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Kitchen Island Design Suggestions--COVID distraction :-)


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We are changing out our kitchen island to create more seating/dining space, but I'm consulting the wisdom of the Hive to be sure I don't miss anything.

Tell me about your dream kitchen island!!

Our oven, dishwasher and stove, and one pull-out trash can are on the perimeter of the kitchen. The only "appliance" on the island currently is a small prep sink. We don't need a mini fridge/wine fridge in our kitchen, I don't feel but I'm wondering what others have found really useful on their island. An additional pull out trash can, since the island is where I prep?

We cook a lot, but I really haven't felt the need for an additional dishwasher, and honestly it sounds like just one more chore. I really don't mind handwashing our big bowls/pots, and I'm not sure I want to give up the storage/drawer space for a dishwasher or a trash can???

Any thoughts appreciate!

 

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What will be the dimensions of the island and how wide are your aisles if you do it at that dimension? So the perimeter cabs are staying the same? 

Adding a 2nd dw really depends on the size of the kitchen. I have one, and it makes sense in my kitchen. I have a 9' island, so one dw is for prep and the other is for dishes and parties. If everything is a little closer, a 2nd dw might not make sense. 

So what is the flex on the sink? You're plumbed, but if the cabs are changing can that sink size change? Is your main sink opposite the island or more perpendicular? IE can you wash your veg, pivot, chop on island, or are you wanting to wash on island, prep on island? I have a D shaped sink and went bigger rather than smaller. If you like disposals, it's an obvious place to put a disposal. The faucet matters, because you want something with either a pull out or a pull down (I like pull out for this) that allows you to rinse the things you're prepping. 

Another tip on islands is to make the prep area *deep* enough before you do a raised/2nd area. You can do this either with custom cabinets *or* by furring out. So I measured very carefully the depth I needed for my biggest baddest cutting board plus salad bowls for all of us. I also made sure that depth did not extend beyond the distance I can *reach* without hunching over or straining. I'm very picky about that, but nobody likes their back to hurt. So my prep area is 31", including overhang, and the actual cabinet is 29" to the face (not including door). 

I left a small overhang for a trash can and I keep a commercial style rectangular shaped trash can that takes the large black trash bags. I can easily pull this trashcan around to catch dripping meat packages, whatever, or you can just throw things in where it is. I've seen similar trashcans (bigger, square) in the parking lots at Walmart, but I'm not sure my particular one is still made. Rubbermaid might make them also. https://trashcansunlimited.com/skinny-plastic-23-gallon-slim-trash-can-vented-tcn2030-5-color-choices/  here, this looks very similar to what I have. I don't use the lid. The overhang of the island covers it most of the way. My can is 13.5" wide and the overhang is 10.5". It's enough that your eye reads it as covered but it's easy to throw something in. And a commercial trash can is so durable that yes you can build your kitchen around it, lol. I have one in my mudroom at the entrance to catch mail, one in my basement. LOVE these trash cans. 

I would consider converting that trash pullout on the perimeter to something else. You can probably find more ways to use it. Recycling, an ice maker, drawers, vertical storage for bags and foil/cling wrap, whatever. 

Have you considered electric on the island? We were able to install *plug mold* along the lengths on each side of the sink. I centered my D shaped sink because my frig is to the left and because I was putting twin light fixtures overhead. But if the frig were elsewhere, sure sink could be a different location. Anyways, plug mold is the BOMB. If you google it, I'm seeing lots of people installing it in the overhang between the cabinet face and the underside of the counter. That's not where mine is. I have two levels on my island, so the plugmold runs along the tile backsplash where the counter heights change. You can't have it behind a sink obviously, because it's not GFI. But we were allowed to put it to the sides and it's just fab. So my mixer, food processor, etc. stay plugged in and tidy, no problem. If I want to use them or pull out a small appliance (immersion blender, small whizzer to chop up something little, whatever), boom right there. If I have multiple people working at once and both want to use big appliances, I can move one over to the prep area because there's power. So think in terms of work spaces and how many people you want to be able to work and what they need to work.

Ok, the cabs. Do you already have them? I'm all about the drawers. All drawers, everywhere possible. Because it's a prep area, my top drawer is cutting boards and baggies. Next drawer is dish towels and small rags (because I'm OCD and literally own at least 30 dish towels and always have 4 at least in use and like clean ones). Salad bowls, knife honing, etc. can go in there. Bottom drawer is more papers, steamers, etc. But the main point is drawers to hold whatever you're using there. Store at point of use if possible. 

