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'Kitchen Island': Fab solution or Fashion statement?

(24 Posts)
Inspirachion Tue 09-Aug-11 14:24:05

Hi , We are renovating an old house and knocking out some walls for a living/dining kitchen space.

The plans came back with the suggestion of a kitchen island with sink and hob in it.

I like the idea of not facing the wall all the time when cooking etc butI'm not sure if they really work well inpractice.

Do you love or hate yours?

TIA

NoseyNooNoo Tue 09-Aug-11 16:18:17

I wouldn't want a hob that my toddler could access so easily.

catpark Tue 09-Aug-11 16:28:14

I wouldn't have a sink and hob beside each other like that. Could be a fire hazard having water so near electrics. Wouldn't it cost a bit more as well as there would have to be extra pipework/electrics run to the island ? I would probably have a centre island as workspace.

haggisaggis Tue 09-Aug-11 16:38:27

We had one in our old house and I LOVED it! Island had a round sink for veg preparation (had a larger sink elsewhere in kitchen for washing up etc) then space for chopping board / knives then hob. Hob could be accessed from both sides - and since at time of installation my dd was about 2 - I was worried it could be dangerous but turned out to be fine - was careful when using it that she was supervised if in the kitchen. Pipework etc went under the floor - and assuming you are having a lot of work done anyay it shouldn't cost more. OUr fridges and double oven were behind the island so basically I could stand in one place and access fridge, wash veg, chop, heat and cook and hardly move my feet!

sprogger Tue 09-Aug-11 16:39:48

My family in Canada all have them. They are BRILLIANT. I want one!

Inspirachion Tue 09-Aug-11 16:53:49

Oh like the idea of a round sink for veg prep on the island and another elsewhere for everthing else haggisaggis . The floor is comingup for insulating before kitchenwork done so pipes could be catered for I think.

DS is only just 1 so safety is an issue and this might keep me from having the hob on there NNN I am a bit unsure as it might be possible to baby gate off the area somehow, but imagine would be safer to keep hob by a wall.

Mandy21 Tue 09-Aug-11 19:21:23

We had island unit in our old house and loved it - didn't have sink or hob in it, just used it for prep. Was really social. Loved hubby/ friends sitting on stools at island whilst I pottered! I don't think hob in an island unit is more dangerous than hob in a normal worktop, so don't think that's a reason not to go for it. We used a babydan room divider to fence the island / kitchen off when we had little ones!

CristinaTheAstonishing Tue 09-Aug-11 19:24:03

Why is a centrally placed hob more dangerous than a wall one?

Inspirachion Tue 09-Aug-11 19:50:22

Hob on island: Not sure if it is really any more dangerous ... maybe more chance of spills, knoched pans or spitting pans affecting someone other than the cook hmm

that was one of the things I was wondering.

The other thing I was wondering was does anone really use the breakfast bar chairs at an island like this but Mandy21 has answered my telepathic question!

Inspirachion Tue 09-Aug-11 19:55:09

Actually DH put a video of the plans up on youtube earlier to feed back to the architect as apparently my iphone video was too long to send by email so if anyone fancies giving free advice a look, its here

Kitchen Diner

7to25 Tue 09-Aug-11 20:40:33

saw the video!
Like the window idea and you do seem to have space for an island (very popular in US where the kitchens are much larger) I don't like the hob because it is not centrally positioned in the island and therefore IS more dangerous.
They are great for entertIning if you can tolerate an audience!

BettyBathroom Tue 09-Aug-11 20:52:58

My hob & veg cleaning sink are going in the island. Hob will be placed 40 cm from the edge, sink is at the other end. Island is 120cm deep and 300cm long - lots of safe eating area. In a way it's safer for me because behind the island is cooking space - no children allowed. They can sit at the island and watch, maybe help but not get under my feet or yank pans from the hob, which I was always worried about under our more conventional set up.

plipplops Wed 10-Aug-11 17:41:09

We've got an island which is just like a big unit so no hob or sink. I totally love it, it's really nice to be able to prepare food and talk to people sitting at the table, and it's really sociable and lovely. If you've got room I'd definitely go for it and would really miss it if we moved to a house without one.

noviceoftheday Wed 10-Aug-11 17:47:33

IMO if the island takes up a lot of space in the kitchen then its a royal pain and you will really wish you didn't have it (she says from bitter experience!) but if the kitchen is big enough then its a great thing to have.

Inspirachion Wed 10-Aug-11 19:07:40

I am waiting on dimensions being addedd to the plans so that I can get a handle on how much 'circulation space' there is.

Our kitchen in current house is 8ft x 6ft and if DH and I are in there together it drives us nuts bumping into each other so its important we dont end up with the same problem.

In fact on a day to day basis trying to use our current kitchen is a nightmare...

minipie Wed 10-Aug-11 19:17:52

Saw the video! Yes it looks like you have space for an island. I think it's a good idea - otherwise you will end up with quite a big gap which is a bit of a waste of space. Also the island separates the seating/dining area from the kitchen quite nicely.

Looks like he's suggested some breakfast stools to sit along the island which is a good idea. (you could alternatively have a small breakfast bar bit at one end of the island).

If you have your hob in the island then you will have to have the extractor fan suspended from the ceiling. So think about whether you like this look.

