Posts Tagged 'kitchen island design'

Kitchen islands encourage sharing and teaching

Children helping mother make school lunches at kitchen island

As children go back to school, every parent knows it’s time to make school lunches and do homework again. Large kitchen islands have become a favorite gathering place for families to enjoy time together while doing these daily tasks.

Involving children in meal preparation gives them important time together as a family, which not only teaches them about good nutrition, but provides them with emotional connections to each other. In our highly technological society, family time is more valuable than ever.

Young family together at kitchen island, close up

Sharing time together while doing homework is more emotionally rewarding than just learning their school lessons. Especially for young children, being sent to another room to do homework can feel like punishment. Interacting with parents while establishing good study habits can help them develop a lifelong love of learning. As children get older, they may require more solitude while studying, but they’ll be more productive because they learned these early lessons as a family.

Girl at kitchen island with young women, preparing meal in the kitchen

Kitchen islands with seating for casual meals are not just convenient. While it may make meals easier to prepare, eat and cleanup all in one place, this family gathering place is about building happy memories together.

Man teaching boy food prep at kitchen island

Building confidence is an important aspect of life skill lessons and leads to healthy independence. When children are old enough to handle a knife safely, cooking lessons get more technical. As with most learning, hands-on experience is the best way to learn.

It’s important to consider how you want your family to interact daily when planning a kitchen remodel. As a major family gathering space, the importance of a kitchen should not be underestimated. The best kitchen design is much more than the style and color of cabinetry and whether to include an island. An experienced kitchen designer will listen and learn about what works for your family. That allows them to design a living space that works well for you. Your designer will expertly handle the storage issues, appliance placement, and space layout so that you’ll simply enjoy using your kitchen for years to come.

When you’re ready to get started with the planning stage of a kitchen design, or remodel, start your research in the “Getting Started” section of our website. Then contact a Kitchen Views showroom near you to get the personalized attention you deserve.

Our designers work hard to exceed your expectations.

Contact Kitchen Views at 508-DESIGNS [337-4467] or visit our website for more information.

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Are Kitchen Islands Always the Most Practical Solution?

One of many kitchen islands featured in our Summer 2009 kitchen design magazine.

Island in the Kaitz Kitchen, featured in the Summer 2009 Kitchen Views Magazine article “Things Change”

Are kitchen islands always the most practical solution?  It depends.  Islands are on the wish list of a lot of customers we work with here at Kitchen Views.  The big question we have to ask is “How much room do you have?”  A prep island can be a great addition and even the smallest configuration can be made to increase your kitchen’s functionality.  Added storage and work surface are always a good thing.

Islands can also be a great gathering spot.  A place for the kids to do their homework while dinner is being prepped, or a place for guests to hang out.  It’s even a great place to have a quiet cup of coffee and read the paper.

But, do you have enough room?  Prep islands are typically 27″ deep, though smaller islands can work beautifully.  Basic guidelines suggest that there needs to be about 36″ of space on all four sides for proper work area and traffic flow.  In front of the refrigerator, you should have a little more room, especially for those moments when the only solution to life is standing in front of it with the door open trying to make up your mind.

If you plan to use the island for seating, keep in mind that you need an overhang of about 11″, making these islands typically 36″ deep – plus room to push the stools back – plus 36″ clearance for a walk way.  Plan on 24″ of length for each person for comfortable elbow room.

Try to avoid placing the island in such a way that it cuts through your “work triangle”.  Putting an island in between your sink and your refrigerator, for instance, will probably be more of a hindrance than a help, increasing the number of steps you need to get between work stations.

Two-Tiered Island in kitchen designed by Diane Hersey, featured in the Kitchen Views Magazine article "Sweet and Savory"

Two-Tiered Island in kitchen designed by Diane Hersey, featured in the Kitchen Views Magazine article “Sweet and Savory”

If you plan on having your cooking surface or sink in the island, avoid seating people there or think about two tiers, separating those sitting from the potential danger of the cooking surface or splashing from the sink.  Also, two-tiered islands provide a visual barrier between your guests and the dirty dishes.

There are so many wonderful options for islands.  With a little imagination and the help of one of our great Kitchen Views designers to guide you, the island of your dreams in the kitchen of your dreams can become a reality.
Kitchen Views at National Lumber
www.kitchenviews.com

Historical Roots of the Modern Kitchen by Don James

Don James, Kitchen Views

Have you ever thought about the historical roots of the modern kitchen? As with most things in life that we take for granted today, form really does follow function.

Born and raised in historic downtown Hingham, Massachusetts, I’ve always had an affinity for elements of architectural design and aesthetics. Researching historic facts of architecture has informed my design ability. There is so much we can learn about ourselves by studying the past and the lessons learned by those who came before us.

