A kitchen island is the most asked for design element by consumers purchasing a new kitchen. Often when designing an island the homeowner will say “the bigger the better”! However, a huge oversized island is not always that functional and can be down right irritating. Large islands can cut off certain areas of the kitchen causing the cook to circumnavigate it every time they need to access that zone. A common mistake of inexperienced kitchen designers is to place the refrigerator on one side of a large island and the range on the other. As the cook do your really want to take 30 to 40 steps from range to refrigerator to grab that item you need to complete your dish?
The solution to the oversized island that Vestabul designers will often suggest to their clients is the Double Island. Once an island gets to be around 12′ long it may be time to consider splitting it into two.
This was the case with the design a Vestabul Designer was working on for a large country home. The original plans showed a 15′ by 6′ island. The homeowner originally had concerns about the size and how she was going to reach the center of it to clean it. When her Vestabul Designer pointed out other issues such as having to seam the quartz counter because slabs do not come that large and that there would be 2′ of void area in the middle of the island she was ready to discuss alternatives. The alternative was to split the island into two. Follow along as we dissect this kitchen and expose all of its function!
The Functional Layout
As with every Vestabul kitchen design, the main Kitchen Zones were first laid out. This included the Food Storage Zone, the Prep Zone, the Cooking Zone, the Serving Zone and the Clean-up Zone. After interviewing the homeowner some additional areas were included: a second Prep Zone, a Beverage Bar and an informal Dining Area.
The Food Storage and Cooking Zones
The Food Storage Zone in this kitchen consists of a large side by side refrigerator and a generous walk-in pantry. Everything from fresh fruits & vegetables to bulk food items are located in this zone. The open shelves in the pantry allow the cook to see in an instant what she has on hand. The Cooking Zone centers around a pro styled range and a large custom wood hood. There is ample counter space either side of the range and all the near by base cabinets are outfitted with utensil dividers and roll out shelves.
The Prep Zones
Because the homeowner wanted to accommodate multiple cooks in the kitchen, two Prep Zones were specified in the design allowing the kitchen to expand and contract as needed. On nights when a meal for two is on the menu the main Prep Zone between the sink and range is the one that is used. This run of countertop is the perfect amount of space for quick, efficient prep work. For times when there are multiple cooks in the kitchen or when the cook wants to spread out, prep work can happen on the end of the larger of the two islands. In both zones the top drawers are fitted with dividers for mixing utensils and knives.
The Serving and Clean-up Zones
The Serving Zone is located at the side of the large island. This space allows for setting out platters and bowls for buffet service or individual plated meals. The base storage on this side of the island consist of drawers sized for serving vessels and multiple rollout shelves for glass and ceramic platters. Directly behind the Serving Zone is the Clean-up Zone that includes storage for every day dishes, cutlery and linens. The open plate rack puts tableware on display and the raised drawer bank accommodates multiple flatware sets. The Dishwasher beside this unit makes for easy unloading of clean dishes. Having these two zones across from each other allows a helper to be in the kitchen setting the table without tripping over the cook.
Because of the kitchen’s size, the designer was able to include some additional specialized centers. The first was a Bake Center that gets it’s own island. The storage on the island was customized with deep drawers for canisters & small appliances and a bank of three drawers for mixing spoons, baking spices and a variety of mixing bowls. The back side of the island features an open shelf perfect for cookbook storage. The Baking Center shares a water source in the form of a small prep/bar sink found in the Beverage Bar area. Instead of a traditional wet bar this center was designed to accommodate everything from wine to coffee to smoothies. Below the counter is a custom wine rack and a paneled refrigerator. At counter level a plumbed in cappuccino maker was installed and an appliance garage included for the blender and coffee grinder. The cabinetry above is glass fronted and shows off the homeowners glassware and mug collection.
An informal dining bar was included as part of the large island. The radius end of the island allows the diners to be able to interact with each other easily while at the dining bar and it is a great place to sit and take in the activities of this well planned space.
The real secret to this kitchen plan is how well traffic can flow within the space. The split in the island allows people to move easily around the space while the individual islands shield the cook from others passing through their work space. Another huge bonus is how many people this space can accommodate once the party moves to the kitchen!
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