Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Dream Islands

 A kitchen island or peninsula can dynamically extend the design potential of just about any kitchen.

The first kitchen island were the traditional farmhouse kitchen table that doubled as extra work surfaces as well as eating places.   But today you have the option of selecting islands of the same design and materials as the kitchen cabinets, whether the island is free-standing or integrated. Any free-standing piece of furniture with a counter height surface can serve as an island.  But most customers today require islands that offer hidden cabinets and shelves in addition to another work surface.

However, it remains that the island is most often used as an extra work surface or a casual room divider separating the kitchen from another family room. In either case, if you add under floor wiring, plumbing, and gas lines, the possibilities for an island's usefulness are endless. Once the plumbing and power lines are planned in just about any appliance can be located in an island.  One of the growing popular uses is as a place to house a sink. The option of facing toward the family room is so attractive that such a "kitchen island sink" has challenged the classic "under the window sink" in many homes.

But remember your needs and tastes are individual and only you can determine what kind of island you desire. In a smaller kitchen, you'll get maximum storage, convenience, and a neat appearance if you specify cabinets on both sides of the kitchen island. The common kitchen principle of extending every surface at least an inch beyond the cabinets to prevent dribbling down cabinet fronts especially applies to islands. Obviously, you'll need significantly more overhang for knee room  if your island is used as a breakfast bar.

An island opposite the fridge is a logical place for the microwave. It's still within the work triangle, which makes sense because most of what goes in the microwave comes from the fridge. Alternatively, if your microwave gets more use as a "snack fixer", you may prefer to locate it outside the triangle but still near the fridge in a combination "work island/snack bar".

In larger kitchens you may like to consider the thought that "if one island is good, two are better." A primary island may be stationed within the work triangle, housing extra storage, a fridge or refrigerator drawers, a sink, and so on. Another island might then serve solely as a breakfast bar.

But whatever your needs, an island or peninsula can open out those design possibilities and turn your new kitchen into the family room it really is.

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