Sioux indians (mid-1800s) gathered around the cooking fire

Sioux Indians (mid-1800s) gathered around the cooking fire

Settlers of the American West gathered around the Chuck Wagon

Settlers of the American West gathered around the Chuck Wagon

We are inherently drawn to the source of our nourishment, but most of us don’t think about it consciously. Without a building, we are drawn together around the cooking fire. This shared experience forges emotional ties. Family loyalty is strengthened by these everyday routines.

The kitchen is now truly the heart of the home, however, this wasn’t always the case. From the colonial period up until the mid-20th century, most kitchens were an afterthought in the planning of a house.  They were simple rooms predominantly for food storage and minimal food preparation. They lacked space and no one could say they were “designed.” The cooking methods and tools of the day were primitive, which left kitchens dysfunctional for centuries.

Typical kitchen in the early 1900s

Early 1900s

Typical kitchen 1920-1930

1920-1930

Typical kitchen in the 1940s

1940s

It was not until the late 19th century that iron stoves became commercialized and municipality systems for gas, water and electric became readily accessible. Once these advances took place, kitchens were poised for transition, and the kitchen industry was born.

The industrial period led to scientific studies of productivity that considered efficiency dealing with movement and spacing, from which came kitchen design concepts that took into account the process of food preparation. The stove, sink, refrigerator and counter space were identified as key work areas and were now being spaced according to a well-thought-out design for maximum efficiency.

Starting in the 1950s, household work came into vogue depicting the “perfect” middle class household. As a result, even more emphasis was placed in the kitchen. Traditionally, the kitchen had been built at the back of the house, away from living areas. The advancement in technology, flooring, lighting, etc., changed the location of the kitchen within the home.

With this new focus on kitchen appliances, and the development of suburban neighborhoods, competitiveness required that upwardly mobile families had state-of-the-art kitchens. “Keeping up with the Jones’” became a way of life. These modern appliances had become both necessities and status symbols.

With pride in their modern kitchens, families were happy to gather at the kitchen table to eat meals together, instead of in a separate dining room. Kitchens were becoming the place that brought the family together. This was the beginning of the concept of a kitchen as “the heart of the home.”

This period of rapid development from the 1950s through the end of the century saw the family gathering place being improved. With homeowners willing to invest in modern kitchens, designers explored color choices and new materials (such as the aqua blue 1960s kitchen shown below), storage options inside the cabinets, and new configurations to eating areas (such as the 1970s picture with seating around an island instead of a stand-alone table).

Typical kitchen in the 1950s

1950s

Typical kitchen in the 1960s

1960s

Typical kitchen in the 1970s

1970s

The 1980s saw a change in kitchen layouts, which most people didn’t realize was moving them out of “the heart of the home.” Kitchens began to be designed with work islands in the center, to provide more work space for meal preparations. The kitchen table got pushed to the side, or back into a designated dining room. Individuals went to their bedrooms or a designated family room and/or entertainment area during their recreation time.

Typical kitchen in the 1980s

1980s

Typical kitchen in the 1990s

1990s

How many people understood that this physical separation was creating an emotional rift in their family? There is no one factor responsible for the shift in American society. But any honest observer recognizes that we went through a turbulent period with jobs requiring relocation or frequent travel, a rise in the divorce rate and a generation that was out there trying to “find itself.” Perhaps that’s why we’ve finally seen a shift back to the importance of family, whatever form that family takes.

Today’s kitchen is the focal point and gathering place for family and friends. Kitchen islands have transitioned back to include seating for the family to gather in the kitchen, at least for casual meals. The family is also being brought together with the contemporary concept of an open floor plan. This could include a dining area as well as a family room and/or entertainment area. Parents want a line of sight to see small children playing while they do their kitchen tasks. Older children working on homework or playing video games are still “part of the family” instead of off in their bedrooms alone. The family cook may have felt separated from the family, alone behind a wall. With open concept layouts, the person preparing meals can easily converse with the family. The concept of the kitchen as “the heart of the home” has been expanded to include a larger family living area.

It’s where family bonds are made, a place where kids do homework and preparing meals with one another is a pleasant activity. Today’s kitchen is fully integrated into your lifestyle and deserves to be stylish and functional.

contemporary 2014 open concept kitchen and living area

This open concept kitchen and living area layout is a good example of what we have discussed as a contemporary style.

Traditional cabinetry details are included in this contemporary open concept kitchen.

Traditional cabinetry details are included in this contemporary open concept kitchen.

current-2014-two-islands-in-open-concept-kitchen-layout

This open concept kitchen includes two large islands, with natural flow into the family living area.

 

As you can see from these examples, there are endless variations on the theme of open concept. Your kitchen should reflect your aesthetic and your lifestyle.

