It’s easy to almost miss the fact that this refined, pale-green room in Washington, D.C., is a kitchen. The appliances blend into the background, and the cabinetry seems more like built-in furniture. This effect is entirely intentional; architect David Jones’ clients asked him for a great room that combines a kitchen, living room, and casual dining, without having the kitchen dominate.

Jones applied several strategies to downplay the kitchen while still making it a functional space. The cabinetry and counters surrounding the oven are recessed into a niche. “That made it seem a little bit less aggressive in the room,” he says. Jones discreetly tucked the microwave into the island, which also holds a dishwasher and two sinks. And he included a butler’s pantry between the kitchen and formal dining room to handle extra storage needs. “When you’re creating a large family room and the kitchen is part of that, it’s helpful to get as much of the kitchen as possible out of the room,” he says.

The color and materials palette, too, serves to mute the kitchen’s presence yet engage the senses. A light green-gray shade of paint poses a subtle contrast to the home’s mostly neutral hues. And a marble backsplash and counters pick up those green and gray tones. “The idea of the marble was to be interesting without jumping out at you,” Jones says. The same could be said of the entire kitchen.