Looking for island ideas
June 20, 2013 in Design Dilemma
Please help with our kitchen island in our new construction. I tried to copy the plan and attach it, I hope it worked and you can all see.

The kitchen is about 16.5x14.5. The 14.5 edge is the one with the range and windows; the 16.5 edge is with the fridge and pantry door. The kitchen opens to the dining area and living area on the side parallel to the fridge/pantry.

1) Our main sink and dishwasher are in the island. Beyond that, we'd like some room for basic storage, trash/recycling pull-outs, and maybe a cookbook shelf, but nothing super fancy. We will utilize other cabinets for the bulk of the storage.

2) It is important to us to maintain a sense of openness and clean lines. Nothing fancy or funky, just classic and nice. We originally had the main sink in a rectangle facing out toward the dining (the left side of the image), so that there could be some interaction with guests. That may be what we stick with, we'll see.

3) We don't want things at an angle, just straight on.

4) Proper walking space between cabinet/counters and island is very important to us. Also, it's debatable whether the "work triangle" idea is old news or not, but for us, that concept works very well and we'd like to keep it. We don't really use the kitchen in "zones", like a snack zone or prep zone or clean-up zone.

5) What about shape of the island - rectangle, L=shape, T-shape, something else? Two islands? Does it even seen big enough to have 2 islands?

Many thanks for any insight you can provide.
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I think I'd have one long rectangular island, about 4' wide by 7' long...42" from the range and 42" from the fridge for work aisle clearances. A 4' wide island would give you about 5' of space on the opposite side for seating. Have the sink roughly across from the fridge to maintain your work triangle.
June 20, 2013 at 9:41AM   
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Thank you very much for your quick reply. I am going to try and attach another idea. Right now there is 54" of space between cabinets and island from the range side and from the fridge side… Is that too much?
June 20, 2013 at 9:54AM   
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Wanted to add there will usually be 2 cooks in the kitchen. Builder put the distance of 54" in between counters and island, I'm just wondering if that's a luxury or if we should try to get away with less.

I would love for the island to provide some boundary definition to the kitchen, since it is a lot of open space to the dining area and the hallway. But when we try an L shaped island that mirrors the format of the counters, I feel like it creates a big cavernous space in the center of the kitchen… Don't know what to do with that area, or if it's okay to have big empty space in the middle of the kitchen.

June 20, 2013 at 1:43PM   
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NKBA guidelines recommend 48" minimum wide work aisles for 2 chefs. 54" seems a bit of a distance, especially if transferring stuff from the prep space on the island to the range - but is certainly within guidelines.

IMO, I would just do one long rectangular island instead of an L-shaped island that fills the empty floor space made by the cabinets (as suggested in my first post). I think a simple rectangular island would be functional, and provide the space delineation you want.
June 20, 2013 at 1:52PM   
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Here is a simple schematic of what I was thinking...Not in any specific proportions...just giving sense of orientation and layout.
The rectangle is the sink. Circles indicate bar seating.
June 20, 2013 at 1:59PM   
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Thank you very much. The configuration you describe is what we started with, and probably where we will end up. With the sink where it is, as both you and I have it, where would you suggest the actual prep happen? On the shorter end of the island, closest to the range, or on the long end of the island beyond the sink – is that too far to get things over to the range? We will have a little bit of counter space on either side of the range too, as the range is flanked by two windows and upper cabinets. We definitely need the island to be as functional as possible, not just a big slab of stone in the middle of the kitchen with hard to reach spaces that are never used.

Thanks again.
June 20, 2013 at 2:41PM   
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^ The sink placement is where it gets a bit tricky, and I have your same questions...especially with functionality and enough prep space close to the sink and range. Personally, I would have your plans looked at by a certified kitchen designer...might be money well spent to avoid mistakes.

NKBA has minimum and recommended guidelines for prep and landing space. This link is very helpful illustrating those guidelines: http://starcraftcustombuilders.com/kitchen.design.rules.htm

Good luck!
June 20, 2013 at 2:57PM   
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With a new project this big you should be working with an experienced professional.
June 20, 2013 at 8:03PM   
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Have you considered not having your main sink in the island and instead tucking it in the corner to the right of the range with the D/W to its left, essentially on the same wall as your range. This satisfies nicely the work triangle as the main sink will be placed as it should be between the range and the fridge. The M/W can easily give up its current location on the perimeter and a super under-counter M/W installed in the island would seem the logical next step. Since there will be two cooks working away in the kitchen you might consider adding a good-sized prep sink to the island, which would reap a terrific useable space for the second cook, while the main work area would quite naturally be the countertop space between the refrigerator and the corner sink. I realize you want "things straight on." I remembered that I had a corner sink in one of our first houses (it was 1987 and I had Gaggenau double ovens and six-burner cooktop, Sub-Zero, Franke, KWC, slab granite, the whole nine yards, that is until we sold the house two years later, without really having enough time to enjoy that painstakingly installed kitchen!) and it worked really well with the fridge maybe 6' away. For the size kitchen it was the close placement of these two inter-related functions that turned that counter space into a well-thought out busy little cooking space. Take all the suggestions you get, weigh the pros and cons and discuss at length with your SO. When you finally make a decision it will be an educated one! Good luck!
June 20, 2013 at 9:21PM   
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