Don James | Showroom Sales & Design
Kitchen Views | 3356 Post Road, Warwick, RI
djames@kitchenviews.com

Don graduated from Wentworth Institute of Technology’s Architectural Engineering Program. He began his career in 1986 hand drafting kitchens for other designers. Don’s notable skill in conceptual design has earned him a reputation as one of the areas premiere kitchen designers.

Finding the Right Kitchen Island

This article was adapted from an article from the Fall 2009 edition of Kitchen Views Design Magazine.

The island is about as common in today’s kitchen as the stove, refrigerator, or microwave. However, unlike those particular appliances, the island can serve a wide variety of purposes and come in many different shapes and made of many different materials. For homeowners, deciding on what type of kitchen island works in a particular space can become a pretty daunting challenge. Having a sense of how the space will be used, however, can make a big difference in how to cross that bridge when your design gets to it.

It’s important to know how your island will be visited each day, invariably shaping the content of its cabinets, dimensions, and surface. Some islands are used as much for food prep as they are for homework. The island can also be the most important piece of the puzzle in the workflow of a cook entertaining a houseful of guests. Here are four kitchen island solutions, each with its own advantages, in order of price point.

Portable Island with Schrock Cabinets

Portable Island with Schrock Cabinets

Price point: $

This portable island, created with Schrock cabinets, is little more than a countertop installed upon two cabinets and two shapely legs, offering just enough space to savor a moment of solitude and a morning latte before the action begins.

Island with Omega Cabinets

Island with Omega Cabinets

Price point: $$

As walls come down and the kitchen and family rooms merge, an island with a high bar for seating and a lower level for food prep keeps the mess out of sight and the flat screen right where you want it. Mixing and matching Dynasty and Omega cabinetry help to create this custom look at an economical price.

Natural Cherry Cabinets from Corsi

Natural Cherry Cabinets from Corsi

Price point: $$$

You can show off your cooking skills and remain part of the party by incorporating a semi-pro island cooktop. A bold splash of color in natural cherry cabinetry by Corsi adds panache to this focal point. However, before you set your heart on this plan, remember that ventilation in the middle of a room requires strategic planning.

Kitchen Island with Crystal Cabinets

Kitchen Island with Crystal Cabinets

Price point: $$$$

Carefully planned storage space requires considerable discussion when designing an island, even in a colossal kitchen. Add two levels, with a prep sink above and a wood-topped baking center below, and this five by eight foot island by Crystal Cabinetry provides a bevy of solutions for the multi-cook family.

These and many more solutions exist for finding the right island for your kitchen. Speak to your designer about how to best utilize this centerpiece of your kitchen to fit your needs.

Kitchen Views
www.kitchenviews.com 

Kitchen Design Layouts: Lisa Zompa

Lisa Zompa, Kitchen Designer Blog

Creating your dream kitchen can be daunting.  One of the first things to consider is what type of layout will fit into your space.  If your space is long and narrow, then the galley kitchen layout will work best.  If the space is a large square, then a design with an island might work. If your space isn’t particularly large or small, a U-shape layout is a good possibility. Below are some examples of different kitchen layouts based on room shape.

Galley

The galley layout is used when the space is narrow.  Typically, the sink will be on one side and the cooking area will be on the other side.

U-Shape

This layout can be used a couple of different ways.  In one, the cabinets follow the perimeter of the room in a U-Shape.  The second way is more of an open concept, and is also the most common.  One of the ends will just have base cabinets and be open to the next room.  This creates a peninsula, allowing for extra seating on the other side.  This layout is typically used when there isn’t enough room for an island.

Island Design

Islands are used when the space is large enough.  When using an island in a layout, there must be 36”-48” of clearance around all four sides of the island, with 42” being the most comfortable clearance.  Islands can serve many functions.  They can be a pure working island, which means there will not be any appliances in it; some will have a prep sink, or even the main sink and dishwasher.  Others will have the cooking function.  Most will also have seating whether the island be one level or two.

While these basic layouts serve general needs, there are many possible variations for individual needs. Depending on whether this will be a family kitchen that needs to accommodate children, a baker’s kitchen that needs plenty of work space, or some other special function, you may want different options. An experienced kitchen designer can help you to create a space that meets your particular needs.

Lisa Zompa
Kitchen Views at National
3356 Post Rd, Warwick, RI 02886
Phone: 401-921-0400
Email: lzompa@kitchenviews.com
Web: www.kitchenviews.com

Wish Lists Meet Reality

Small Kitchen Before (unfortunately, not the best quality before photo, but you can see the old layout)

When you begin dreaming of a new kitchen, a good way to start is with a wish list. But to keep yourself from being disappointed, temper your wishes with a clear evaluation of the reality of your situation. This particularly relates to remodeling – the trickiest kind of kitchen design, which greatly benefits from the talents of an experienced designer.

