Helping family and friends design their homes is one of the most rewarding yet challenging experiences and, when it comes to trying renos, the kitchen takes the cake. Renovating a kitchen is unbelievably stressful for any homeowner (including me!), so my job is to make the whole process as painless as possible. That comes easily when the clients are my friends: Design meetings are held over a glass of wine, and outings to appliance stores become an opportunity to catch up.

This past year, one of my most fabulous friends asked me to redo her kitchen. The project was a big challenge: A layout with four doorways and angled corners forced me to think inside the box in terms of floor plan. But what I put inside that box was anything but ordinary. The result (see «Moody Luxe,» page 96) is utterly her -sultry and arresting yet highly sophisticated.

In an age where the kitchen has firmly established itself as the undeniable heart of the home, its aesthetic should be intimately connected to its homeowners, a reflection of their personalities and lifestyles. When my friend has me over for cocktails and I watch her bubble over with laughter, surrounded by a space that’s so representative of who she is, I know I’ve done just that. That’s why the kitchens featured in this issue are as unique as they are stylish: Each is tailor-made to the people who cook, eat and live in it.

If you’re after ideas to apply to your own kitchen, this issue is jam-packed with the latest and greatest products and trends to inspire. But, as I’ve learned, you also have to look inward to create a space that will suit you just right.

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