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New This Week: 8 Clever Kitchen Island Ideas

1. Walnut Counter Seating

Designer: Amy Klosterman of AB Design Elements
Location: Scottsdale, Arizona
Size: 214½ square feet (20 square meters); 13 by 16½ feet

Homeowners’ request. “The clients wanted a contemporary, artful kitchen that was lighter in palette than the previous mahogany wood kitchen, and one that tied in with the existing natural woods of this home, which was originally designed by Taliesin-trained architect Bing Hu,” says designer Amy Klosterman, whose clients found her through Houzz more than six years ago when she designed their previous home.

Kitchen island detail.
A walnut counter mounted on metal flat brackets suspends from a waterfall edge countertop. “This is a perfect place for the two homeowners to enjoy morning coffee and to watch the TV on the opposite wall that is integrated into the cabinetry,” Klosterman says.

Other special features. Taupe-stained rift-cut oak cabinets with slatted refrigerator panels. “They add just the right amount of texture and graphic interest to that wall of cabinetry,” Klosterman says. The induction cooktop is flush-mounted to blend seamlessly with the leathered White Macaubas quartzite countertops.

2. Open Shelves With Beadboard

Designers: Christi Petty and Cindy Aplanalp of Chairma Design Group
Location: The Woodlands, Texas
Size: 375 square feet (35 square meters)

Homeowner’s request. “A lover of the sea, Chris-Craft boats and the English countryside, he asked for an English seaside feel with bespoke cabinets, earthy textures and an abundance of millwork,” says designer Christi Petty, whose client found her through Houzz.

Kitchen island detail. Open display shelving backed with beadboard. “The end of the island faces a small breakfast sitting area and it gave us a great little spot to include a peek of the beadboard that was also used on the interior of all the cabinetry,” Petty says. “It’s also an area for the homeowner to display treasures.”

Other special features. Handmade, hand-cut zellige tile backsplash. “We left the tile ungrouted to show off the uniqueness of its edges and to enrich the texture,” Petty says. The cabinets and tongue-and-groove ceiling were painted Snowbound by Sherwin-Williams. Raw pecky cypress ceiling beams add warmth and texture. The cabinet hardware is antique brass cup pulls and knobs.

Designer tip. “Much thought was given to incorporating traditional English cabinetry styles and the interior of the cabinetry,” Petty says. “Beadboard was added to the interior so that they are even more special when opened. The incorporation of ventilation holes is practical for pantry cabinets and also a sweet nod to our homeowner’s inspiration.”

Pendant lights: Sedona in oxidized brass, Capital Lighting Fixture Co.

3. Dropped-Down Dining for Two

Homeowners’ request. A new-build home inspired by local winery architecture.

Kitchen island detail.
The 14-foot-long, quartz-topped, light blue island features a drop-down dining area for two people.

Other special features. Wide-plank white French oak flooring with radiant heat. Mint green range. Open oak shelves and oak mantel above the range.

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4. Walnut Prep Extension

Interior designer and architect: Daniel Contelmo Architects
Interior consultant: Liz Dahmen of Make Space New York
Location: Millbrook, New York
Size: 272 square feet (25 square meters); 16 by 17 feet

Homeowners’ request. For this new-build house on a horse farm, the owners wanted an open kitchen with a big island and traditional farmhouse elements. “The kitchen also needed to feel elegant since it would be open to all the other spaces of the main floor,” interior designer and architect Daniel Contelmo says.

Kitchen island detail. Walnut prep area. “Our clients were hoping to retire soon after building the house, and one of their goals was to spend more time baking and cooking,” Contelmo says. “Visually, we wanted to incorporate the butcher block into the island to break up the long span. Functionally, it provides a separated area for prep work that does not interfere with the cooking and eating area. The doors on both sides open up to a large area for storage of cooking and baking tools. The doors on the end are tilt-out drawers with metal grates set into the doors. These are for storage of food such as potatoes and onions.”

Other special features. White oak island base. Shiplap ceiling between beams. Leaded glass transom windows between rooms. Doweled and glass upper cabinets. Large glass pendants. Eight-inch white oak flooring.

Designer tip. “The kitchen is long and rectangular,” Contelmo says. “The island was designed with a recess in the countertop so the stools could be tucked in away from the aisle, keeping all pathways clear for movement.”

