The Problem with Kitchen Islands

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I didn't want to hijack another thread for this so:
Counters should be next to your fridge (to get stuff out), next to the range, and on both sides of the sink. A countertop on an island in isolation is an indication that the design of the kitchen was inefficient from the very beginning. Efficient planning of countertop space would expand on the necessary basic service areas, rather than place the extra space in isolation. Ideally, the biggest countertop space should be contiguous with the sink for easy clean-up.
So, no I don't think that people come to hate kitchen islands just because they are put in kitchens that are too small, or just because they obstruct foot traffic.
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In the "triangle", though not necessarily laid out in the *one* pattern you propose.

An island in isolation is poor design, yes. Done right it works well.

There is no reason the island has to be in "isolation, quite the contrary. It's very effective opposite the sink. Like anything else, it can be done right, or wrong.

If the kitchen is laid out poorly it's not the fault of the island. Of course it's difficlut to wedge an island into a kitchen that is too small.
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As long as you like twisting 180 all the time, instead of just reaching left or right, or stepping to the side.
David
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You are being shortsighted in your vision of kitchens. Depending on what you need and what the layout is, a turn around 180 degrees can be preferable to stepping six steps to the side. There are millions of scenarios with different recipes, utensils, appliances and numbers of steps that can show one or the other is preferable. One person cooking or two? Using the range or the oven or both? Prepping hot or cold? Making pasta from scratch while your partner is baking a cake or frying eggs makes a difference in what works best.
Not everyone works as you do, nor should they.
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Of if it's just one, multitasking. SWMBO loves our island for baking.

My bet is that he's never used an island in a kitchen that's really large enough to fit one effectively.
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On Jun 24, 8:07pm, snipped-for-privacy@panix.com (David Combs) wrote:

Clueless.
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Large kitchens are popular. Once you reach a certain size they look strange without an island. Too much open floor. That leads to the perception that luxury kitchens have an island so people want to see an island in a more moderate sized kitchen as a luxury "feature". So you'd better get used to it. At least if the island doesn't have a sink or appliance in it you can remove it without undue difficulty.
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That's beginning to sound like a design flaw, not an excuse to throw in a island. If your kitchen is too much like a gymnasium to be used efficiently, maybe it's time to go back to the drawing board.
One other thing I forgot to mention is that islands seem to always have problems with finding even half-way good places to put electrical outlets.
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So are your outlets under the counter so the cords get in the way? If your island is so close to sink and the dishwasher as to not require any walking, it sounds like you have no room for people to walk by anyone else. I assume your fridge and dishwasher are not part of your island like your sink is.
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edit: "...so close to FRIDGE and the dishwasher..."
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The home we're buying has an island and we love it. The island houses the cooktop, along with a motorized, vertical air deflector and fan to extract fumes. When not in use, the hood retracts into the island behind the cooktop. This particular island is large and is where food from the refrigerator would be placed. The person merely swivels and there is the island top, rather than having to step around the open refrigerator or freezer door.
One last thing that's particularly cool is that the far side of the island houses a SECOND sink, termed a vegetable sink. It's for preparing food and includes a second disposal. There are too many times when we've been forced to stand shoulder to shoulder preparing food by the sink, so that we can dispose of waste or rinse things. This gives us a second spot or location to do that.
When you think about it, the second "vegetable" sink really makes sense and the additional cost isn't that much. I'd guess that plumbing for an island sink in new construction would be under $500 in most instances, then add $200 for a sink, $75 for a tall faucet and $150 for a disposal and you're well under $1k.
Nonny
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re: "So are your outlets under the counter so the cords get in the way?"
I don't have an island, but I have a workshop with a workbench.
There is a series of receptacles evenly spaced along the frame of the workbench, a few inches below the overhang of the workbench top. The receptacles face out into the shop.
When tools are plugged into these receptacles the cords hang straight down, out of the way, instead of running all across the workbench. Since there is an overhang, the cords are not any type of tripping hazard.
If I ever have a kitchen large enough to have an island, I would design it so the receptacles were installed in a similar fashion.
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On 06/25/10 12:57 pm, DerbyDad03 wrote:

I have a UK-published book on workshops (a few decades old now) that shows track (as in "track lighting") into which not only lights but also suspended power outlets could be installed. If it was safe enough for 240-volt supplies, one would think that something similar could be marketed for 120-volt systems -- although the wiring would have to be heavier because of the increased current.
Perce
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Suspended receptacles, either short flexible cords or retractable cords hung from the ceiling are common place in many workshops.
http://s7.sears.com/is/image/Sears/03483928000-1
I don't need them in my shop, but I do have some receptacles mounted on the floor joists in the main part of the basement that we use for ironing, vacuuming, etc.
The only issue I see with the "track" solution you mentioned is that shop outlets should always be on a different circuit than the lights. The last thing you want is a power tool plunging you into darkness when it trips the breaker.
If you have lights and receptacles in the same track, but on different circuits, I'm pretty sure code would require a ganged breaker, which would pretty much defeat the purpose of splitting the circuits.
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If you don't want a fixed island,use a rollaround table or cart,with locking casters. Then you can position it where it is most useful for a given task,or move it out of the way entirely.
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mike wrote:

Your opinion, other may not share it. Me, for one. Our island serves sink, fridge, cooktop, oven and dishwasher. Each of those - except cooktop which is in the island - also have their own, generous counter area. The sink has two, both peninsulas.
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I haven't seen a picture of your kitchen, but does an island really serve the items listed very well if you have to walk over to it rather than just pivot?
At least your cooktop is in the island, rather than just having a blank, isolated counter. What do you do for outlets?
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mike wrote:

Pivoting is all that is required; 42" aisles on all four island sides.

Usually, use the ones in the walls above the normal counter tops. If wife want to do something on the island it has duplex outlets too. Elevated 3/4" above the top itself.
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mike wrote:

Not really.

Hmmm, Only if the kitchen is too small. Our island has built in wine racks, storage drawers, what not. More than enough counter top spaces along 3 walls. Island is easily movable also.You speak for yourself. We don't have any problem with island.
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...

How does THAT work?
What with plumbing, electrical, etc?
David
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