The restaurateurs who own this Colorado home wanted a house that could absorb entertaining on a grand scale while also serving as a quiet refuge for their family of six. A 12-acre parcel of ranchland edged by sandstone bluffs gives them the peace they seek. That left the party-house design for Chris Davis, AIA, to devise. He decided the best tactic was to place the kitchen right at the center of the nearly 8,000-square-foot house. “All rooms spin off of the kitchen,” he says. “The floor plan really folds in on itself to maintain interior views and connections.” The location works well for mingling with guests or hunkering down with family.

Four living spaces segue directly into the kitchen. Formal living and dining flank either end for convenient service without exposed prep areas. A den in the bedroom wing connects via a pocket door that can be kept closed when guests are present. But the key relationship is between the kitchen and a well-appointed screened porch (see image gallery). Glass doors spanning 16 feet connect the two realms. And a bank of clerestory windows above the opening replaces light lost to the screened enclosure. “When the doors are open,” says Davis, “it feels like an outdoor kitchen.”

A high-traffic, showpiece cooking space requires materials that can withstand heavy use without losing luster. Polished stained-concrete floors give way to an intricate inlay of dark-stained end-cut fir that defines the kitchen's work area. It's also more comfortable for constant standing, Davis adds. Glass upper cabinets and deep-red glass backsplash tiles look sophisticated and are easy to clean. Dark-stained wood base cabinets anchor the light-filled room, while mottled blond granite countertops blend with the home's pale stone walls. Those rough-hewn walls recall the distant bluffs and add an earthy warmth to the polished architecture.

Davis also injected a little levity into the serious cooking space, designing a whimsical island that, by standing out, ties the kitchen together. Black tubular steel supports the island's thick concrete counter, and the gunmetal-gray, high-gloss finish on its base stirs up the fun without detracting from the surrounding luxury specs.

architect: Semple Brown Design, Denver

general contractor: Deneuve Construction Services, Boulder, Colo.

resources: dishwasher: KitchenAid; plumbing fixtures and fittings: Agape, Dornbracht Americas, Grohe America, and Kohler Co.; range: Viking Range Corp.; refrigerator: Sub-Zero