I'm 5'5" (I lost a 1/2" sigh) and rather plump. I DO NOT LIKE MY RAISED ISLAND. However my ds and dh think it's the bomb. All my guests like it. But I've sat there like 3 times in 12 years, because hanged if my butt is gonna jump 4' in the air just to sit down, kwim? But it's open to a great room, so for looks it was necessary. And people who are taller or more gazelle like like it, lol. Just not me. And it's a real sore spot if you want to eat as a family. But it's what we did. 

If people want to eat breakfast at your island, put in a narrow cab for breakfast cereals. We originally had that drawn in, and it disappeared somehow in the process, got streamlined out. So we always have boxes of cereal sitting there. It's not the end of the world, but it's just something to think through. Apparently we're terribly lazy and we like to leave the cereal right there. Have a plan.

Hmm, what else? Well the prep side is engineered but the other side, that raised eating area, is a beautiful piece of wood. We went with it because I wanted it to be warm to the touch, not COLD like stone. It is very lovely and has worked out well. Catch is, you get splashing from the sink, meaning every so often you're salting little spots that took water. And we use placemats for each person's spot. Now again, I don't mind because it kind of soften things and looks nice. But it's stuff you think through. 

I had a really bad vibe about mail ending up on the island. When an island is all one surface, you can just end up with it taken over by mail. It's something to think through, where your mail will land when people walk in the door, what will end up on it, how you can break up surfaces or create divisions that prevent that. So with my two island heights, the actual space where you could dump mail is only the depth of the eating area overhang. I have such a nice constant supply of dirty dishes (haha) that no one would put them on the prep side. I also put in, like I said, that big receptacle for junk mail and amazon packages and stuff. We have a hanging rack to catch my mail, pigeons for bills, etc. I did not want to see my island covered in everything that walks into the house, so I had a plan.

My island is a different color from the perimeter cabs, and just in general I prefer this. Main counter surface is the same as the perimeter counters, but that raised eating area is the warmer material. I think how many materials you use is limited by what makes sense for your space. I think larger islands with multiple materials look very nice. 

Then you have family meals, parties, anything where you want to buffet. I was surprised people liked serving food off the raised area of the island. For me at 5'5" (lost that 1/2"), it's a little TALL. But most people are fine with it. Adults are serving kids anyway and it goes over well. Then you have the issue of the wood and needing to protect it from hot things. It's surmountable, but it's another thing to consider in your surface choices. When I have bigger parties, sometimes I put the main meal on the inside (using the perimeter and the prep side of the island) and then put desserts on the raised area. Then it doesn't matter, since they're cold. However I could see scenarios where maybe the perimeter cabs aren't conducive to serving food. So then think through how you can use the levels of the island to serve the meals you do less often that you'll want to do. Again, it's a reason why plugmold is nice, because then you can plug in chocolate fountains, electric warmers, crockpots, etc. 

I did not do a disposal, so I have a compost bin. Not saying either way, just saying I had to plan space for the compost bin on the counter as well as the knife block. I did not do an installed soap pump at my prep sink because my dh thought they were anathema. That was not something I need have compromised on. I have an installed pump on another sink and it's very nice. Plan where your paper towel holder/stand will go if you're going to want paper towels on the island.

Well have fun! I hope your island is everything you dreamed! 

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We have two very narrow pull outs, one in our island, that store bottles for food prep. The one in the island is for Asian ingredients that we use for marinades, etc.

https://www.ikea.com/gb/en/p/metod-base-cabinet-pull-out-int-fittings-white-hittarp-off-white-s39168890/

 

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I’m thinking of adding this cabinet-mounted compost bin to my prep area. Currently my compost is in a small step can on the floor and I’m on a “get all trash/recycling/compost receptacles off the floor” kick.
 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BA3LP28/?coliid=I37CDLAQQJPNBQ&colid=3O8M2Q6RP363P&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

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I have a similar design (all appliances on perimeter except a small prep sink on the island.) 

I chose a large, wide, single level island with seating for 2 (3 if they're kids), and I can't think of a single thing I'd change. Having the large single level allows for lots of work space. We'll routinely have 3-4 folks working at the island comfortably. I have my prep sink on one corner -- the one that's nearest the cook top across the aisle, for easy dumping of pasta water/etc. I'm happy with that, and two folks can actually access it at the same time if desired because one can stand on the "short side" or the "far side" while the other person is working at the "main side"

My biggest tip is to make sure the counter depth is plenty deep for any seating. I all the time see folks with skimpy 12-14 inch deep "seating" areas, which are ridiculously uncomfortable for actually using. Be sure to really sit at a counter and imagine how you'll use it and MEASURE how deep you like to sit when relaxing at a counter/table.

Depending on your layout, you might want to consider a raised seating area at the island. I do have that on a peninsula at one end of my island, and I love it. It's wonderful for stashing laptops/phones/speakers/whatever and it being raised protects it from liquid spills or flour or sugar "sprinkles" that tend to escape when baking on the working surfaces and also helps block the view of messier work counters/sinks. (My peninsula is between our dining room and our kitchen.) Again, only caveat is make sure that it is deep enough. 

