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lavender_lass

Do you regret your island? Did you leave enough/too much space?

lavender_lass
12 years ago

I'm still working out my island/work table debate, with myself. While I like the storage on an island, I like the flexability of a movable work table. I've thought about a mobile island, which may be the best of both.

What about your island? Do you have any regrets? Did you leave enough space around it...or maybe too much? Do you ever wish you could move it around? Do you like your choice of island countertop, or would you change it, if you could?

Thank you so much for any comments, suggestions, or pictures!

Comments (41)

  • jledhead
    12 years ago

    here is my kitchen . we love our island with our big drawers for pots and pans. We used to have a peninsula and it just didn't work for us. I love the wood top as well. its new to us and so far feels great, space around it and the usable space on top. I don't know think I would change anything about it.

  • rhome410
    12 years ago

    Something that moved would drive me crazy. If there's room, there's room, and I don't want to have to worry about where it put something if it might occasionally be in the way. I like to be able to use the storage to its fullest and couldn't do that with a portable island. I also couldn't have power... or plumbing, which I love in my current island. The island is definitely the most used surface in our kitchen...and we can gather around it to do projects, etc., which is priceless.

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  • doonie
    12 years ago

    We love our island too. It's around 13 feet long and is where everyone gathers in the kitchen. It is my prep surface and, like rhome,
    I like it fixed which allows plumbing and 2 electrical outlets in it. I would not want to try and knead dough on a movable surface.
    But in some people's kitchen, a moveable island makes more sense for them, especially in smaller rooms.

    Here's our island. I've been very happy with the leathered Antique Brown Granite as a prep surface. I have been very pleasantly surprised
    at how well I like working on a long narrow island rather than a fatter square (which wouldn't have worked anyway!) I would not have guessed
    that prior to having this shape of island.
    {{!gwi}}

  • gayl
    12 years ago

    Doonie, how wide is your island? We will be building one about 12' long and 3' wide and I am wondering if that is too narrow? Also, do you like the prep sink right in the middle, as opposed to toward one end?

  • bostonpam
    12 years ago

    Never had an island before. We love it! 84" x 48" plus overhang on 3 sides. All 4 of us can help with dinner prep without getting in anyone's way. I almost never prep on the sides but use the island almost exclusively. One aisle is a bit small but to make everything else work we have to live with it (41" to cabinet). We have granite, prep sink and power on the island. Love it, love it, love it. Here's a pic of our unfinished kitchen

  • doonie
    12 years ago

    Gharborwa, Our island measures 27" on the narrow side and there is about 4'8" of length to the prep sink. The fatter area, where there is seating further down, measures 37" wide and the length there is 6'6". So the sink isn't centered. Usually I
    prep on the narrow area. However, I have enough lateral room to spread out.

    If you have the space, I think 3 feet of depth would be ideal for the entire length of the island. We couldn't do that because our aisles
    would have been too narrow. I think you will really like the 3 ft depth. Our prep sink is across the aisle from our stove, which makes it
    convenient for pasta drainage, etc.

    This is a pretty good picture of the location of our prep sink in relation to the rangetop.

    {{gwi:1554060}}

  • kaismom
    12 years ago

    I have been following your post for a while. I know that you want a romantic, cozy, comfortable warm kitchen. I think a table would suit you better than an island. Even if you end up putting items in a basket under the kitchen table for storage.... I would have them make a table that has a bit of storage under the center of the table where it will not interfere with the feet. Not only that, you can set the table with table cloth, candles, etc but you really can't do that with an island. They have very different esthetics with different pros and cons.

    What others say about electricity and plumbing is an issue with the table. In order to pull it off, you have to have adequate electricity and plumbing elsewhere. I do not have plumbing on my 8ft x 40 inch island. I chose not to and I don't miss it. For electricity, you could put in a floor plug for your kitchen table. Unforuntately, most electrical appliances will have power cord that is too short for that and you will have to use an extension cord.....

    I have had a huge island for more than a decade. Until then, I did not have an island. I really like it as a place to sit more than as a place to prep. We have the seating on the island looking out to the views of the trees and the mountains and the eastern light comes into a very large window, flooding our morning breakfasts with wonderful light. At this time of the year, we watch explosive colors of sunrise as we eat "early" breakfast before work and school. I also have extensive "other" counterspace where I can prep and look out of the window. If I am facing the island to prep, I do not have the view. (the seaters have the view) When I use it as a prep place, ie making pizza, I am glad that it is there, of course.

    Unlike most posters here who really focus on the kitchen function first, I am a person that focuses on the location of the room, window and light first. Then you create the work area that maximizes that view and light. For example, your light and views should be maximized for seating and then working. The time when you can sit is when you can actually enjoy the view.

