To Island or Not To Island??

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kitchen islandAn island in the kitchen – very cool, a must, right? Maybe not. Think about it. Do you have enough room to have an island that is useful? And still have people move around without getting into traffic jams? Is your island a work surface or a place where you rest your elbows, have a cocktail, and shoot the breeze with the cook?

Islands are one of those things that people often think is going to make their kitchen when they do a remodel. Sometimes it’s a great idea. But sometimes it might be more of a follow-the-trend thing than good thinking.

Here’s the boring stuff that goes into really deciding whether an island makes sense for you:

  • If two people have to squeeze between the island and the cabinets in the opposite wall, the island shouldn’t be there!
  • If you’re a serious cook who doesn’t want to encourage people to convene in the middle of your workflow, and you do have room for an island, be careful to add a very workmanlike island with no seating.
  • If on the other hand your kitchen is big enough to accommodate extra bodies and you like to have company, then add one of those big islands with an overhang for some bar stools and room enough to prep food and host a few buddies hanging out with drinks and snacks.
  • And if your kitchen is small, think about how you will move around that island. If it’s likely to become more of an obstacle to movement than a useful workspace, ditch the idea and keep your kitchen floor plan open and easy to traverse.

Basically, my advice is to think about how you’re going to use that island, not how it’s going to look in your kitchen. Don’t let island envy dictate your kitchen configuration.

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About Brad

Brad Baker is Vice President of Operations at Miller Woodworking in the Los Angeles area, designers and builders of custom cabinetry and interior millwork for the rich and famous. They make the impossible, and their work has been featured in fancy schmantsy architectural glossies more than a few times. All that high end creative stuff aside, he maintains a strong spiritual belief that the real sign of a good woodworker is all 10 fingers. He and his wife Ann Baker co-write for HomeFixated. Ann is CEO of Publicity Pros, a firm that provides “All Things Publicity” services and training for small businesses. She’s a hopeless nerd who revels in anything and everything having to do with the technology of attracting attention. And, no joke, she loves to bake.

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3 thoughts on “To Island or Not To Island??”

  1. I think you’re right that people just jump on the “island bandwagon” without always thinking it through. I heard a talk once about kitchen design and the speaker said to think about how water would flow through your space and work to avoid any traffic jams.


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