How Kitchen Islands Are Shaping The Future Of Kitchens

More than just expanding cabinet storage and countertop surfaces, kitchen islands have evolved into a gathering spot where family and guests hang around. Island design and comfort now draws cooks and visitors together to increase functionality, aesthetics and socialization. Along with food preparation and meals, kitchens are more open. Kids do homework and adults take care of paperwork. Additional activities like these promote family time as meals are prepared. For those whose children have moved away from home, this time goes to enjoying a glass of wine with guests before dinner gets to the table. And dinner is more likely to stay at the island with more comfortable seating. Still used for storage and counter space, islands also accommodate appliances like stoves with downward vents. And don’t forget about sinks where approximately 90% of the time is spent. The convenience of doing multiple tasks in one place shortens steps and work time. The ability to socialize more makes everything feel easier. Universal Design further expands function with varying countertop heights. This enables anyone at any height, especially children, to participate in food preparation and other activities without having to climb stools or reach overhead. Incorporating different materials from the rest of the kitchen adds even more appeal. One way is to use fabrics for surrounding stools and chairs. Fabrics contrast well with hard surfaces to soften the overall look. As a result, islands stand out as design objects and look more like furniture that seamlessly blends into the living room. The future will see more variation in island shapes and heights. Seating room will be expanded and rather than...

The Kitchen Island – How It Defines The Busiest Room In The House

There was a time when “kitchen islands” consisted of sturdy tables set in the center of the room and… only in kitchens large enough to accommodate them. In the 1930s, Frank Lloyd Wright brought kitchen islands to suburban homes with his “open plan” living space. They have continued to evolve ever since. Currently, the island has literally become the hub of our homes for doing more tasks than just cooking. They’ve become the center for socialization. If you’re looking to modify an island already in place or add one to your kitchen, it’s best to work with a professional to draw up a floor plan. An island should have about three feet of space around it. If it’s too large, the kitchen becomes crowded. Too small and not only does it not look good, it may not fit in with the normal workflow. Bottom line, it shouldn’t be too close to doors or other countertops but you don’t want it to be standing off by itself. The next consideration is how you want to use it. Islands can be strictly functional by providing additional countertop space and storage. But as suggested above, islands are where people interact. While the cook is chopping tomatoes, he can talk to family about their day, help the kids do homework, and just show off a little as guests nibble on appetizers as dinner is prepared.  This brings up the question of how many people do you want to be able to sit around it?  And do you want one level or two? Take a look at our Projects to see what we can...

The Smart Kitchen Trend – What Will Your Dream Look Like?

With the trend in adding a “work” kitchen to the “social” kitchen, let’s look at where kitchen appearance and function is headed. Last February, the Kitchen and Bath Show in Las Vegas showcased a plethora of new views. Many kitchen designers now incorporate fashion-forward features like glass fronts and LED lights on refrigerators. Appliances and cabinetry have chic leather and metal hardware. Back-splashes now feature unusual finishes like shagreen, metal, raw wood and artful murals. Tech is also the buzz and smart kitchens are definitely going digital. Currently Smart-touch faucets turn on and off with just a tap. Refrigerators feature integrated cameras that allow people to check their groceries from both inside and outside the home. Induction cook tops save energy with technology that changes heat settings instantaneously. Now think of dishwashers responding to voice commands and appliances that could communicate with each other to create shopping lists, meal recommendations and cooking instructions. Not only futuristic, these features dovetail with the trend towards Universal Design – the approach that makes living at home easier for everyone at every age. This is why experts believe innovations for the sake of technology alone will be weeded out. They see the market moving towards technology that not only looks sexy, but improves kitchen function and ease of food...

The Future Of Kitchens – Will They Be Open Or Closed?

We know some things in kitchens never change. Appliances may be sleeker, materials improved and color palettes may be broader. But let’s face it, the kitchen continues to be the heart of the home where most of the hard work takes place. Probably the biggest change we’ve seen over the years is to open the kitchen up to the rest of the house. And for good reason… After all, who wants to be isolated from company or the rest of the family while preparing food? Now the question is whether or not open kitchens are here to stay. According to Sam Cochran of Architectural Digest, “Kitchens will continue to be the gathering spaces, with dining nooks and multipurpose work surfaces where you can both roll your dough or type on your laptop. But it’s no longer a universal truth that a dream kitchen must be an open kitchen. “ In fact, many high-end homeowners are adding a second kitchen to serve as a working kitchen. It’s especially popular with those who entertain a lot. Second kitchens or “backstage workhorse kitchens” allow the “social” kitchen to serve as the gathering space.  This way the kitchen continues to be the place to hang out without getting in the way of food preparation. For those who have the space, two kitchens provide room for unhindered food preparation while maintaining the social kitchen we’ve come to...

How to Add Ambiance (And Safety) to Your Kitchen

Universal Design is an interior design that adapts homes to homeowners, not the other way around. The goal is to make the entire home safe and easy to use. When it comes to kitchens, here’s one design tip that adapts your kitchen to your needs plus transforms it into a dining area with ambiance. You’ll be amazed to see how one small addition to your cabinetry can make such a difference. When it comes to base cabinets, most manufacturers include an indentation to make room for your feet called the toe kick space. Typically 3 inches deep and about 3 1/2 inches high, this space allows people to stand closer to the countertop so they don’t have to lean forward. Standing closer puts less strain on the back, shoulders and arms and minimizes discomfort, posture issues and chronic pain. The addition of light to this space adds both safety and ambiance. Here’s how. First, it clearly defines the break from floor to cabinets.  Especially advantageous at night, you minimize the possibility of bumping into things. This definition also aids early morning and evening meal preparation. Another advantage is that lighting placed within the toe kick can’t cause a glare. One goal of Universal Design is to balance lighting. It doesn’t matter if you have 20/20 vision, wear glasses or have a family member with sight issues; too much light is just as dangerous as too little. Foot level lighting balances overhead lighting and the combination eliminates shadows. Finally, toe kick lighting sets the ambiance of a kitchen. The soft glow creates an atmosphere that makes your meal more relaxed…...