Kitchen island bench

mumtomitsoAugust 16, 2013
Hi all
We are still designing our extension. If we have a 3.7 metre long island what is the minimum gap between the island and the back wall cupboards? I want to ensure it is a workable area but want a wide as possible island. Currently it is 900mm bench, 900mm gap. There is also only 800 between the island and the furniture. Should I reduce the width of island to 750mm. Any replies much appreciated.
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Absolute minimum is 36", but 42" or even 48" will be way more functional. We have cabinets on 2 sides of an island, with the 36" spacing on the side with the fridge, and it can be a pain if someone has it open and another person wants to get by. Along the other side, the spacing is 42" and 2 people can pass each other easily on this side. Hope it helps - sorry I don't work in metric!
    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 11:32PM
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900mm is not enough clearance. Ideally it should be 1200mm especially for multiple cooks.
    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 6:02AM
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Just double-checked and the side where 2people can pass easily is indeed 42". With 48", I suppose you could also have a drawer open.
    Bookmark   Thanked by mumtomitso    August 17, 2013 at 10:37AM
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FINNE Architects
I have designed over 50 kitchens, and my standard clear dimension between Island and opposite counter is 48", or 1219mm. In a pinch, I have reduced this clear dimension to 46" or 1168mm.
    Bookmark   Thanked by mumtomitso    August 17, 2013 at 10:54AM
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Mumtomitso-A simple calculation from English to metric, as many of us are in the states is this: 25.4mm = 1 inch, therefore, at a minimum, if you want a given distance between edge of counters, you need 2 additional inches between face of cabinets. 38" between face of cabinets = 965 mm.; 50" btw. f.o.c. = 1270 mm; I agree with Dytecture, Karenmore and Finne, 4' is better, in terms of designing a kitchen for mult. cooks and universal design applications. Happy Houzzing.
    Bookmark   Thanked by mumtomitso    August 17, 2013 at 11:21AM
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I should add also that I find the 42" distance really nice for turning from cooktop on island to sink behind me - just a quick pivot and I'm there! Same with fridge/freezer side, even though it is tighter and I would have preferred the 42" distance. But unloading food/ingredients from fridge, or loading groceries in, it's just a quick turn - no walking back and forth. Not sure of all your distances since its all in metric, but you will need a minimum of 3' between island and dining area beyond, and 4' might be better because people never push their stools back into the island when they get up!
    Bookmark   Thanked by mumtomitso    August 17, 2013 at 11:56AM
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Also, as I look at your drawings, I see you are planning for sink on island and cooktop/stove on perimeter. Just some food for thought - I was really glad I decided to put cooktop on island and sink on perimeter, although unlike your drawing I also have an opening in wall where my sink is so its not dark and closed in. But consider how long you are prepping and cooking, as opposed to cleaning up or rinsing, because facing out toward your guests or your other spaces is a really good feeling. I also didn't like the idea of our water glasses, etc. always sitting out on the island in plain view so that was another reason for the decision. It suits me personally, but may not be for everyone. Just thought I'd toss it out there.
    Bookmark   Thanked by mumtomitso    August 17, 2013 at 12:03PM
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Hi Karenmore55 - do you have any pictures of your kitchen available? Thanks for the advice!!
    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 6:57PM
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Can post some tomorrow. I'm entertaining guests on holidays right now, but I'd be happy to do that for you!
    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 7:56PM
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Hi - are you in UK ? As 900mm to 1000mm is about normal distance between island and kitchen cabinets / furniture over here ... It's 1219mm in USA ( but UK homes are often a bit smaller - hence the different guidelines )
The only time I'd say you'd need more gap between is of you have sink directly opposite a cooking area ! Keeping the island 900mm depth will make it look shorter than if you reduced it to 750mmdepth - so I guess it depends on the look you are after !
    Bookmark   Thanked by mumtomitso    August 18, 2013 at 2:43AM
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Hi I'm in Australia One Plan. The space is one the tighter side - I suppose I need to decide if I want the space or the wider bench. Thank you
1 Like    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 3:10PM
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Hi mumtomitso, So these are so the pics showing how my space functions. In pic 1, where we have 43" between island and perimeter cabinets. The cooktop and sink are almost directly opposite each other - I'd say maybe offset by 6". In pics 2 and 3, where I have only 36", you can see that when the fridge is open, another person would not be able to get by. If I could have, I would have made this wider but I wanted the island to be big enough to accommodate 4 stools. I did study your drawings a bit more and it appears your island will be 3' deep, so it wouldn't make sense to have your cooktop on it. It wouldn't be safe with the island stools being so close to it. If space is tight and every inch counts, I feel comfortable saying to go for 42" between island and cabinets ( but no less). I live in Canada and most of us don't have the luxury of living in a custom home. A standard kitchen here is only 10' X 14'. I'm lucky that my kitchen is a bit bigger, but it has an odd configuration of 2 adjacent walls of perimeter cabinets with a huge grand piano shaped island radiating out from there. Hope this helps. Kitchens are expensive and organization and functionality are really important. Oh by the way, I have my dishes stashed in a deep drawer in the island, directly opposite the dishwasher, and it is so cool to be able to just open up that dishwasher and the drawer across from it and just unload with turning or walking!
2 Likes    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 3:20PM
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Thank you so much karemore55. The photos and info are very helpful!! It really gave me food for thought for some things i hadnt considered. Your help is much appreciated!!
1 Like    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 1:26PM
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It will be a tough decision - which area would benefit most from the few extra inches. It would be good to keep the island depth at 3' because then you can have full depth base cabinets with some overhang for stools on the outside of it. This really limits your space between island and furniture, but can your furniture be pushed a bit further away from the kitchen space? From the drawings, it looks like you could go a foot or so, and this might be all you need to get 36" on that side of the island and 42" on the kitchen side.
1 Like    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 3:09PM
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