Kitchen Design and the Multiple Uses of Kitchen Islands
An elegant home with everything one could hope for—from unique living spaces to a custom kitchen just meant for entertaining. In recent years, kitchen trends have changed significantly. A shift has taken place from the functional wall of cabinets to architectural spaces where window walls and work islands are replacing the row of look-a-like cabinets along each wall. Complimenting the architectural style of a home, kitchen cabinets look like independent pieces of furniture grouped in furniture-like arrangements. Stained alder wood is a popular material used for custom kitchen cabinets, mixing stained cabinets with painted and glazed alder wood cabinets. Long gone is the small window sink placed between cabinets, but replaced by larger windows and plenty of natural light.
Many Americans are spending more time at home and entertaining at home, increasing demand that kitchen spaces be aesthetically pleasing and great entertainment areas. As custom home builders, at Woodridge Custom Builders LLC we have see this transition. Our custom home buyers want style, natural light and room to gather and socialize in their kitchen. Many also are seek abundant storage space with state of the art kitchen appliances. Space, often at a premium, requires that every inch count.
More than ever, the kitchen is the heart of the home, usually designed into a floor plan that opens into a great room or casual living and dining area. This obviously reflects the trend for living-in and gathering-in kitchens and serves to explain why kitchen cabinets are evolving into furniture in these new ‘living spaces.’ Islands have become more stylized, resembling old farmhouse tables with decorative corbels and corner posts. Many kitchens are designed large enough to include a sitting area with a kitchen fireplace, satisfying the customer’s desire to reflect the uniqueness of their personalities. The home, after all, reflects the person or family living inside.
Like living rooms, kitchens are no longer suites of identically matched furniture, but eclectic blends of old and new, stately and whimsical. Stainless kitchen appliances are often mixed with whimsical painted pieces. The traditional work triangle of a one-cook kitchen has evolved into work zones such as preparation areas and clean-up areas. Kitchens can be designed for one or multiple cooks, two islands becoming more popular in multiple cook kitchens.
There are so many possibilities when it comes to creating the dream kitchen. Will it be a family gathering place? How many cooks will be using the kitchen? Will it be used for entertaining? Will it be used for large holiday gatherings or small dinner parties? The perfect kitchen can become a reality with a little planning.
Woodridge Custom Builders LLC built the kitchen shown in the photos below as a family gathering place. The photos highlight how this family uses the kitchen as a great gathering place for their teenage kids and friends after school, or shown below a surprise birthday party with 10 teenage girls. There are two islands in this kitchen. One is used as the main food preparation area where the sink and dishwasher are located with the cook top directly opposite of the sink. The second island is definitely where the kids hang out after school, sharing daily experiences, refreshments and snacks. This second island contains an under counter refrigerator for bottled water, sport drinks and sodas where the kids can quickly grab a drink without opening the full-sized refrigerator.
This second island has evened served as a buffet table as the picture below demonstrates. Perfect for covering with a large tablecloth, removing the chairs and using the island as a dessert buffet table for a friend’s baby shower, this island has multiple uses. The kitchen table in the adjacent area served as the appetizer buffet table.