With the modern home leaning more and more towards open-plan living, kitchens are being remodelled and reimagined into self-contained ecosystems within the home, with a multitude of functions. When clients contact us with the view to redesigning their kitchen, often an island is high on their priority list. It's seen as a highly social addition; offering a grand focal point around which to centre their daily lives. Kitchen islands and butcher's blocks are a fantastic way to create clear zones, add additional storage, provide dining space and fill a void in the floorplan. Here, we've outlined our favourite styles and layouts, and how they can benefit your day-to-day living.
The Timeless Kitchen Island
The first shape which comes to mind when imagining an island is the galley. Often rectangular, they're straightforward and traditional, lending an easy flow to the general shape of the kitchen. Galley islands offer clear cooking-dining zones, with storage and utensils on one side and seating on the other, allowing family members to socialise with ease. One downside to this layout is that it doesn't come with the wow effect of other shapes. It's a fundamental design, but with kitchens becoming increasingly show-stopping, it doesn't have the edge.
The L-Shape Kitchen Island
An island shape that provides more intrigue is an L-shape. These are perfect for large, unusually shaped kitchens, wherein the corners can beautifully complement the lack of clean lines. With more scope to organise the space, an L-shape can provide clear preparation, cooking and working zones, without being overwhelmed. In larger designs such as these, appliances such as hobs and sinks can be installed more easily, blending daily tasks with socialising. However, the addition of corners can reduce the amount of storage space given (though with pull-out drawers or Lazy Susans this can be avoided).
The U-shape Kitchen Island
Most often seen in grand, elegant homes, particularly in North America, a U-shaped island is luxurious and incredibly practical. If your kitchen can accommodate one without being intimidating, this type of island is a chef's dream. With generous storage and an abundance of work surface to utilise, you can create a culinary habitat within your kitchen. One drawback is that you do have further to travel to reach the other side, however with ample room to seat the entire family, you're able to socialise and commune freely.
The Free Standing Butcher's Block Style Kitchen Island
A space-saving solution adopted by Scandinavian homes- and seen more and more in the UK- is the free-standing or rolling island. Most often smaller than their fixed counterparts, this butcher's block style island is perfect for kitchens with less space, offering a practical solution to storage and dining. With castors providing easy manoeuvrability, free-standing islands are the most versatile option. Although providing less storage space than a traditional design, they can be tucked away discretely after use, reopening the kitchen, or used as a cocktail or dining cart for a touch of luxury when entertaining.
With a vast array of options for butcher's blocks and islands these days, Thomas James Bespoke's unique and experienced design team can offer insightful ideas on which style would best suit your home, without overpowering or underwhelming the space.