That's something I kept in mind when my husband, architect Josh Schweitzer, and I bought a long and narrow lot in the Mar Vista neighborhood of West Los Angeles ten years ago and began to plan our dream house, with the kitchen at its center. I knew that my home kitchen would be several times larger than the ones I came of age in, but I still wanted it to have the conveniences I'd come to associate with compact spaces. We planned to build from the ground up, and Josh cleared every tree, bush, and blade of grass. Starting with a blank canvas, we approached the project from completely different angles. Josh is obsessed with aesthetics, whereas I'm Ms. Functionality. I wanted no clutter, big counters to work on, and a kitchen with room for our sons, Declan and Kieran, to cook along with us; it would also need to accommodate the guests who inevitably gravitate toward the action when we entertain. Josh wanted a space where the architectural lines and forms made the biggest impression: If you couldn't tell it was a kitchen, he said, that would be perfect. I tried not to be insulted.