NOTE: for deep seating areas, you may have to seriously reinforce the counter top supports. This is why most kitchen designers don't make them deep enough, because beyond 10--12 inches, overhang, you need major supports. I had special steel L brackets (about 2 inches wide and probably 1/4 inch thick fabricated, which is all good and not terribly expensive, but is a special order from a special fabricator project, so a bit of a hassle for your contractor. 

Only other caveat, hell-to-the-no on "lower" regular table height seating level on an island. It's nuts. Just sit at a regular chair pulled up across from your current counter height island, and attempt chatting between diner and standing chef. YUCK. 

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13 hours ago, KungFuPanda said:

I’m thinking of adding this cabinet-mounted compost bin to my prep area. Currently my compost is in a small step can on the floor and I’m on a “get all trash/recycling/compost receptacles off the floor” kick.
 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BA3LP28/?coliid=I37CDLAQQJPNBQ&colid=3O8M2Q6RP363P&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

Interesting idea, hadn't seen that. For op, this is what I have. It's a pail on the counter. https://www.leevalley.com/en-us/shop/kitchen/trash-recycling-and-compost/compost/10025-stainless-steel-compost-pails  They sell biodegradeable bags to line it, so every day or two you take it out to the compost. Easy to rinse out and dumping often keeps the bugs down. I don't think it looks too bad on my counter, and it's easy to throw in the sink when you're peeling eggs like I was tonight, etc. 

10 hours ago, StephanieZ said:

for deep seating areas, you may have to seriously reinforce the counter top supports.

Yes! So I measured my dh's legs when he was sitting and then added a couple inches for comfort. So the depth of the leg area is 17" and the actual raised eating surface is 24". There's a 6" transition panel along the main cabs so 17" + 6" + 1" overhang =24" countertop. And yes, that's an amount that requires brackets. We had wood ones made to go with the cabs. I think you can buy them. But yes, that's why someone will try to steer you toward a narrower depth. I think maybe 10" is about as far as you're going without additional supports. So my trashcan overhang on the end is that 10" limit. I keep a little stool there on the corner too, so that's where I sit when prepping or if I want to eat while they eat at the island. 

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On 4/28/2020 at 1:44 PM, momacacia said:

We are changing out our kitchen island to create more seating/dining space, but I'm consulting the wisdom of the Hive to be sure I don't miss anything.

Tell me about your dream kitchen island!!

Our oven, dishwasher and stove, and one pull-out trash can are on the perimeter of the kitchen. The only "appliance" on the island currently is a small prep sink. We don't need a mini fridge/wine fridge in our kitchen, I don't feel but I'm wondering what others have found really useful on their island. An additional pull out trash can, since the island is where I prep?

We cook a lot, but I really haven't felt the need for an additional dishwasher, and honestly it sounds like just one more chore. I really don't mind handwashing our big bowls/pots, and I'm not sure I want to give up the storage/drawer space for a dishwasher or a trash can???

Any thoughts appreciate!

 

The main thing I love about our island is the size- it’s perfect for prepping dinner and for serving food.  Maybe 7’ x 3’?.  Solid surface- my old one had a cooktop on it and I hated the lost space. On the side closest to the sink and stove I have huge drawers for spatulas/tongs and all that stuff plus my pots and pans.  On one end is a cabinet with Tupperware.  The other side of the island has plastic bowls/cups/serving dishes.  Outlets and usb at each end.  Love it!  No seating for us. We have a table and a peninsula with seating.

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On 4/28/2020 at 10:44 AM, momacacia said:

We are changing out our kitchen island to create more seating/dining space, but I'm consulting the wisdom of the Hive to be sure I don't miss anything.

Tell me about your dream kitchen island!!

Our oven, dishwasher and stove, and one pull-out trash can are on the perimeter of the kitchen. The only "appliance" on the island currently is a small prep sink. We don't need a mini fridge/wine fridge in our kitchen, I don't feel but I'm wondering what others have found really useful on their island. An additional pull out trash can, since the island is where I prep?

We cook a lot, but I really haven't felt the need for an additional dishwasher, and honestly it sounds like just one more chore. I really don't mind handwashing our big bowls/pots, and I'm not sure I want to give up the storage/drawer space for a dishwasher or a trash can???

Any thoughts appreciate!

I don't want anything on my island, just six feet or more of uninterrupted work space. I could tolerate a prep sink and pull-out trash can. The island I have now is small but serviceable, as my kitchen is not very large. 🙂 It has large, deep drawers, not  base cabinets. Love those. And it has outlets on both ends.

I don't want people to sit at the island, either.

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