Unique Kitchen Islands

By Dan Gregory

This long sleek island is called a "waterfall" design for the way the countertop angles to the floor. Plan 888-18

The best kitchen islands fit the way you want to live. They can add spaciousness while hiding clutter, simply divide the kitchen from the great room, provide a generous work surface beside the sink or range, add storage and display space -- or do it all in one structure.

An island can be as simple as a kitchen table. It can be treated like an elaborate permanent table and display/storage cabinet, as shown here in Plan 132-175, complete with marble top.

Here's another example of an island treated as a long table under, and echoing the shape of, a skylight, Plan 481-7, by architect Bud Dietrich.

Or it can be as elaborate as the two-tired island in the kitchen of Bud Dietrich's Plan 481-5, shown at the top of this post, where
the angled buffet counter wraps around three sides, which makes casual dining especially comfortable and almost like sitting across from one another at a table. A two-tiered counter is especially useful if you don't like to see clutter and want to store everyday items under or behind the upper counter.

Single surface islands work well if you want the maximum work surface. I
Plan 485-1, below, the island offers cabinets, wine storage, and plenty of room for food prep, as well as a small space for casual meals at one end -- seating doesn't always need to be on the long side.
It's important to decide what you want in the island -- is it where you would like the sink, or perhaps a smaller prep or bar sink? Keep the classic work triangle in mind -- sink, range, refrigerator -- so your layout is as efficient as possible.

If the range needs to be there don't forget to think about the vent hood -- will it be a prominent feature or can you have a pop-up vent,

as shown here in the kitchen of Plan 454-10 by architect Sarah Susanka. In any case, island sink or island range should be oriented outward so you can face the great room while you're working.

There are an infinite number of ways to treat the island. Traditional detailing might involve turning it into a piece of vintage furniture, with turned legs, and paneled drawers and cabinets. Or do you want a more streamlined look, as in what is sometimes called a "waterfall

design" where the counter surface extends down the sides of the island in one continuous run, as shown here in Plan 909-1 by MA Architecture, and at the top of this post in Plan 888-18 by Nick Lee.

As I have said before, the only real limits to the design of a kitchen island are at the edge of your imagination and the depth of your pocketbook.

To browse floor plans with great kitchen ideas click here.

Tue Oct 14 00:00:00 PDT 2014