I also wouldn't put your main sink in the island since then your washing up will sit there and be on display while you're eating.

teta Wed 10-Aug-11 20:33:40

I love my island.I have an integrated fridge in it but no hob or sink.I do think small prep sinks are useful in islands and can look cool.We had to install a second prep sink against the wall because of lack of [builders] planning and i do feel it would have been much better in the island.I would never have a hob in mine because of small children and the risk of burning.If you are going to have a seating area do leave enough room to position your legs confortably underneath.You will also need to decide what you are going to use your island for so you can plan the functionality.Also get the proportions right, leaving enough space to be able to walk round if the dishwasher is open say.My dh and i drew with chalk on the floor [after completely clearing the room] to see what size the island would need to be when we were planning our new kitchen.Good luck.

BettyBathroom Thu 11-Aug-11 08:58:22

Don't understand how kids would burn themselves - there's 60cm of worksurface behind my hob and worksurafce either side - also there's an extensive sitting area at the island away from hob. In general kids should be nowhere near a cooking area - which is a problem with open plan living if you have toddlers but older kids can follow simple rules - you are not allowed behind the Island! Much clearer than don't go anywhere near the hob.

We solved the extraction issue by getting a ceiling mounted extraction unit which is more or less flush with the ceiling - ducting goes through the floor joists and the motor is externally mounted, so noise is kept to a minimum in the kitchen.

Inspirachion Thu 11-Aug-11 11:44:29

Thanks everyone for all your help, we've had the second draft of plans this morning and the hob is off the island at the moment but depending on dimensions I might have been persuaded by some of you to put it back on if there is enough room/workspace around it.

Now am turning my brain to wondering how many kitchen cupboards does a family really need. Currently we are woefully lacking (two low level cupboards, 2 drawers and 4 high level but shallow units) but dont want to rebound into overdoing it confused

The plans show approximately 12 ft of kitchen space along the wall (going from the size of the old kitchen we're knocking through] and I'm guessing around half again on the island - though I'm still waiting on the dimensions. I'll kick myself if we don't put enough in. It is more than we currently have but doesn't seem abundant enough.

So how many kichen units is plently without overdoing it? Any thoughts if around 12 ft worth of worktop and units (also houseing the cooker/microwave/sink and fridge) plus the island would be enough?

Beanbeany Fri 12-Aug-11 12:10:22

I totally agree with minipie about the sink. I'd have the hob and worktop/food prep space on the island. Much nicer to be making dinner whilst talking to your guests than doing the dishes!

We went from a tiny kitchen with about the same number of cupboards as you currently have to a vast kitchen/diner with about 18 cupboards and 6 drawers! They were already there when we moved in and there's way more than we need but I would always go for as many cupboards as you can fit in unless it seems overbearing.

Another idea to increase storage space without having loads of obvious cupboards would maybe be to have cupboards in the island that open from both sides IYSWIM so you can access them from the kitchen or dining area. I know you have bar stools on the dining side but you could maybe store stuff that you don't use so often. Also you could have those magnetic push click closers so the door handles don't get in the way of people's knees! My mum once saw this idea in a magazine in the 1980s and has never stopped going on about how marvellous it was - it's clearly been imprinted on my brain forever!

singforsupper Mon 15-Aug-11 00:54:12

I would keep everything off the island and use it to prop laptops, homework, cups of coffee, hungry children on. You can put storage underneath or at one end of the unit.

In terms of storage, I have
2 x 60cm drawer units, 2 x 40cm 40cm shallow units under worktops - these are for stuff I need access to quickly, and one of the small units is for breakfast stuff. I have 5 x 40cm tall shallow cupboards which hold all plates, crocs and food.

I have no wall units except an open shelf for tea and coffee. This makes the kitchen feel much bigger and ceilings seem taller.

My pots are in a drawer in the main workspace, oven under the hob with drawers either side. Pull out drawers under sink.

Put your hob in the furthest part of the kitchen so you won't have people going round you to get a drink. Planners tend to put the hob in the middle of a run of units but that doesn't make sense to me. Place your sink where everyone can reach it, place your tea-making area next to the sink. Putting the sink under the window is a kitchen planner's myth. Zero point in that - who looks out of the window when they're cleaning anyway?

Allow for a space for your admin / phones / laptop - this ALWAYS ends up in the kitchen. The more seating areas you have the better the window seats sound great.

singforsupper Mon 15-Aug-11 00:58:24

Having a large undersink unit has meant we can put trays and big things under the drawer.

nooka Mon 15-Aug-11 01:13:37

I think how much cupboard space you need is related to how much kitchen stuff you have, and whether you will keep any of it elsewhere (dining room, utility, broom cupboard etc). We keep all crockery and cleaning stuff in the kitchen and do lots of cooking, jam making, baking etc so have lots of kitchen gear plus I like my surfaces to be clear. Our current kitchen has two floor to ceiling cupboards, three tall wall cupboards, two double wall cupboards, two big corner units, two double floor units with drawers (one in the island), two thin floor units, a double unit under the sink and a set of shelves. I probably don't need quite so many, but it is very nice to have the space.

Inspirachion Mon 15-Aug-11 20:48:32

Hi guys and thanks for taking the time to help me out.
So far we have made the decision to forego an understairs cupboard for more kitchen units.
What I am also getting from your posts, apart from lots of interesting ideas, is the understanding that we need to really be sure how we want to 'live' in the kitchen diner space and site appliances etc with that in mind rather than accepting standard design ideas.

Just found out we move in next week so we'll soon be able to knock out a few Walls grin

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