Anytime I have friends over for dinner, I always cook something from one of Ina Garten's cookbooks. Her recipes always turn out well (or at least they have for me), and people think you've been slaving away for hours in the kitchen- but you haven't! The great thing about Ina is that her philosophy is about the basics- but basics that produce sophisticated results.
If given the opportunity to build a kitchen from scratch, I would love to consult Ina and have her guide me in creating the ultimate kitchen, but one that is truly functional. No kitchen building from scratch for me right now, but in the meantime I've been having fun looking at images of House Beautiful's Kitchen of the Year designed by Robert Stilin and Ina herself! I love that it's white (Van Day Truex said kitchens should always be white) without seeming sterile.
If you can't visit the kitchen in person, visit House Beautiful's website for a slide show. Also, make sure to check out the videos featuring Ina and Stephen Drucker discussing all aspects of kitchens- color, kitchen gadgets, and entertaining. Ina also gives you a tour of the kitchen on the video page as well.