    I really like the idea of a table height surface to work and eat in the kitchen rather than at a countertop height.(I can't pull it off in my house) I think it makes the room more intimate and cozy. Not only that, as I get older, I like the idea of sitting to shell the peas, shuck the corn, even chop vegies, roll out pie crust.

    Whatever you do, it will turn out beautifully.

  • houseful
    12 years ago

    When I was in elementary school, my parents built a house designed for our family of eight and multiple cooks. The island was built-in, but it was table height. It had seating for 5 on one side. I don't remember if there was storage or not. My mother still talks about how much she loved working in that kitchen. Although she is only 5 feet tall, LOL!

    The one thing I do realize now is that it was a barrier island as the frig was behind the seating and the seating faced the cooktop. It never seemed to be a problem though.

  • cj47
    12 years ago

    My island is 8 1/2 feet long and 4.5 feet wide, with the prep sink at one end, across from the cooktop. The ovens and the fridge are on the same side, so it is not a barrier island, and there is seating on two sides. (so people face each other), and no seating in front of the prep sink. I love, love, love the island. I do all my prep on the island, and people can be seated there and not be at risk of being hit by a stray carrot end, or splashed from the prep sink. I guess my opinion is that if you place that island very carefully, you may never wish you could move it. :-) I, however, had a lot of help from the wonderful people here in placing mine. It works just like I envisioned it would, so I'm happy. Oh--mine is covered with 180FX laminate, Corbeau Montana. Same as on the perimeter.

    Cj

  • sayde
    12 years ago

    In my old kitchen we had a wonderful work table that my DH built -- to my specifications. I loved it. But it was too long. I had wanted a work table and not an island, as I think that the table looks more appropriate in our vintage looking kitchen. I'm glad I was able to push it a bit because I found I needed more space on the sink wall aisle to be able to move around the open dishwasher -- a major consideration. But, then it was too close to the opposite wall. While I'm not sure you need the 42 inches that NKBA recommends, I would suggest mocking something up in your space. Our new work table will be the same width as the old one but about 8-10 inches shorter. In our space challenged kitchen, this will make an enormous difference.

  • lavender_lass
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Thank you for all the responses, but those of you who like your islands....how much room is there between the island and the perimeter counters? Did you leave 3', 3'6", 4' or more?

    My first choice was a work table, but since I am planning to open up the enclosed porch for the dining room, there will be a nice big table, just a few feet away. This is making me rethink the island.

    I'd love to have a little more room for baking, with maybe some storage and a nice surface. A couple of stools would be nice, too. If I leave 4' between the counters and the island, I could probably have a 3'6" x 5' island, maybe with a cool metal pot rack, overhead (very french).

    For anyone, who hasn't seen them, this is my inspiration picture and my "rough" floor plan.

    I'm also thinking about having a cooktop with storage drawers underneath and two wall ovens. I'd like to get the microwave a little closer to the fridge, but on a shelf, not in the island (too many visiting little ones, so I want a tall microwave). Moving the second oven, out from under the cooktop, makes it easier for me to think about a fixed island, since I don't have to worry about trying to get something out of the oven, without backing into the island :)

    Oops, I forgot the dishwasher, but it should be on the right side of the sink! LOL I definitely need one of those.

    {{gwi:617005}}

    {{!gwi}}

  • vate
    12 years ago

    We love our island, which I built as part of a DIY remodel. The original kitchen had an island - 2 feet X 4 feet, with storage only - no electrical or prep sink. The new island is 30" X 65", so about 6" wider and almost 20" longer, which gave us enough room for an icemaker, plus a prep sink and disposal, hot water dispenser, and an electrical outlet. It gets a lot of use as a prep area, and a "landing zone" for the double oven, 'fridge, and microwave/convection oven.

  • doonie
    12 years ago

    I love the pothanger idea. Very Country French. My aisles measure 42" on both sides. I am glad for the room. We had 4 couples over last night and it was easy to move around the island. I like the 42" amount of room.

  • pps7
    12 years ago

    I love our island.

    It measures 48" x 96". Our aisles are 48". I'm not sure it's clear in the picture, but there's a large farmtable in our dining room right next to the island so I feel we get the best of both worlds. Another plus of the layout is that other people can access the fridge and clean up sink without coming into the work zone. The island is the workhorse of the kitchen. All prep work is done on the island. It also functions as a landing zone for our microwave and toaster oven.

