A couple of weeks ago we featured a kitchen remodel Hands-On completed last year - the new kitchen has a beautiful large island at its heart. Big or small, what makes for a successful island? Here are some questions to think about in designing your dream island --
Photography Mori Insinger 2011
- Beyond storage and extra work surface for your sous chef - what do you want your island to do? Will you outfit it with a cooktop, refrigerator drawer, microwave, dishwasher or sink? Do you want an end or side especially for dining or homework?
- Thinking some more about function: Does a multi-level surface make sense, to separate eating space from work space? A curved side makes an inviting edge for dining or other seated activities.
- Mixing surface material choices -- different from the other counter tops (butcher block, granite) or cabinet finishes (painted, stained) in the kitchen -- enhance the island's focal point and support multiple work spaces.
- How will the island define space in the kitchen? Is it meant to control traffic between cooks and guests? Will it act as a bridge, supporting movement between kitchen and family room, as this island does?
- Finally, size is a key design choice. Just right is between 3 1/2 and 4 feet - any smaller and there's not enough clearance for appliances to open or people to move around it. Any larger and you're taking extra steps as you move from island to surrounding counters.