1. Ron Radziner in Venice, Calif.
Architect Ron Radziner, one half of the Marmol Radziner dynamic duo, didn't take long to tire of the house he'd designed for his family in 2002, so he found a nearby lot and got to work. At the center lies this sunken kitchen (above), arguably the home's masterpiece. Lusciously grained wood paneling impresses, but it's the view of the pool, shown after the jump, that makes this so spectacular.
2. John Saladino in Montecito, Calif.
Designer-to-the-stars John Saladino doesn't tend to shy away from drama, and this opulent take on an Italian country kitchen (above) follows the script. Three hand-finished wooden doors grace the far wall, two of which conceal the SubZero refrigerator and freezer and the one that opens to reveal a secret passage to a home office. Saladino spent years rehabbing this 1920s Italianate villa, but eager for new projects (and a pay check) he's put it up for sale.
3. Lara Hedburg Deam in Mill Valley, Calif.
Lara Deam, founder of Dwell, had renovated her house in the mid-1990s, but this was before husband, architect Chris Deam, moved in. Along came children and the need for a change; thus the results, above. Of note: a wood-and-marble Nakashima-style table and, Dwell being Dwell, Eames chairs.
4. David Chipperfield for Nat Rothschild in NYC
Okay, so British star decorator David Chipperfield never lived here, so this isn't technically his kitchen, but he's certainly responsible for it. His firm fought to convince client Nat Rothschild, the monied banking heir, that a kitchen was, in fact, a necessity, even when Rothschild insisted he didn't need one. Chipperfield bowed to his client's modernist persuasion, transforming a West Village five-bedroom townhouse into this one-bedroom vertical loft (above). In the end, Rothschild relented, but on the condition that the "heart of the home" be relegated to the basement. The highlight: a set of wine refrigerators capable of storing 670 bottles. It's a pity Rothschild doesn't drink.