Are we over a kitchen is­land trend?

South Waikato News - - Property - KATH­LEEN KIN­NEY

‘‘In prac­tice, I think is­lands are an in­ven­tion of the wealthy who spend more time heat­ing up take-aways.’’

Watch any tele­vi­sion show, or turn the pages of a home de­sign mag­a­zine, and chances are the kitchens you see will have a cen­tral is­land. In the­ory, a kitchen is­land adds ex­tra workspace; and in an open-plan liv­ing area, it helps to de­lin­eate the kitchen from the rest of the larger room.

But ac­cord­ing to a some Bri­tish in­te­rior de­sign­ers, kitchen is­lands are ‘‘strangely im­prac­ti­cal’’ and noth­ing more than ‘‘a mid­dle-class sta­tus sym­bol’’.

In a re­cent Daily Mail article, in­te­ri­ors ex­pert and Cow­boy Builders pre­sen­ter Ali­son Cork said, ‘‘I don’t ex­actly re­mem­ber when is­land units came into fash­ion, but they quickly be­cause a sta­tus sym­bol. I re­mem­ber spend­ing hours mea­sur­ing out my kitchen so I could shoe­horn one in, com­pletely ig­nor­ing the fact that the kitchen would in fact be far eas­ier to get around if there wasn’t this gran­ite car­bun­cle plonked in the mid­dle.’’

In­te­rior de­signer Vanessa Ar­buth­nott agreed, ‘‘They seem to me a mid­dle class as­pi­ra­tion and a sta­tus sym­bol; a sign of a ‘‘good’’ cook, a pro­fes­sional mum and cool wife. But in prac­tice, I think is­lands are an in­ven­tion of the wealthy who spend more time heat­ing up take-aways.’’

That may be true in Lon­don, but ac­cord­ing to Auck­land-based kitchen de­signer Robyn Labb, ‘‘Kitchen is­lands are ide­ally suited to the way we live here in New Zealand and Aus­tralia. They’ve been around for nearly 30 years, and they’re still large as life.’’

‘‘Their homes [in the UK] just don’t have the space for the kitchens that we have,’’ says Mal Cor­boy, who has de­signed award­win­ning kitchens around the world. ‘‘New Zealand and Aus­tralia have some of the big­gest homes in the world, on av­er­age. Our life­style is about open-plan liv­ing, and a kitchen with a big is­land is ab­so­lutely part of that.’’

Lon­don-based de­signer Anya Choroszczyn­ska is quick to point out the po­ten­tial pit­falls. ‘‘The light­ing is often a dis­as­ter and the smell of cook­ing can reach the sit­ting area. Peo­ple use kitchen is­lands in so many dif­fer­ent ways but... there is noth­ing worse than a dead area in the mid­dle of the room.’’ Re­becca Dupre of Du­pere De­sign Lon­don agrees.

KAL­LAN MACLEOD

In this kitchen, by Mal Cor­boy, the is­land takes a prom­i­nent po­si­tion, while the work­ing space is set fur­ther back.

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