  • rhome410
    12 years ago

    I have 4 ft aisles on the side of the island...facing the sink and dishwashers on one side and the oven/ baking area on the other. Those are very roomy aisles. Not too big, really, but I wouldn't want or need larger. The aisle between the island and the stove is only 36" and I wouldn't want that any larger either, since I prep on that end of the island and like to turn back and forth without extra steps. I designed it to discourage other traffic going through, but it isn't so tight that if someone does go through there, or if one of our Labs gets in the way, it is a problem. It's roomier than I thought it would be.

    The 36" aisle:

    The 48":

  • judydel
    12 years ago

    I too love our island. It is only 24 -1/2" x 54" but it is very functional for baking and prepping, etc. The soapstone overhangs so the total dimension with counter is 26-1/2" x 56". Each component is just a standard base cabinet with a finished panel on the rear and one end. The other end is actually a 7" deep cabinet that we use as our spice and oil/vinegar cabinet. It faces the stove, which I find convenient.

    Our aisles are:

    Refrigerator side - 53" (wide aisle so when we open refrigerator drawers there is plenty of room.

    Sink side - 41" which is plenty of room even with dishwasher open. I wouldn't want it any wider.

    Stove side - 51" which again is plenty of room even with oven open and spice cabinet open.

  • Buehl
    12 years ago

    JudyDel...Love the dish inspector!

  • judydel
    12 years ago

    Thanks Buehl! He used to love to inspect, especially when I was taking GW photos, lol! Here's another one.

  • sabjimata
    12 years ago

    I love this post! Love everyone's islands! Skinny islands. Outrageous granite islands. Islands with seating. WOW! Everyone's kitchens look great and they are all so different!

    Bostonpam--your kitchen is traditional but with such flair! Love it.

    Vate--OOOOHLAAAAALAAAAAA!

    Oh, I have an island, too. It is like a barrier reef. 15' x 4+'. It is wonderful. Just wish I included seating but no room. Needed the storage and we had layout constraints. LOVE the island.

    Here is a link that might be useful: my own private island!

  • kitchendetective
    12 years ago

    Our island is 9 1/2' by 5+'. It sits in a U-shaped kitchen. The closed part of the U holds a 60" double oven range (so big doors take up lots of aisle space when open) under a 72" hood, wall space, windows, lower cabinets, and counters. The passage between the island and range is 56". The right side of the U, as you face the range end, holds the clean-up sink, wall oven, one dishwasher, and baking supplies and is 48" from the island. The section of island this leg of the U faces is the lowered, marble slab-covered, baking section of the island. It was originally spec'd for a freezer and a fridge drawer, but I dropped those when I went into cost-cutting mode. I sort of wish that I hadn't, but, then, my waistline is glad that I don't bake more than I do. The left side of the U holds a four burner, sealed burner cooktop that has variously sized, including dinky, burners. I use it to simmer and to spread out less kitchen-experienced helpers in the kitchen. Further out at the end that leg of the U are the ice maker and refrigerator. The part of the island facing this leg is counter height and contains a prep sink nearer the range end, trash, another dishwasher, a couple of counter stools. The aisle is was spec'd for 60", but measures 58". This was okay except when relatives gained weight. Really, it should be more like 72" or there should not be seating there, which I didn't want anyway. The distal end of the island also has seating for two, which is fine. I like a full kitchen when peopled by helpers who really know their way around a kitchen; and I prefer to cook in solitude when guests need constant cautions and direction. I just took measurements, btw, from handles to cabinet fronts, etc., which may be why they are so weird. We have extra deep counters, too, so that adds to the weirdness of the overall dimensions. I like having a big, continuous island, but I needed at least one lower counter as I am shorter than the rest of the family and tend to get very sore shoulders. I use a large overhead pot rack, too. I prefer the looks of a farm table, but I just could not see my way clear to sacrificing the storage afforded by an island. Now, had I room for a larger butler's pantry than the one we have, that might have made a difference in my decision. So, in short, I'm glad I opted for the island over the table, for the changes in elevation, for the pot rack over it, and for the aisle widths that I did. However, more room between fridge and seating would be optimal (or smaller fridge doors--ours is a commercial refrigerator). Consider how much aisle space your appliance doors will take up when you open them and whether people will need to walk or sit in those aisles at the same time.

    Here is a link that might be useful: NKBA

  • idrive65
    12 years ago

    I have an L-shaped + island workspace, with 49" counter-to-counter between the range and the island end, and 41" between the counter on the sink & dw wall and the island edge. This allows me plenty of room for getting around open appliance doors and "helpers".

