Place an island ingeniously and it's possible to separate the food preparation zone from an intimate dining area, whilst also preserving that all important open-plan feel. In this fabulously modern space, the creamy cabinetry and luxe hi-gloss textures bring a sense of cohesion to a wonderfully spacious, light and airy kitchen-diner, with colour and design leading the eye past the confines of the interior to the outdoor space beyond. Look closely at this classy, understated kitchen island and you'll discover it serves a multitude of purposes – a place to wash, prep food, with a neat breakfast bar to eat at with tucked-under stools. It has integrated power points so you can plug in any kitchen appliances you need and even sports matching-wood alcove shelving for displaying pottery and books.
An island unit has lots to bring to a kitchen design. It can provide extra prep space and form a boundary between the cooking zone and the living/dining area. A shaped island unit can also help direct the flow of traffic away from busy hotspots. Functions aside, the change of pace offered by a kitchen island often encourages a variation in material. You can afford to be braver here with a bolder finish or colour, or perhaps a more expensive material that would be prohibitive across an entire room. An island will define a kitchen, forming a division between dining and living spaces. For this reason, at least the facing part of the island should be in warm and welcoming materials to make a transition from efficient kitchen surfaces.
How do I control the flow of people in a kitchen? The workspace may be crucial, but the movement of people around the kitchen space as a whole also needs careful thought. The main aims are to keep children away from danger spots and stop guests from getting in your way. Look at placing the fridge at the threshold so children can access drinks and snacks without straying into your path. In open-plan spaces, make sure the route through from the entrance to the garden is unobstructed and think about how best to direct your guests to seating areas. An island can act as a useful shield for the cook – position bar stools along the opposite side to give guests a place to perch at a safe distance. ‘in a large space, consider using two islands to create multiple-flow possibilities,' says Graham Barnard, MD of Matrix Kitchens.
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