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victoriac
Hi, take a look at Genevieve Gorder's show on HGTV. She did a vitage kitchen, not exactly like yours, and added an island up the center. It is beautiful!
   
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Sarah Eden
36" is the minimum, but enough room. What about putting the U the other way so it's a bar to the dining and then a big deep island with cook top to the south? Then you have a deep U not a skinny one. Refrigerator at end of sink run.
   

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