    My refrigerator, a counter depth side-by-side, is on the opposite wall with 47" of clearance to the island. There is plenty of room to get around the teen boy fridge inspector, who is a permanent fixture in that spot.

  • lascatx
    12 years ago

    I have 37" to 45" clearance around my island with most of it 37-42." I used to have barely 36" on one aisle that had my sink and cooktop back to back. That was awful. We moved the cooktop out of the island to the far wall and changed the traffic patterns. A built-in fridge gave a bit more room coming in from the exterior door and at the end of the island. It works for us and is so much better than it was. If I were building new, yeah, I'd probably want 42" all around, but 36" works -- if the traffic patterns aren't too congested.

  • jenswrens
    12 years ago

    judydel - please tell me more about your stainless compost bin (I assume that's what it is). I want one!

    lavender lass - You have to ask yourself *why* you want a movable island. How likely is it, really, that you will move it? Do you have a movable work table now? What do you envision happening in your future kitchen that will require all that open floor space? Or is it that you want to use the island in the dining room or family room as a buffet or something similar? Or is it that your design has a flaw that you are trying to overcome by having an island you can move?

    I think a big island that gets in the way of flow or makes your aisles too narrow is worse than having no island at all. And having an island you can move may not really help if this is the problem, because either it will be there all the time because you're always using it or it will never be there b/c you find you like the open space better and it may be a PITA to move it around whenever you need it.

  • peytonroad
    12 years ago

    Love mine-here is aphoto!!

    {{!gwi}}

  • lavender_lass
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Jen- I was thinking about having an island that moved, when I was planning to have an oven under the cooktop. I hate trying to lift a turkey out of the oven and bumping into a too close island (this is a problem at a friend's house).

    If I move the microwave and have two stacked ovens at the end of the cabinets...with only a cooktop, there wouldn't be such a concern. If I left 42" to 48" I think it would be a good fit.

    Judy- Your little helper is adorable! :)

    Thank you everyone for the helpful comments and the beautiful pictures.

  • judydel
    12 years ago

    Jenswrens it's a double pull out by Rev-A-Shelf. We use the larger bin for trash and the smaller bin for compost (which hold A LOT). They are stainless steel.

    As far as my adorable helper . . . he's almost full grown now and I wish I could keep him off the counters. He's getting better, but I feel like a crazy person each time he jumps on them and I chase him around the house wailing and spraying water, lol. I must quite the sight.

  • marcydc
    12 years ago

    I love our island. We made it kind of a table to get seating for all 4 of us there.

    I'm still missing window coverings and stuff on the walls. I can't pick a fabric! So if anyone has any suggestions let me know!

    I have 39.5" between (was 42 and countertops took a bit) and would not want any less. There's often 4 of us in that space since the kids (11 and almost 14) like to cook and my rule is that everyone participates in kitchen cleanup.

    Excuse the dark pics - I can't seem to take a picture with the digital SLR. I need my DD to give me back my Elph!

  • formerlyflorantha
    12 years ago

    I recall seeing an interesting "island" table in a photo in a mag in the last year and a half, with a large rectangular box below the table legs to raise it up. When the family wanted to use it as a table, they removed the box. The table was an old fashioned-heavy legged piece that looked substantial and appropriate even when elevated. (The only problem would have been lack of toespace, if the tabletop were same dimensions as the box and giving no overhang to put toes and knees under.)

    Anyone recall it? Could it have been in Kitchen and Bath Ideas? In the BHG Kitchen annual? A book?

    By the way, if the brakes are good on your movable island, there shouldn't be any problem with it. Esp if you don't need power or water attached. A great choice for flexibility.

    [disclaimer: I wanted a harvest table instead of our peninsula, but lost the argument. I thought it gave a lot of flexibility and would have kept the size of the addition smaller.]

  • stogniew
    12 years ago

    marcydc- do you have plans for your kitchen and island in particular? Your island looks very much like one of the ideas I was entertaining for my planned island (another one is with sitting Wrapped around corner/end); so I would very much appreciate if you can e-mail me specs how you are using the storage space in it. I will need to have cleaning sink and dishwasher in mine, but still I may use some of your ideas if you wouldn't mind.

  • warmfridge
    12 years ago

    The cats in this thread sure seem to approve of islands. ;-)

  • marcydc
    12 years ago

    Hello efs,

    Link below includes the plan. The island from left to right in the drawing is prep sink in 24" base, garbage pull out in 18", microwave drawer in 24" and oven in 30". There's a 6 inch wall hidden in there for the cabinets, electrical, and plumbing to run through. The steel plate for granite support is also attached to this. There is 1 leg on the table. The circle of the table is a 3 foot radius. Works well for 4 people. We ended up drawing things in kids chalk on the floor including our chairs and plates.

