Kitchen is­lands get big­ger, bet­ter and more col­or­ful

Los Angeles Times - - HOME & DESIGN - By Bon­nie McCarthy home@la­times.com

Kitchen is­lands are com­mand cen­tral. Play­ing host to ev­ery­thing from home­work to happy hour, is­lands are of­ten the most pop­u­lar spot in the house — as well as a stun­ning show­case of style.

“It used to be that is­lands played an im­por­tant role in al­low­ing home­own­ers to gain more coun­ter­top for cook­ing, but it’s re­ally taken on a whole new life in today’s kitchen,” said Stephanie Pierce, direc­tor of de­sign and trends for MasterBrand Cab­i­nets, “it’s more about cre­at­ing a fo­cal point within the space for so­cial and fam­ily in­ter­ac­tion, in ad­di­tion to the food prep.”

De­signer Denise Bosley, owner of Denise Bosley In­te­ri­ors in Sierra Madre said, “If home­own­ers can fit an is­land, they will have an is­land.” In many cases, the big­ger the bet­ter. The pop­u­lar­ity of open floor plans has re­sulted in larger is­lands that serve as a kitchen work­horse, Grand Cen­tral for so­cial­iz­ing and a piece of cus­tom fur­ni­ture that con­nects spa­ces and cre­ates flow.

If an over­sized is­land is on the wish list, how­ever, Bosley ad­vises clients to think it through. “You have to con­sider things like the type of stone you want to use,” said Bosley, “if you do want a re­ally large is­land you’re go­ing to have seams … and some peo­ple don’t like that.”

Bosley said one 11-foot is­land she in­stalled re­quired a seam down the cen­ter to merge two slabs. “You don’t see it in pic­tures, and it be­comes an af­ter­thought — then you build this big is­land and think, oh, boy.”

Paul L’Esper­ance, co-owner of L’Esper­ance De­sign in West Hol­ly­wood said when it comes to coun­ter­tops, his clients are re­quest­ing Ne­olith, an ul­tra-com­pact sur­face ma­te­rial man­u­fac­tured by com­bin­ing raw ma­te­ri­als found in glass, porce­lain and quartz un­der ex­treme heat and in­tense pres­sure.

“Ev­ery­body wants the beauty of Cal­cutta mar­ble,” said L’Esper­ance, “but they don’t want the up­keep … this is selling like crazy.”

Bosley agreed. “Peo­ple want mar­ble, but they know it’s not prac­ti­cal for most fam­ily kitchens,” she said, “we’ve been us­ing a lot of quartz, and a lot of new [man­u­fac­tured] ma­te­ri­als com­ing out that look like mar­ble.”

Up­graded is­lands also boast big­ger sinks. “It’s not just a small prep sink any­more,” said Bosley. “Peo­ple are us­ing them to wash dishes and share dur­ing prep.”

Di­vided sinks are out too, L’Esper­ance said: “Ev­ery­body wants the big trough, farm sinks in stain­less steel or enamel.” The big­gest news in is­lands is color. “The is­land is a great op­por­tu­nity to pro­vide some per­son­al­ity with color or warmth with wood tones, so we are see­ing is­lands be­ing uti­lized a lot as an ac­cent el­e­ment,” Pierce said.

“Ev­ery­body wants to paint their cab­i­nets right now,” said L’Esper­ance. “There’s a lit­tle bit of a re­volt from white… so the first project peo­ple jump on is an is­land be­cause it’s not like re­do­ing all the cab­i­nets.”

“We’ll do white perime­ter cab­i­nets,” said Bosley, “and color on the is­land.” Navy blues, beachy shades and bold greens and blues are trend­ing.

“Blue is def­i­nitely the num­ber one pick for kitchen ac­cent col­ors this year,” said Pierce, “and it’s all shades.”

“Hague Blue from Far­row and Ball is beau­ti­ful,” said L’Esper­ance, “…you know with is­lands, peo­ple can go a lit­tle more wild.”

Pho­tos by, clock­wise from top left, MasterBrand; Ri­cardo DeAratanha L.A. Times; MasterBrand; Joel Danto

THE IS­LAND isn’t just for cook­ing — it’s for stor­ing, so­cial­iz­ing, din­ing. Nor is it just in white. Blue is pop­u­lar lately. See lots more im­ages at la­times.com/home.

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