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Planning to build a kitchen island? Here’s how to decide on the right counter height, size and placement, and lighting for your space.

Plan B Deck Completehow to Plan B Deck Complete for By Duo Dickinson

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Anthony Tieuli

For a lot of my clients, no kitchen design is complete without a kitchen island at its center. The island has become the icon of the modern kitchen—the 21st-century equivalent of the old-fashioned hearth. It''re ideal for a variety of kitchen tasks (see "" below).

Plan B Deck Completehow to Plan B Deck Complete for Second, these freestanding pieces instantly become the focal point of a kitchen because they can have the look and feel of furniture rather than components in a domestic laboratory.

Third, islands help kitchens adjust to some of the big changes in American life in the past few decades. In June Cleaver''s kitchens are not only open to other rooms but they also have to accommodate multiple cooks, kids doing homework, and even party guests.

The phrase I hear most often—true of my own house as well—is "" A well-designed island offers a place for people to congregate while at the same time separating those who are cooking and cleaning from those who are just hanging out.

When planning an island, here are the key points to consider.

Use-cases for a kitchen island

Islands have to work to make them earn the space they occupy. Here are the four things islands can do and some design suggestions for each function.

Plan B Deck Completehow to Plan B Deck Complete for for 1 last update 2020/07/15 CleanupCleanup

  • Clearance for the dishwasher door in the open position.
  • Pull-out garbage and compost bins next to the sink.
  • Easy access to dish and silverware storage.
  • Storage for dish towels, dish soap, etc.
  • Dual-height counters to hide dirty dishes from view.

Food Prep

  • Outlets for small appliances.
  • Refrigerator and cooktop close by.
  • Access to compost bin or disposer.
  • Prep sink and butcher-block counters are good additions.

Cooking

  • Heat-resistant countertop (stone, tile, metal) for hot pans.
  • At least 18 inches of space on either side of cooktop or range.
  • Overhead vent hood or downdraft fan (with second exhaust fan in ceiling).
  • Raised eating area out of the range of spatters.

Informal Dining

  • Counter height/width designed for standard-size chairs/stools.
  • Softly contoured edge profile is most comfortable for leaning on.

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Shoehorning an island into a kitchen that’s too small is a mistake. Here are the minimum clearances the author uses between islands and cabinets, as well as minimum sizes for islands with different uses. Remember, these are minimums; it’s better to be more generous if your floor plan allows.
Duo Dickinson

Plan for Proper Size and Placement

Kitchen islands suck space. At minimum, an island should be 4 feet long and a little more than 2 feet deep, but it must also have room for people to move and work around it. Unless your kitchen is at least 8 feet deep and more than 12 feet long, don''t need to be in the food prep area.

On the working side, make sure there''s strong suit is also its biggest downfall: It''s a cooking island, then pots, pans, and spices should be at hand. The space under cooktops is great for deep drawers for pots and pans. (The temptation is to hang them from an expensive pot rack, which won''s a prep island, don''ll need a place for dish towels, detergent, and brushes.

Undercounter storage space for 1 last update 2020/07/15 is limited on islands that include a sink and/or major appliances like a dishwasher or oven; you''{"":""}''{"":19489655,"":""}''t count on ambient light to illuminate your workspace, and you don''ll need to use fixtures or bulbs specially designed to project light down rather than spread it out.Undercounter storage space is limited on islands that include a sink and/or major appliances like a dishwasher or oven; you''{"":""}''{"":19489655,"":""}''t count on ambient light to illuminate your workspace, and you don''ll need to use fixtures or bulbs specially designed to project light down rather than spread it out.

Another option is pendant lights, which hang from the ceiling. Be careful with these, though. It''t need maximum illumination for working.

Vent your Island Cooktop

Life would be a lot easier if you could just ignore ventilating an island dedicated to cooking — but you can''s incorporated into the appliance. That solves the visual problem of an overhead hood messing up sight lines. But even the best downdraft fan is not up to the worst cooking odors. If you really want to lose the fried fish smell, include a second exhaust fan mounted in the ceiling. It will also help limit the amount of moisture condensing on the inside of your windows in the winter for 1 last update 2020/07/15 when you use a tall stockpot. Life would be a lot easier if you could just ignore ventilating an island dedicated to cooking — but you can''s incorporated into the appliance. That solves the visual problem of an overhead hood messing up sight lines. But even the best downdraft fan is not up to the worst cooking odors. If you really want to lose the fried fish smell, include a second exhaust fan mounted in the ceiling. It will also help limit the amount of moisture condensing on the inside of your windows in the winter when you use a tall stockpot.

The other option is an overhead hood that extends up through the ceiling. Because it''s easy for the mass of a hood, placed low enough to be effective, to ruin the joy of having open space above the island.

Get the Island Counter Height Right

Dual-height islands can create informal eating areas, hide dirty dishes, protect noncooks from splashes and splatters, and make kitchens more interesting. Here are the dimensions that make them most comfortable, useful, and pleasing.

The height of your island''ll have: A 28- to 30-inch-high counter works best with a chair; a standard-height 36-inch counter is served best by a low stool; and a 42- to 48-inch counter requires a bar stool.

Styles for Kitchen Islands

You can make an island nearly disappear to anyone not working in the kitchen by extending the "" face of the island (the one that doesn''t call attention to themselves. Most islands in American kitchens use this scheme.

Where to Find It

Architect

Duo Dickinson

Madison, CT

203-245-0405

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