Need help with kitchen island design

kikiakakoNovember 8, 2013
I'm having a wood-stained island installed in my kitchen (the perimeter cabinets are white; the backsplash tile is white; my floor is a gunstock hardwood color). The island is large with a significant eating counter - the entire island top is granite (Volga Blue). In order to support the granite eating surface, we need to build a knee wall. The knee wall can either be painted OR covered in matching stained wood (smooth finish). I'm having a difficult time deciding which way to go. I'd love to hear your opinions. Thank you! PS - attached is a sketch of the island configuration. I highlighted the portion that would be drywall. Paint v. wood?
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Aggie dba Aggie Designs
It should be stained would, just like the island. It will look more intentional and will hold up to scuff marks better.
    Bookmark   Thanked by kikiakako    November 8, 2013 at 11:44AM
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If you don't stain it, you will have this choppy area with a different colour and texture and you'll struggle with it.

Also, when doing the island like this (different from the perimeter cabinets and in particular, stained) what you're trying to do is make the island look like a freestanding piece of furniture, like a huge dresser. So, in keeping with that, no drywall. In fact, hide the knee wall if you can. Make the panel look like furniture, not a flat hunk o'wall that you covered with wood. (Consider making the knee wall stop short, even, not coming to the outside edge if the counter; put a door and some shallow shelves there.) (Would explain more specifically but would need to see it in plan, not elevation.)
    Bookmark   Thanked by kikiakako    November 8, 2013 at 1:53PM
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Kikiakako--A couple of things. Paint the island cabts. white to match the others. I agree with the elimination of the drywall. Second, I think the seating area and the the sink counter should be at the same height. It is much more comfortable to sit or stand at counter height. Third, I don't quite understand the idea of doors into a 3-1/2" deep wall on the underside of the raised counter? If you are going to panel the island, panel the sides of the cabinet itself. Fourth, if you intend on serving more than 3 people, the legs under the top appear to be in the way for seating 2 at the end. 27" is the minimum clear dimension that you need to consider. This is an attempt to maintain the "open" space under the eating bar/table, I would just suggest that you consider this approach, such that you maximize the utility of the island. Here is my graphically rendered idea for your island--it needs some refinement by your cabt/granite vendors. You could cantilever the top on multiple sides if you build the appropriate structure below to support it. Happy Houzzing.
2 Likes    Bookmark   Thanked by kikiakako    November 8, 2013 at 3:26PM
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what dmh said.

Except for painting it like the kitchen cupboards. I think islands look better if they contrast, like furniture. Otherwise, the kitchen is overcome by yards and yards doors and millwork that looks the same. And even more so if the island adjoins a living space--when you're in the adjoining living space, you want to feel like the kitchen's nearby (hence, open kitchen), but not like you're sitting right in the kitchen.
    Bookmark   Thanked by kikiakako    November 8, 2013 at 3:49PM
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PS and dmh wins the prize for excellent drawings.
    Bookmark   November 8, 2013 at 3:50PM
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The furniture idea, the look of a free standing piece, is not a bad idea. It is a preference, and to me, either finish is fine. My drawing is reasonable, in terms of conveying an idea, because I was fortunate to have a template from kikiakoko. I appreciate being acknowledged for a simple variation. Happy Houzzing.
1 Like    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 12:31AM
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What will your stools look like?
    Bookmark   Thanked by kikiakako    November 9, 2013 at 3:21AM
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Thank you, everyone, for your helpful comments. We have a fairly new white refrigerator and white dishwasher, so we thought we'd keep the perimeter cabinets white so that those two appliances don't stand out too much (and we didn't want to purchase new ones). The island will be the first thing that people see when they walk into the kitchen from the front hallway, and thus I'm leaning towards an all-wood island v. part painted drywall - thanks to the perspectives you all shared. I like jpp221's suggestion to minimize the drywall coverae using a cabinet door or shelving. JMH's drawing is helpful (thank you!) - I need to rethink the size of the seating counter. Ringreation, I have no idea of what kind of stools to purchase. I've been looking at various styles but have absolutely no idea right now. Probably something with a back and a leather or fabric seat/fairly traditional.
    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 10:22AM
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