Think about what kind of design (whether custom or prefabricated) is going to provide the most utility by asking the following questions: What will it be used for the most? What particular features will enhance the existing kitchen? What does the space need? If the room lacks cabinet space, you’ll want storage. If you don’t have a kitchen or dining room table (and even if you do), extra seating might be a priority.
She requested a drop-leaf design, which gives her the flexibility to use the island for an occasional meal. But because she can fold down the leaves when not in use, she gets a little extra circulation space as needed.
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A good general rule for enclosed kitchens is to place it in the center of the room. That way it’s equally accessible from all sides and won’t be an obstacle for people walking through. That placement might not work best for all kitchens, however. A perimeter island, for example, might work better with open floor plans. Size and shape are also determined by room’s layout; Allow for at least 36-48 inches between the perimeter of the island and the surrounding cabinets so there’s enough room for people to move around.
Focal-point shelving. This kitchen features a variation on the end-of-island storage idea, with built-in shelves on either side of the tall chairs. Because this kitchen opens to a seating area, the shelves and the items displayed on them — here, pottery and a cake stand — offer a place for the eyes to rest rather than just the chair backs.
Undersink drawer. Given the plumbing fixtures that must go beneath the kitchen sink and the fact that there isn’t much room in that space for storage, this area can feel like a dank mini-cave. This drawer has a clever cutout that gently surrounds the plumbing, making available the good, clean space while keeping the plumbing hidden.