5. Undercounter Microwave

Designer: Kathleen Donohue of Neil Kelly Design/Build
Location: Bend, Oregon
Size: 260 square feet (24 square meters)

Homeowners’ request. These empty nesters wanted to renovate to create their forever home, with a more open kitchen that’s entertainment-friendly.

Kitchen island detail. Undercounter microwave. “They are the best design innovation since the downdraft range changed the way we designed kitchens,” designer Kathleen Donohue says. “The microwave can now be tucked away below the counter and does not have to hang from a wall cabinet or be part of a built-in stacked oven set. In this layout, the end of the island is close to the refrigerator and pantry, so a quick breakfast, lunch or snack can be prepared without interrupting the main cooking work zone. It’s also handy for serving folks seated at the island.”

Other special features. Knotty alder cabinets. Sage green island base with walnut butcher block countertop. Concrete-look quartz perimeter countertops. Grey Foussana limestone backsplash tile with a decorative porcelain pattern tile feature above the range. Apron-front sink.

6. Drink Fridge

Designer: Mary Jean Cipro of Thomas Sattler Homes and Kaimee Martelli of Enchanted Kitchens (cabinets)
Location: Greenwood Village, Colorado
Size: 380 square feet (35 square meters); 19 by 20 feet

Homeowners’ request. A functional, practical and efficient kitchen for family gathering.

Kitchen island detail. A small fridge stores drinks to give kids and guests easy access without getting in the way of the main kitchen work area.

Other special features. Textured melamine wood-look cabinets and matte black cabinets. “Matte black fingerprints easily, so it’s best to use this in high-up areas or spaces that don’t get as much use,” designer Mary Jean Cipro says.

Designer tip. “An angled island with seating on both sides is better for conversation,” Cipro notes.

7. End Cabinets

Designer: Gina Moffitt of Kiyohara Moffitt
Location: Los Angeles
Size: 313 square feet (29 square meters)

Homeowners’ request. A new-build house for a couple in their 60s. The owners wanted a kosher kitchen, but since they’re vegetarians they didn’t require duplication of the main sink or ovens.

Kitchen island detail.
“The owner did not see the kitchen as a gathering place, but more of a working kitchen for one cook,” designer Gina Moffitt says. “Hence, the island was not to have seating.” Instead it features tons of storage. One end cabinet holds baking sheets. The end cabinet opposite the window holds vases.

Other special features. Quartz countertops mimic the look of Taj Mahal quartzite. The backsplash consists of 4-by-8-inch matte white elongated hexagonal tiles. The cabinet finish matches Coastal Fog by Benjamin Moore.

Designer tip. “We put in an indirect lighting soffit around the room to add subtle lighting and interest,” Moffitt says.

8. Curved Open Storage

Homeowner’s request. Open up a closed-off kitchen to a nearby dining room and update its look to better reflect the midcentury era of the home.

Kitchen island detail. Architect Robert Jamieson designed a walnut island with curves on the end to ease movement between the walnut-clad storage wall and the cooking area. Open shelves on both ends offer storage and display space.

Other special features.
Slate floor tile. Powder blue range, hood and dishwasher. “The owner was interested in making the kitchen fun and was not afraid of using color,” Jamieson says. “And it added a modern feel that fit the period of the home. He also has a lot of wild birds on his wooded site and tasked us to incorporate the birds into the design. We created a custom mosaic tile backsplash with a stylized cardinal and blue jay, both frequent visitors to his land.”

Designer tip. “Although we do have some upper cabinets in this project on one side, we are big fans of having a wall of tall cabinets for pantry storage, combined with other tall appliances like the refrigerator or wall ovens. This allows for more view to the outside than if upper cabinets existed.”

“Uh-oh” moment. “Trying to incorporate the birds into the project was definitely a challenge,” Jamieson says. “The homeowner originally came to us with some more traditional hand-painted tiles that had birds on them that we did not feel fit the character of the home and kitchen design. It was also a challenge sourcing the tile to fit the design of the birds. We ended up sourcing the 3-inch triangular gray field tiles from Fireclay Tile, and the tiles for the birds were ordered as 4-by-4-inch rectangular tiles from Artaic that were field-cut to size.”

An island can do a lot for your kitchen. It can provide extra storage, countertop surface and seating. It can be the location of your main sink or cooktop. And it can help direct traffic flow too. To see a small sample of what’s possible, check out these eight island design ideas recently uploaded to Houzz.

This content was originally published here.

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