Is­land a good place to build in stor­age


“It shouldn’t lit­er­ally be an is­land off by it­self,” Burn­ham says, “but it shouldn’t be too close to perime­ter coun­ter­tops ei­ther.” Other im­por­tant ques­tions: How many peo­ple do you want to seat? Leave plenty of depth for peo­ple’s legs when they sit on bar stools or seats at your is­land.

And do you want one level or two? Burn­ham loves the clean lines of one level sur­face.

But Kirschner some­times de­signs an is­land with two lev­els — one at counter height for cook­ing prep and a lower level at ta­ble height, so you can sit in chairs rather than bar stools. Fam­i­lies with young kids who worry about lit­tle ones fall­ing off bar stools of­ten love this op­tion, Kirschner says.

Some of Fen­i­more’s favourite el­e­ments are deep, pull­out draw­ers for pots and pans, and draw­ers with mech­a­nisms that lift a mixer or other small ap­pli­ance up and out for easy use. Also: draw­ers de­signed to hold con­tain­ers of spices, and deep draw­ers hold­ing me­tal con­tain­ers for serv­ing uten­sils, as you might see in a restau­rant kitchen.

“A lot of peo­ple un­der­es­ti­mate stor­age needs,” Fen­i­more says, so re­ally think about how you cook and what you use. Kirschner also sug­gests con­sid­er­ing what you might want to store that isn’t tech­ni­cally a kitchen item. Her is­land in­cludes draw­ers for her chil­dren’s art sup­plies be­cause the is­land is where they do arts and crafts projects. Is­lands of­ten have closed stor­age, but some peo­ple pre­fer some open shelv­ing. Fen­i­more has a trash can built into her is­land, with a stain­less steel open­ing in the is­land’s sur­face where un­wanted items can eas­ily be swept dur­ing cook­ing. It’s a de­tail that didn’t add much to the cost but makes life ex­po­nen­tially eas­ier.


It sounds lovely — hav­ing your stove­top in the is­land so you can chat with some­one seated there while you’re cook­ing. But things splat­ter, Kirschner points out. And tear­ing up the floor to add power and gas lines can be ex­pen­sive if your kitchen doesn’t al­ready have these util­i­ties in the mid­dle of the floor.

The same goes for adding a sink to your is­land: These de­sign­ers say an is­land sink is a great fea­ture and pop­u­lar with clients, but you have to con­sider the ex­pense if you’ll need plumb­ing work done in the floor.

Lastly, your cook­top needs ven­ti­la­tion. Do you want a range hood mounted in the ceil­ing and loom­ing over your kitchen is­land? “There are down­draft vents,” Kirschner says, “but they tend to not work nearly as well” at ven­ti­lat­ing your cook­ing space as over­head ranges do.


Some peo­ple love an is­land that seam­lessly matches the rest of the kitchen, with coun­ter­tops and cab­i­netry iden­ti­cal to what runs along the room’s perime­ter.

But our three de­sign­ers say you can also think of your is­land like a piece of gor­geous fur­ni­ture that is co-or­di­nated with the rest of the room but a lit­tle dif­fer­ent. If you want the is­land to be the kitchen’s fo­cal point, Kirschner says, get cre­ative.

She loves nat­u­ral stone sur­faces for kitchen is­lands, es­pe­cially quartzite, which she says has beau­ti­ful veins of colour but is more durable than mar­ble. Burn­ham agrees that a kitchen is­land can be a dra­matic state­ment, and there are many style op­tions. Do you want a Euro­pean farm-ta­ble look, or mod­ern and sleek mar­ble?

“We’ve seen a lot of the dark blues and greys and greens, in re­ac­tion to all the white kitchens we were see­ing for a while,” Burn­ham says.

“Maybe mix things up. Keep all the coun­ter­tops the same, but maybe the perime­ter cab­i­netry is one colour and the is­land cab­i­netry is a dif­fer­ent colour.”

On­line: stu­ ■ www.burn­hamde­ ■ www.jd­kin­te­ri­ ■ The As­so­ci­ated Press


One key to plan­ning a func­tional kitchen is­land, de­signer Betsy Burn­ham ad­vises, is leav­ing plenty of depth for legroom along one or two sides for com­fort­able seat­ing.

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