If you can tear your eyes away from the fabulous glass-bubble chandelier, check out these countertops: Absolute Black leather-finish granite throughout, plus serving stations and a custom-made tabletop in a complementary Iron Red polished granite. Designer Gwyneth Hand chose black laminate and charcoal-stained oak cabinets to complete the look. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Gilmer Kitchens
Cool and Glamorous
Calacatta Gold countertops — an Italian white marble with gray and gold veins — set the tone for this contemporary kitchen. Designer Erinn Valencich took a classic white palette, warmed it by marrying white lacquer and gray-stained oak cabinets, and added a retro touch with a mirrored mosaic tile backsplash. Photo courtesy of Erinn Valencich.
Want Harmony? Think Contrast
Although designer Jennifer Gilmer uses a bold orange for the walls and an exotic Macassar ebony veneer on the custom cabinetry in this kitchen, the look is still serene thanks to the addition of high-gloss white cabinets. "Combining dark and light keeps it warm while adding some sparkle," Gilmer says. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Gilmer Kitchens
Although Sarah Barnard designed this kitchen for a Mediterranean estate, she avoided a stuffy Old World look by adding wow factor. The deep charcoal hood over the cooking station pops against the toffee-colored cabinets, and the embossed concrete backsplash and armless chair are transitional touches that keep the composition contemporary. Photo courtesy of Sarah Barnard Design
Steve Johnson and Bradford Fox designed this kitchen's two colossal islands to anchor a 1500-square-foot open space. One island boasts a CaesarStone quartz countertop, the other stainless steel to complement the red lacquer and maple Poggenpohl cabinetry. Cool touch: The translucent glass backsplash changes color on demand. Photo courtesy of Poggenpohl Atelier Inc.
Two Islands Better Than One
In a large kitchen, designer Heather Hungeling prefers to create two smaller islands instead of one behemoth — a too-large island becomes an obstacle to get around instead of a boost to functionality. Here, one island is topped in granite and the other in warm, rich Iroko butcher block (an African hardwood). Photo courtesy of Heather Hungeling
Study in Black and White
Despite the presence of traditional elements such as the chandelier and crown molding, this isn't your grandma's black-and-white kitchen. Designer Angela Shannon used a 60-inch Wolf oven, high-gloss white Poggenpohl cabinets, Marron Cohiba granite countertops with metallic flecks and clear Starfire glass bar-height countertops to create a luxurious contemporary feel. Photo courtesy of Angela Shannon
Bigger Is Better
Outsized scale creates a larger-than-life effect in this kitchen designed by Heather Hungeling. The massive oak island and ivory Edwardian-style cabinetry are balanced by a contemporary-feeling backsplash with a sleek metallic finish. Lesson: Don't be afraid to mix traditional elements with of-the-moment accessories. Photo courtesy of Heather Hungeling
High Tech, High Style
Designer Leslie Meyers incorporated the latest technological wizardry to keep the lines of this ultra-contemporary kitchen bright and unbroken: an interactive glass LED-lit backsplash, pop-up electrical outlets and aluminum appliance garages. The high-gloss black and white Poggenpohl cabinetry, Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances and granite countertops appear practically seamless. Photo courtesy of Leslie Meyers