My love of cooking and entertaining with family and friends is central to how I design for the kitchen. If they have the space, our clients are overwhelmingly in favour of large informal open plan rooms in which they will spend a great deal of time. In these schemes, an island is often top of the wish list and there are many reasons why they have become the must-have item.
The main benefit is the additional work surface an island offers for food preparation or as an informal space to eat and drink with friends. Islands are remarkable social spots as everyone naturally gravitates towards the central hub of the space.
A dedicated cooking zone
With the right design an island can incorporate a cooking zone which segregates the room leaving friends and family free to relax on the one side and the cook able to work safely on the other without the cooking and preparation space being encroached.
Formal dining is a thing of the past or at least reserved for Christmas and special occasions only. Our customers want a space to entertain and eat in a very casual way and an island with seating means that friends can relax over coffee, share a bottle of wine or enjoy a congenial bite to eat without the formality of laying a table.
The beauty of an island is that the cook can work facing the room, engaging with the family whilst preparing food. The traditional layout of cabinets around the outer edge of the room means that the cook has their back to everyone which can feel quite antisocial. With our new - more relaxed - style of entertaining, people are happy to prep and cook in front of their guests. An island can help to facilitate the convivial atmosphere.
Islands are perfect to bridge between the working and eating areas and provide great storage for items used at the table. Cutlery drawers and cupboards for crockery can be stored on the side nearest the table for easy access. On the kitchen side, drawers can be used for utensils and serving dishes, plus extra space for all those gadgets!
Some customers prefer to keep the island free of interruption while others like to incorporate a hob or sink. We often keep the main sink off the island but incorporate a prep sink or perhaps a hot water tap. Hobs can be more difficult in an island - most people do not want the intrusion of an over-island extractor - ceiling mounted extractors are a good option or you can opt for the downdraft but these are very pricey in comparison to a standard wall mounted model.
Whatever your style, there's bound to be an island to suit your kitchen!