It’s no surprise that the kitchen is usually the favorite room in the house. For many, it’s the only time that the entire family can be together during the day. Our dining room table hasn’t been used since the holidays because dinner is spent at the kitchen island. When we remodeled our kitchen having an island was a must, but the kitchen is narrow. The solution was a narrow island. Our kitchen island is the nucleus of the house. It’s where meals are prepared and eaten, homework is done, bills are paid, gifts are wrapped and the grocery bags are set until someone helps put everything away. I don’t know how I survived before without the island.
The kitchen island has transformed over the years to include a sink, stove top, microwave, trash and recycle bins, and additional storage. The island top can range from soapstone to butcher block to granite. Today’s island looks more like a piece of furniture with contrasting color and hand carved legs. It’s common for the island not to match the cabinetry to break up the monotony of the main cabinets.
With the growing popularity of cooking shows, more people choosing to cook themselves than dine out and entertaining at home, the island is the perfect complement to any kitchen. Whether your kitchen is large or small, the island can be six foot long with 2 sinks or a small cart to house cookware.
A working kitchen includes the 3 main areas: clean up, mix/prep and cooking. The island can provide additional space for all of these areas while freeing up additional counter space elsewhere.
According to Fine Homebuilding’s The Daily Fix contributor Johnny Grey, Kitchen islands can be difficult to design. They not only must be functional, but they also should make an aesthetic contribution to the room without overpowering it. I’ve seen more than one island that doesn’t quite live up to its potential. Here’s where islands miss the mark:
• The scale is wrong. Either too big or too small is a killer. If the island dominates
the space, then overzealous countertop planning has gotten the better of you. If the island is too small, it isn’t useful.
• Cooking is not focused on the center of the room. As a result, the pleasure of socializing in the kitchen declines.
• The island does not unite the functions of cabinets on opposing walls. It should shorten distances between cleaning, cooking, prepping, and serving areas.
• The meal-prep area has no view. Ideally, it should overlook the table, the entry door, or the garden.
• The island doesn’t free enough space for a sofa, a hutch, or an architectural feature. If any of these details can’t fit in the final design, your plan needs review.
• Circulation space is cramped. Enlarge surrounding passages by shrinking the island or by moving it into the center of the room