admin, Saturday, April 29th 2017. Kitchen Island Plans.
Islands have become the norm in new kitchens for good reason. They’re multi-taskers, capable of storing pots and pans, concealing appliances, serving as an anchor of the work triangle and taking the place of the kitchen table. Especially useful in kitchens with open floor plans, islands can open up a dialogue between the kitchen and the living room, the cook and the guests.To show some specifics of just what a kitchen island can do, we’ve designed nine different island possibilities for the same kitchen. Look at them from a distance, pull in for a close-up, check out a different angle, and read up on the advantages and some handy design tips.
The most important design tip for a kitchen island: Resist the common urge to stuff 10 pounds of island into a 5-pound kitchen. It’s natural to want to gain as much storage and counter space as possible, but an oversized island interferes with appliance and cabinet doors and doesn’t offer room for cooks to maneuver. Industry guidelines recommend at least 3 feet between the island and a wall and 3½ feet between the island and surrounding cabinets and appliances.
A kitchen island and its cousin, the peninsula, can vastly expand the design potential and convenience of just about any kitchen. Among the earliest islands were farm tables that gave cooks extra work surfaces and doubled as informal dining stations. Today, a homeowner has the option of islands made of the same materials as the base cabinets and countertop for an integral look. On the other hand, the latest trend is leaning back toward a freestanding look, with upper cabinets, base cabinets, and countertop materials in a mix of materials and colors. In this scenario, any freestanding piece of furniture with at least one part standing at about counter height can function as an island. Most homeowners prefer a piece that offers hidden cabinets, open shelves, or a combination of the two in addition to another work surface. In a more high-tech kitchen, lower storage may also include a host of refinements such as wine racks and refrigerated drawers.
In many kitchens, the island is used as an extra workstation, adding to the usefulness of the work triangle or corridor kitchen. In others, it's used as a low, casual divider defining the perimeter of the kitchen where it meets the family room or breakfast room. In either case, if you add in-floor wiring, plumbing, and gas lines, the possibilities for an island's usefulness are endless. Just about any appliance can be located in an island if the plumbing and electrical wiring are planned in. A wine rack, a gourmet wine chiller, an under-cabinet refrigerator, and an ice-maker on the family room side are very nice options. On the kitchen side, add a second dishwasher, a microwave, or even an under-cabinet wall oven. In a small or medium-size kitchen, one of the most popular uses of an island is as a place to house the sink. The option of facing toward the family room is so attractive that a kitchen island sink has replaced the classic under-the-window sink in many homes. In a larger kitchen, the island may house a second sink.
When combined with easy access to the microwave and the fridge, this setup creates a secondary work triangle. Your needs and tastes will help determine what kind of island you should have. In a smaller space, you'll get maximum storage, convenience, and a neat appearance if you specify cabinets on both sides of the kitchen island so that dishes can be stashed or removed from either side. For a stylish, freestanding-furniture look that's especially at home in traditional settings, specify an island with table legs and a low shelf for open display and storage. The common kitchen principle of extending every countertop at least an inch beyond the cabinets to prevent dribbling spills down cabinet fronts especially applies to islands. Obviously, you'll need significantly more overhang for knee room (at least 15 inches) if your island is used as a snack table or as a higher snack counter with stools (18 inches).
One of the most dramatic, popular island designs is two-tiered, with food prep on the kitchen side and counter seating on the other. A sink can be stationed either on the same level as the eating counter or on a waist-high work counter with the dining surface on a higher plane. When the appliance you want to house in the island is a cooktop, however, safety dictates that the cooktop be on a lower plane, with the snack counter at least four to six inches higher. Specify heat-resistant material for the countertops adjoining the cooktop and at least 24 inches of counter for landing space on both sides, and provide for at least four inches of heat-resistant backsplash.
In generously sized kitchens, it might be best to think along the lines of "if one island is good, two are better." A primary island may be stationed within the work triangle, housing extra storage, a mini-fridge or refrigerator drawers, a prep sink, a drop-in cooktop, and so on. Another island might serve solely as a snack bar, perhaps with a small TV perched at one end on a swivel base. If this island defines the perimeter of the kitchen, choose your island base, top, and counter stools to coordinate with the decorative scheme of the adjoining room. Whether this means elegant leather bar chairs, pretty wicker with plump cushions, or metal bistro stools with amusing cut-out motifs is up to you. Even in the kitchen, an island is for fun and adventure!
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