Ever since my visit to a home show a few years ago, I have been besotted by kitchens. I fall asleep dreaming that granite countertops will replace my Corian surfaces and that an island will suddenly erupt in the middle of my island-less kitchen space. I covet a breakfast nook. Visions of teak cabinetry and Sub-Zero refrigerators dance in my head. Apparently, I am not alone in my fantasizing. An informal survey of real estate agents indicates that the kitchen has become the crucial room in the sale of a house. According to a friend in the business, my dumpy ’70s-era kitchen is likely to sink the price of my home by 20 percent.

“Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen” Through March 14, 2011. Museum of Modern Art, New York.

The kitchen now holds… More…