Preparing elaborate meals for an audience of friends, family, and even strangers is a major pastime for the owners of this Austin, Texas, home. “The kitchen is set up so that several people can be sitting along the bar to watch the cooking show,” says architect Dick Clark. The couple also hosts frequent charity events in their home overlooking Lake Austin, so the 300-square-foot kitchen had to serve caterers' needs as well. “The house is primarily designed to be an entertaining space geared to hold hundreds of people,” adds Clark, “but it has to live like an intimate home the rest of the time.”

A cooking hub just shy of 12 feet long showcases the five-burner cooktop with side grill; a bar running the length of the brushed stainless backsplash puts every utensil and spice within reach. Twin double-wide cabinets flank the workstation and keep other essential supplies close at hand. The area between the cooktop workspace and a roomy prep island is wide enough for two people to navigate. The indomitable Texas sunshine floods the room through a curved window wall, which provides lake views and access to the pool and two outdoor casual dining areas. For formal affairs, the kitchen closes off with sandblasted glass pocket doors located on either side of the refrigerator. Opposite the cooking area, a solid wall of cabinetry stores miscellaneous gizmos such as an espresso machine.

You can't tell by its elegant finishes, but “every inch of this kitchen gets constant use,” says Clark. Hardworking, good-looking fir cabinetry and wall panels were carefully cut to highlight vertical grain and color variances. Honed stone floors provide natural slip resistance and connect the room visually with the pool deck, speced in the same material. A 10-foot plaster ceiling drops 6 inches lower over the island to supply indirect and task lighting. But the real scene stealers are the multiply wood countertops overlayed in stainless steel, their edges left dramatically raw.

architect: Dick Clark Architecture, Austin, Texas

general contractor: Bill Dorman Construction, Austin

resources: cabinets: Bulthaup; oven: Gaggenau; plumbing fixtures: Franke, Dornbracht; refrigerator: Sub-Zero; tile: Ann Sacks; windows and doors: Hope's Windows