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...

Are floor to ceiling cabinets safe to use?

As discussed in “How to draw more natural light into your kitchen,” there are a number of ways that floor to ceiling cabinets can change a kitchen. While it’s hard to argue the advantages they offer, it’s important to understand how best to use them. You see, placing items too high or too low can be hazardous to your health. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In our quest to live in beautiful homes, it’s easy to overlook safety and function. The best home design incorporates both. This is the goal of Universal Design (UD) which adapts homes to everyone’s capabilities without sacrificing appearance. When it comes to cabinetry, it’s important to minimize the number of times you have to reach up or bend down to retrieve items, especially those used most often. Not only inconvenient, it can put you off balance. This might seem counterintuitive to floor to ceiling cabinets… but there’s no reason not to have them. The following tips show the best ways to access all your kitchen cabinets: Store frequently used items where it’s most convenient – preferably from waist to shoulder height. Light weight items are best stored on top and bottom shelves. Medium weight items should be kept between knee and eye levels. Heavier items should be stored between mid-thigh and shoulder height. These guidelines help homeowners retrieve everything they need quickly and easily without challenging their balance. It’s one reason why Universal Design is gaining momentum. But here’s the best part. Well designed homes built and remodeled with Universal Design principles are beautiful, therefore, you don’t have to hesitate to...

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...