kitchen appliances: Gaggenau; kitchen cabinets: Bulthaup Corp.; shower: Hansgrohe