Remodeling can face design restrictions due to the available budget or the existing structure of your home. In some instances it’s possible to make structural changes, such as knocking down a wall to join an existing dining room with the kitchen. Structural changes could be more extensive, such as moving windows, doors, plumbing, or event construction of an addition to the home. But, many homeowners need to stay within the current “footprint” of the existing kitchen.

The priority must be on making the room function well, or you won’t be happy with the room no matter what it looks like. Rather than listing items to add to your kitchen, or focusing on cabinetry style, begin with a wish list of what tasks you want to accomplish in your kitchen. For example: daily meals, occasional baking, family meals, homework area, etc. How many people need to use the kitchen at one time? Will meals be served in the kitchen? Will it be a couple of people catching a quick meal? Does the eating area need to fit a large family, or is there a separate dining room available? If you like to buy in bulk, that needs to be taken into consideration.

You should select a designer who will take time to listen to you about how you want your new kitchen to function. Then, be willing to listen with an open mind as the designer suggests realistic options of room layout and cabinetry solutions to accomplish the necessary tasks. What functional problems are you having with the existing kitchen? Is it actually functioning well, and you really just want a style update?

In this kitchen remodel, the door was moved over to make space for the dishwasher next to the sink.

An experienced kitchen designer will guide you through realistic options to make the available space best serve your needs, based on the reality of your budget and your home’s particular structure. Especially if you must stay within the existing “footprint” of the room, and you are considering adding elements to the space, the kitchen designer will be able to inform you of building code requirements that dictate placement of cabinets and appliances. For example, there must be at least 36 inches walking area width between wall cabinets and an island. That could affect the size of an island you can include, or make an island impossible to fit. Remember, the code requirements exist to avoid problems and hazards. You may discover that the existing layout really is the best use of the space. But improvements can still be made in other ways.

Once the project parameters are established, then the designer will suggest options that are appropriate to your space. If adequate space is available, a multi-functional island could be a good choice. If there isn’t room in the floor plan for a large island, perhaps a small island can be created that will still provide you with a valuable working and storage area. You may have to accept limits on what you can fit into the new kitchen, but an experienced designer can often find creative solutions to accommodate your needs. For example, if you must stay within the “footprint” of the existing cabinetry, it becomes especially important to find special storage cabinetry that will make better use of the space. (See our previous article on specialty storage cabinets. I particularly like the pantry cabinet options.)

Once the function of the room is established, then you can begin thinking about style, color, wood species, etc. Having first established your structure, the designer can now help you work within your budget to select cabinetry and countertops. Perhaps you can use more affordable stock cabinets for most of the kitchen, and use a custom cabinet for only one special purpose. For either cost or function, maybe you should consider laminate rather than a synthetic or stone countertop. Kitchen Views offers a wide range of quality products across many price ranges.

Getting expert guidance on room function and product options will give you the best outcome. Benefit from professional insight for the structure of the room and complete the kitchen with your style choices. Remember, Kitchen Views is where the designers are pros and the views are yours.

Kitchen Views

Web: www.kitchenviews.com

Lisa Zompa: Updating Your Old Kitchen With A Fresh Look

Lisa Zompa, Kitchen Designer Blog

Are you getting tired of your current kitchen, but your existing cabinets are still in good shape? How about adding a complementary island or hutch? The trend has been going in the direction of replacing the kitchen table and chairs with an island that has added storage and seating for the family. An island, or hutch can be a great opportunity to add the function that your existing kitchen lacks without going through the expense of a new kitchen.

Islands can offer you additional countertop space for entertaining, working, and seating, while giving you added storage for pots and pans, trash, or even additional appliances. A hutch piece is a nice place to show off your china that has been stored away in some closet for years. They can also give you that furniture “WOW” piece that you have been looking for.

The hutch below adds added storage and function with the beverage center.

Lisa Zompa - Black Hutch

The island below adds color, and is multi-functional. It serves as banquet seating on one side, and has a sink on the other.

Schrock Island with contrasting cabinetry

Island with Schrock Cabinetry

The island below adds contrast to the kitchen cabinets and provides additional seating, while looking like a piece of furniture.

Crystal Cabinetry island

Island with Crystal Cabinets

Adding an island or a hutch, or both, to your existing kitchen is a cost-effective way to update your kitchen without overstretching your remodeling budget.

Lisa Zompa
Kitchen Views at National
3356 Post Rd,
Warwick, RI 02886
Phone: 401-921-0400
Email: lzompa@kitchenviews.com
Web: www.kitchenviews.com


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