If all the remodeling efforts in older houses, kitchens and baths top the list.

Whole walls of houses are blown out to accommodate these new spaces. Dining rooms are made smaller or done away with entirely. And the kitchen reigns supreme.

The challenge for architect Jeffrey Stoiber, who worked with a Northwest Washington client, was to take a tiny kitchen and make it work without increasing the size of the room and upsetting the original proportions of the house. The client wanted a contemporary kitchen, but one that would harmonize with the rest of the turn-of-the century home.

The kitchen space is narrow: 8 by 14 feet. To make it appear more open, the color white was used. In an interesting twist, Stoiber chose and old-fashioned white porcelain sink and paired it with 1950s high-tech stainless steel countertops. The countertop curves around to form a small bar where two can sit and have a quiet breakfast. The very modern refrigerator is hardly noticeable as an appliance; a streamlined built-in sub-zero model, it matches nicely with the built-in cabinets, some with glass doors. Both cabinets and refrigerator are streamlined counterpoints to the old-fashioned moldings around the kitchen door.

The only pattern in the room is a checkerboard of black and white tiles -- not the old-fashioned marbled variety, but slick clear black and white. One bright orange tile pinpoints the center of the room. This subtle touch of color is just enough to start the viewer wondering: is this kitchen old or is it new?