If you were stranded on a desert island…yeah, yeah, it’s a tired old question. A better one is what do you want to include when you build a kitchen island? Kitchen islands are becoming an increasingly crucial part of any kitchen design, and what makes them more interesting is that they don’t just have to be a block of counter and cabinet space.
The things you choose to include in your kitchen island depend entirely on your personal choice and the design you have in mind for your kitchen. You’ll need to read the room: what are your kitchen’s needs and how much space is available? If you are looking to build a kitchen island, here are five appliances you might choose to incorporate into the design.
The benefits of including a stovetop when you build a kitchen island are many. For starters, a central stovetop expands the rest of the kitchen’s accessibility to the chef or baker in the family. Instead of being relegated to a back corner of the kitchen, perhaps lucky enough to have counter space on both sides, the budding Julia Child in your home has access to the entire island and the surrounding counters, appliances, and views.
When the stovetop is on an island, cooking can be a more engaging experience since you can look out at guests or the TV instead of at the back wall. However, if you prefer a more controlled cooking space, the back-and-forth format may not appeal.
The installation parameters of an island stove need to be considered early on. Electric units require a professionally-installed dedicated 240-volt circuit while gas models will need a supply line. Induction cooktops pair the high power of gas with the simplicity of an electric hookup. Regardless of which kind of stovetop you opt for, you will also need to include a vent to mitigate steam, smoke, and smells from the stove. Common choices include overhead canopies and less obtrusive downdraft vents.
If you plan to do a lot of cooking on your island, including the sink in the design is a great way to improve efficiency and convenience. You can rinse or strain produce before cutting without dripping water across the kitchen, you can wipe crumbs directly from the counter to the drain (especially if you elect to install an undermount sink), and any dishes you use can be moved into the sink for cleaning as you finish with them.
As you make the plan to build a kitchen island, consider that island sink drains need to be vented. Typically the plumbing for such sinks is installed to run under the floor and connect to existing vents. However, it is also possible to mount an air-admittance valve on the drain under the island sink.
If you include a sink in your plan to build a kitchen island, know that a sink pairs well with a dishwasher since they can share the same plumbing. Keeping the two in close proximity is also handy on a functional level, since dishes can be easily rinsed and placed directly in the dishwasher. If you want to be really efficient, you can put the dishwasher on one side of the sink and a tucked away garbage can on the other, to scrape plates before rinsing them.
Dishwashers installed in kitchen islands come in a variety of styles. Conventional units with hinged doors that open out are available, though they may cause traffic jams depending on the distance between your island and the rest of your cabinet space. Another commercially available option is a dishwasher with slide-out drawers. Though they are significantly more expensive, they do not take up as much space and offer more variety in the sizing department.
Microwaves are becoming a more common feature in kitchen islands. Relegating the appliance to the island keeps cabinets streamlined and frees up countertop space. Food can also be easier to access since it can be easier to pull out something hot from below as opposed to over your head. However, before you build a kitchen island, know that island-bound microwaves are not without their downsides.
Depending on your height, you may find that bending over for your food is more inconvenient than reaching up for it. Microwaves in kitchen islands can also be more expensive to install, and the ventilation is generally poor. Perhaps most importantly, low-sitting microwaves have proven dangerous around kids. It’s a giant box you can put anything in, and the panel of buttons within reach often proves too tempting to resist. Though more microwaves are coming equipped with door-lock features, kids are smart and they decipher the secrets of smart devices more quickly than most adults.
If you love a midnight Merlot, your wine might need its own place in the kitchen island. If you have an island outside of the kitchen, perhaps in the basement, you may choose to include a fridge unit without the tight racks for wine. Keep in mind that a fridge will need to be ventilated, which may require two or more inches of space around the sides and back of the unit. A wine rack can lend a decorative element to your kitchen island without the same refrigeration logistics.
The features you might include when you build a kitchen island are not limited to appliances. Depending on your kitchen’s needs, you may prioritize extra seating, a built-in butcher’s block, or even a shelf for your pets’ water and food bowls. If you need help designing your dream island, give us a call at Out of the Woods today.