On Location – Kitchen Island Design Ideas

A kitchen island is a great feature to have in your home, but for some people, there is a concern that the inevitable mess around the kitchen sink will be visible from other rooms in the house. In our recently completed case study house, the open plan kitchen is located adjacent to both the living and dining rooms and the clients were concerned about views towards the kitchen sink.

To deal with this issue, we decided to design a millwork storage unit that was part book shelf for the living room and part buffet storage for the dining room. We positioned the unit six inches off the floor to make it look like it is attached to the back of the island. We detailed the top of it to be about 12 inches higher than the kitchen counter. This millwork unit conceals any direct sight line from the living or dining spaces towards the sink while still maintaining an open concept feeling. On the kitchen side, the back of the unit houses the counter receptacles and a space to tuck in some small kitchen accessories or utensils.

Today’s Slides:

  • Clem

    Thanks for the video.  The mixture of the visual with your explination (both backed by your design experinces) has been informative for me.  I was interested in the ceiling variation, the covering on the (fireplace) divider between living and dining, and the multiple location of the wood (wetbar upper cabinet, island bookcase/shelves, living room bookcase and the half bath).  Thanks for packing so much in the video.

  • Steve in Van

    Love the closed and open storage section.  What kind of wood and finish is it?  Beautiful!

  • Matthew North

    Hi Steve – nice to hear from you  - the red colored wood we have used in this house is from “Echo Wood” – it is a quarter cut mahogany veneer with a clear finish  - it is a new product that we have been using and we are very happy with the results – Echo Wood is an interesting wood veneer supplier – worthwhile to look up.

  • Matthew North

    Hi Clem – seems like I have been taking a long time to reply to everyone’s questions…..yikes!! Sorry about that! The drop ceiling over the kitchen is not structural but has been designed as a subtle delineation of the kitchen space within the overall open floor plan of this house. It also recognizes the difference between the more formal living and dining room spaces at the front of the house and the more informal kitchen and family room spaces at the back of the house. The limestone on the double sided fireplace in the living/ dining room is a large format limestone tile from Stone Tile – which has locations in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary. We have used three colors of cabinetry in this house – an off white lacquer, a red mahogany veneer and a white washed/ grey stained oak. We used lacquer and the red wood on all the formal elements in the kitchen and living rooms. The grey oak is on the bedroom and bathroom cabinets. We used the red colored wood as the floating book case in the kitchen and then used it on one of the islands and the wet bar. To decide on how we placed the various millwork finishes – we just looked at what made the most sense compositionally.