Written by Paula Kennedy, CMKBD CLIPP, with Timeless Kitchen Design
I’m dreaming of Islands in Hawaii if you want to know the truth! The Seattle rain will pass, soon, I hope. On March 15th, I participated in @KBTribeChat‘s weekly Wednesday Twitter chat focused on “Kitchen Islands.” I had fun creating a Pinterest Board in preparation for the chat. It took on a life all of its own. I decided someone needed to write a CEU (Continuing Education Unit) course JUST on the kitchen island, which I might just do! I also read Margaret Charette‘s SaveRoomForDesign blog post last week on Monogram‘s Prototype Island.
So, if we all agree the “kitchen is the heart of the home” then I believe the kitchen island is the PULSE of that Heart. It’s like a magnet! You can’t help but be drawn to it, it has an energy all its own. This is a critical element in our design. It can go really right, or really wrong!
My fondest memories visiting my parents as an adult are at their kitchen island. We would talk for hours sitting at the island, even with as uncomfortable as their stools were if you sat too long. But there was a sense that the magic would be broken if we moved to a more comfortable chair or room. They just moved and downsized and no longer have an island, which makes me sad. That kitchen island experienced a lot of life in the time they lived there. My sister’s busy household has an island which is a magnet, but it isn’t very big and it has a gas cooktop right in the middle of it which severely limits countertop space and brings up safety concerns, yet we still gather.
Below are some great ideas and examples from experience and from the Pinterest board to help keep you inspired and keep you thinking out of the box! No more pedestrian kitchens here please!
Island sinks are almost always necessary, I’d say nine out of 10 times. This one below is my new favorite way to accomplish this goal. Make sure they have a soap dispenser and garbage disposal. The island sink is no longer just the bar sink or a cute thing they have to have to keep up with the Jones’.
Please have fun with the bar stools, get out of your rut if you are in one! And PLEASE help the MAGIC by having comfortable seating. There are some bar stool guidelines included in the Pinterest board. Heights are important to get right, and do give us a place to rest our feet.
Have you seen this below: What about HIDING the island seating?
Below: Convertible, modular, flexibility, these concepts and function are in high demand and will only increase as trends continue to change.
Below: Creatively HIDE the necessary outlets
And don’t forget the ends of the island,
We could go on and on . . .
- Accent material or color, only if it makes sense in the design
- All one level or raised bar- awesome question
- Attached “table” – see great Pinterest examples
- Attached banquettes
- Lighting, again, please have fun, think outside the box
- Appliances in the Island, microwaves, undercounter refrigeration, secondary dishwashers
- Facilitating multiple cooks and multiple function zones
- Character and personality
- Functioning storage and small appliances
- Think outside the box with re-purposing furniture
- Countertops – mix it up!
- Visually stimulating, steal the show or a supporting actor?
- Avoid the block of cabinets, open it up to add interest and to aid visual illusion of larger space
Please follow the NKBA Guidelines while designing the Pulse of the Kitchen. How many steps would you want to take to complete cooking for your family? How far would you want to walk with a hot dish out of the island? How many kids, dogs or adults do you want underfoot when preparing a meal? Put yourself in their shoes. #AuthenticDesign #AuthenticEmpathy
Enjoy the Pinterest board, it has a narrative all it’s own. Happy Island Dreaming!