KBTribeChat | The Kitchen Island

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An island is the star of the kitchen, the hub of the modern home, a workhorse that does it all. From cooking prep and storage to dining and entertaining, this jack-of-all-trades has become an integral design element and focal point of the home.

This week, we chatted all about kitchen island trends with the design community during KBTribeChat. Let’s dive right into this island adventure!

Design: Oakville Kitchen and Bath Centre | 5003 Piatra Grey and 4600 Organic White

What materials, finishes and details are currently popular for kitchen island cabinetry and hardware?

For high-end kitchen countertops, quartz reigns supreme. The material is extremely durable, can last virtually forever, is a breeze to maintain AND it’s beautiful. Now that’s a no-brainer!

It’s a tempting alternative to natural stone countertops. Quartz countertops, like Caesarstone, are scratch, heat and stain-resistant making them a low-maintenance option. Unlike granite and marble, which are delicate surfaces requiring a lot of care, quartz is resilient and easy to clean with just soap and water – no harsh chemicals required! Quartz is nonporous so it doesn't require any sealing, whereas granite and marble need to be resealed at least yearly. The nonporous nature of quartz also makes it highly resistant to mold and bacteria contamination. Why wouldn’t you want one of the hardest materials in the world as your kitchen countertop of choice?

Design: Avenue Design | Image: Birdhouse Media Photography | 6046 Moorland Fog and 1141 Pure White

Do you like to match the kitchen island to the perimeter? Why or why not?

The two-tone kitchen counter is a definite yes. Insider tip: not only does it add to the aesthetic, it can help stretch a budget. If you’ve had your eye on a pricey surface, you could use it in a small area as a focal point and install something more affordable in the rest of the space.

Surfaces can also be tailored to functions, such as a heat-resistant top for the cooking zone and a warm wood for the eating area. Whatever your taste, there’s room for more than one countertop in your kitchen.

Design: LDa Architecture & Interiors | Image: Sean Litchfield Photography | 3141 Eggshell 

Are waterfall counters still popular?  What is trending for island countertop materials and edge details?

Yes! Waterfall countertops have a sleek and minimal look which makes them a particularly good option for contemporary interiors. The counter to floor design creates a dramatic focal point and allows you to show off the material that the countertop is made with. As for countertops, we vote for quartz every time!

Design: Jessica Leigh McGouran | Image: Stephani Buchman | 4600 Organic White

Island countertops with an overhang for seating are popular. What design solutions do you like to add style to the eating bar side of an island?

We like playing with different heights. It creates a dynamic separation between prep station and dining, while still keeping attention focused and socialization easy. But as with any good design, it’s dependent on the client’s preferences and lifestyle.

Design: Kitchen Ideas | Image: Melissa Lukenbaugh Photography| 500 London Grey

What are the pros and cons of designing a sink and dishwasher or cooktop on the island?

Pro: Designing a sink or cooktop in the island helps bring the client closer to the entertainment center.

We love putting cooktops and sinks in islands, especially if there is seating on the island. It's nice for the cook to be able to talk to their guest or family while they're in the kitchen rather than have their back turned to them.

Con: Designing in a sink or cooktop can compromise open counter space.

It’s important to consider what you want from your space before overloading the area. If you have a large island, this is less of a concern but in smaller kitchens you might not want to sacrifice precious prep area. Give extra consideration to island cooktops; they can be challenging (although not impossible!) to vent and because they take time to cool down after use, they can be a hazard in a house of young children.

What features are nice to have or useful on a kitchen island?

A kitchen is only as beautiful as it is functional. Storage, smart features, integrated technology and lighting are all important and useful additions to the kitchen island.

Islands often become drop zones for mail and other clutter – extra storage can keep this surface clutter-free and organized, especially for busy families. And don’t forget about outlets! Nothing throws off a workflow like having to move the blender, food processor or other appliance due to a lack of electrical outlets.

Stay tuned for next week's #KBtribechat discussion!

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