A kitchen island is one of the most in-demand additions to remodeled kitchens. Unfortunately, it isn’t the right choice for everyone. With the many architectural styles in Sun Prairie WI it works for some, but not for others. In large spaces and island is a real asset. Islands come in various sizes, shapes and functions.
An island is a unique design feature fitting in to almost every layout from a farmhouse kitchen to an ultra-modern creation. While many décor trends come and go, the island installation is a trend that doesn’t go out of style. And yet, it isn’t for everyone.
Reviewing hundreds of kitchen remodeling plans, Houzz’s latest kitchen trends study found islands near the top of every “must have” list. People are willing to take down walls and find a way to fit an island into almost any period home.
Space Planning For Your Kitchen Island
When you dream of a brand new kitchen you don’t envision one where appliance doors bump into cabinet doors or an island. Unfortunately, that happens when details are missed on a remodeling space layout. The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) has developed a helpful guide: 31 Ways To A Better Kitchen.
Designed to maximize the safety and function of a kitchen the guide demonstrates layout solutions including proper clearances for cabinet doors and appliances.
The suggestions within the Guide are not absolute. The only rules that must be followed are local and state building codes.
Island dreams turn to nightmares when placement and size are inappropriate for the space. Ignoring the fundamental clearances and walkway areas around an island in an attempt to “make it fit” leads to disaster. As you work on your dream kitchen plan develop a model. If you’re working within the existing footprint of walls and cabinetry, block out a potential island on the floor. Cut cardboard of large sheets of paper into the size you want your island to be. Then, put the model on the floor. Move it, twist it and see how it fits within the space. Measure clearances at all angles. Professional kitchen designers recommend work aisles at least 42 inches wide if you normally only have one cook in the kitchen. If more than one person cooks at the same time 48-inch aisles are better. Allow a minimum 32 inches for clearance from any entry doors – into the kitchen, pantry, etc.
Take into account the width of cabinet doors and appliance doors. Will cabinets in the island bang into an open oven door? Hinder access to other appliances and cabinets?
The Critical ‘Work Triangle’
The space between the most critical work areas – the sink, refrigerator and stove – is the “work triangle.” It’s the vital area within the kitchen. Moving from one element to another has to be effortless and unobstructed for an efficient plan. In small kitchens like those in older homes, inserting an island into the area hampers the work flow. Your plan to make life simpler with a handy island winds up complicating your life.
One of the greatest assets of an island installation is the prospect of added seating for relaxed dining, homework or home accounting. If your plan includes seating with no wall or cabinets behind it – as you might get when you knock out a wall – space isn’t a concern. But, when there are hard surface behind the chairs you have to allow at least 32 inches clearance. If normal kitchen traffic moves behind a seated diner 36 to 44 inches is even better.
Once the design is blocked out you’ll know if an island is right for your kitchen. For instance, if the island placement does not allow enough room for easy passage for more than one person it defeats the purpose.
A well-designed and professionally-installed island becomes the kitchen workhorse, providing extra counter space, expanded storage and all the cool aspects of a mini-kitchen.
Professionals Avoid Kitchen Island Mistakes
There are many options for homeowners looking to add an island to their kitchen remodel project – from custom built-ins to adapting furniture. Professional kitchen designers and remodeling contractors understand the pros and cons of adding islands. Some are real assets within existing floor plans and some require moving walls and redesigning space. Which works best in your home? How do you know before it’s too late?
Sims Exteriors & Remodeling is one of the most experienced firms in the Madison area. It fields knowledgeable, experienced and skilled craftsmen. Contact Sims Exteriors and Remodeling at 608-825-4500 – call or email us – to evaluate the best options for adding a kitchen island in your Sun Prairie WI home.