If you speak to homeowners, they’ll probably tell you that there’s not enough counter space in their kitchen, no matter how much or how little they have. Whether you need a second work station, a space from which to serve, or just a place to toss the day’s mail, kitchen islands are a popular solution to a lack of space. According to research, over 50 percent of kitchens include islands. The great thing about an island is that it can fit any design, contemporary or traditional. If designed well the island will not only be one of the most well-used and practical areas of your kitchen but also the focal aesthetic feature. If you are planning a kitchen remodel that will include an island, consider these tips: Most importantly, there should be sufficient space between the island and other work surfaces to allow for opening cabinet and appliance doors, and for two people to work without jostling one another. Depending on your specific needs, the island can be located so it functions as an integral part of your work area. It can also serve as a divider between the kitchen and the rest of the home in an open-plan design. Adding an island permits a reconfiguration of the classic work triangle of refrigerator, hob and sink. It is an ideal place to relocate either the hob or the sink and can also be used for an additional sink or prep bowl. If the hob is located in the island consider drawers below the hob to store your pots and pans. If the island is a second work station with a prep bowl include a recycling bin for vegetable matter in the cabinet below. Be sure to plan for the plumbing and electrics necessary if installing the sink of hob in your island. This needs to be done way before the kitchen company comes to site as the pipe work and electrical conduit will need to be chased into the flooring. If you have opted for a gas hob it can be easier as you are permitted to house one 9kg gas bottle in the cupboard adjacent to the hob as long as it has a cut-off valve and the installation is done by a registered gas plumber. The addition of a pop-up electrical plug bank is also useful so that small appliances can be operated from the island. If you are locating your hob on the island give good thought to installing an island extractor particularly if your home is open plan. This will not only be a lovely feature but will stop the cooking smells permeating the rest of the house. Installing an island extractor can be quite tricky and it is advised to get it installed by an expert. If your island separates the kitchen from the living aIrea it can be a multi-purpose unit with a totally different look facing out to the living area. Shallow, glass-fronted doors can be used as display space facing the living area, while the kitchen side can use standard-depth base cabinets for no-nonsense storage. The generous countertops that are usually part of an island are perfect for entertaining and will be the ideal meeting point for your guests to be with you in the kitchen without intruding on your work space. Don’t forget about adequate lighting. Without it, the island will lose much of its functionality and aesthetic appeal. Pendant lighting makes a striking feature above an island. For more subtle lighting down lighters can be used. These are particularly effective when installed into a bulkhead that lowers the ceiling-height above the island. Finally, it is important that your island unit is stable, so ensure your kitchen manufacturer has used adequate support by using strong weight-bearing legs under the carcasses. The number of legs used for an island carcass should be double that used for a wall mounted carcass.
Article by: Stephanie Forbes