    Someone mentioned that it was nice to have the garbage in the prep area. I kinda wish it were farther from the prep area. Someone is always butting in to throw something away (well, usually its me throwing away and DH making the mess - I clean as he goes). In hindsight, what I needed next to the sink was one of those compost drop ins and recycling drawer underneath. We only have to empty the regular trash once a week so that should have been under the main sink.

    Here is a link that might be useful: kitchen layout

  • momfromthenorth
    12 years ago

    Another island lover here!! Back in the day I would lay out my sewing projects on it for cutting. It's 2' x 6' with a small bar sink at one end. Extremely useful for all sorts of things: making cookies with the kids, a place for young ones to do their messy school projects, sewing, the list goes on....Our two cats also used to sit up there and watch me cooking. I won't ever be without one if we have to move. By gum, I'll get the sledge hammer and bust out a wall to add one if necessary.

  • marcydc
    12 years ago

    My cat loves the island too. That's his sink. He's old (17.5) and in declining health so I put up with him being on there (next kitty won't be so privileged). Needs to drink a lot of liquid and gets a lot more from the faucet than from a bowl. Here he is during construction.

    (pic contains construction essentials - wine and takeout containers)

  • calimama
    12 years ago

    My little beast just figured out how to get on the island.

    Love my island. I have a narrow aisle on the sink side of 36" wouldn't have any less, but I the trade off was worth it. The island is so functional. We use it for everything, and now never use the table and chairs in the breakfast nook.

  • kitchendetective
    12 years ago

    Be sure your island is color coordinated with your pets. ;)

    You've all done a wonderful job.

    I never really thought about it, but it's a shame my Great Pyrenees is too big for my Thassos counter top, huh? He does look great on the bathroom travertine floor though.

  • lascatx
    12 years ago

    My black lab and border collie mix have taken to checking out what's on the counter lately. Might have something to do with 17+ and 19 year old cats who don't belong to the clean your plate club. They coordinate with the marble and black granite very well, but it makes me chuckle to think how silly (and uncomfortable) they would look if I ever put them up on the counter. The Great Pyreneese? Better be a BIG island! LOL

    I meant to say earlier that I would not want a movable island. I would have no place to move it to where it wouldn't be a bigger problem. Now, I suppose that you could custom build something that had an island that fit under a counter height table(would still allow some storage but would have to preserve leg room for the table) you might be able to address that issue -- even use it as a table extension at holidays, but one of the things I love about my island now that I moved the cooktop out is having a sink there. I also really want power there. We use the waffle maker and blender mostly st the island. Again, if you really engineered the thing, I suppose you could have a power strip on the side of that island, a cord running down the leg and an outlet inset into your floor to plug it in when it's in place and be covered and smooth when it's not. But all of that seems like a hassle.

    In my mind, you probably either have room for an island or don't and you will wind up using it one way or the other. You might as well figure it our and make it the best you can in the right configuration rather than trade off. For example, if you don't do an island, you can extend your counters to 30" depth and have more workspace there, but you can't do that if you try to squeeze in an island.

    My kitchen is less than 14 feet wide -- pretty minimal for a 3 ft wide island (cabinets are 34", so it is 36" overall). Had we made the perimeter cabinets 30" deep, I'd have had 8 feet to trek across from stove to sink and half the work space. No question I'd rather have the island.

  • shelly_k
    12 years ago

    Love our island! Never had one before and I don't think I could go back! I do all of my prep here since my kitchen is average sized. The island creates so much more work space.

    Mine is 9'8" long by 50 inches wide with seating on two sides. 50 inch aisle between sink and cooktop. 39 inches between front of frig and island.

  • melle_sacto is hot and dry in CA Zone 9/
    12 years ago

    We do not have a stationary island; the kitchen really isn't quite large enough for a nice island, but we do have a movable island/cart that I LOVE!

    I think a movable island/cart w/locking casters would be a great option. If we ever have a kitchen that could fit an island this is what I would choose.

    Most of the time we keep the cart in the same position, but there have been occasions where I move it. Especially since the space is relatively small, it's great to be able to re-position the cart for another cook to help prep food or for serving when we have a large group over.

  • melle_sacto is hot and dry in CA Zone 9/
    12 years ago

    I just read that others suggested not having it be counter-height. I wholeheartedly AGREE! Our cart is probably midway between counter height and table height. Since I am short, some prep I really hate at the counter (baking in particular: mixing things or kneading things).

  • red_eared_slider86
    12 years ago

    lavender lass, I thought you might like this island/table.