Installing an island can enhance your kitchen in many ways, and, with good planning, even smaller kitchens can benefit with narrow kitchen islands. Narrow kitchen islands can be just as functional and effective as average-size islands, including food preparation space and plenty of storage.
According to Houzz, the average size of a kitchen island is about 3 by 6½ feet (1,000 by 2,000 millimeters). An island that size would typically have a surrounding clearance zone of about 40 inches (1,000 millimeters). However, an island’s size is usually determined by the distances around it, so larger kitchens allow for bigger islands.
Wood countertops custom crafted for narrow kitchen islands are uniquely designed to fit the needs of every client. They can be crafted as the entire surface of the island, or as the kitchen island end.
An American Beech wood countertop was designed by Brandon Okone and Monica Miller, MCR, UDCP, CMKBD of J.S. Brown & Co. for this narrow kitchen island located in Columbus, Ohio. The countertop, crafted in edge grain construction, was designed to be the entire islands surface. Finished with Grothouse Original Oil™, this top can be sanded and oiled to look like new after years of use.
Griffey Remodeling designed a 5 inch think Peruvian Walnut edge grain countertop for the end of this red kitchen island. The countertop serves as a cutting board and food preparation space away from the traffic between the sink and the cooktop, but close enough to be easily accessible.
Butcher block stations are custom crafted to turn any kitchen into a veritable work horse. The best stations function as both mobile food preparation spaces and storage centers.
The surface area is a butcher block countertop crafted out of solid wood in end grain construction style. End grain construction style is preferred by chefs because it keeps knives sharp and can be sanded down and oiled to look like new. Butcher block countertops are finished with Grothouse Original Oil™.
The ultimate butcher block station was designed by Tyler Florence for Kitchen of the Year 2011. Crafted in all solid wood construction, the station features custom laser engraving on the front face of the butcher block. The butcher block also features one long integrated knife slot, keeping knives out of the way but easily accessible.
The base of the station includes five drawers for convenient storage, each 150 lb rated undermount drawer slides with soft close. 500 lb rated casters for heavy duty use were installed to enable the station to be mobile.
Placed in front of a handy message board, this movable kitchen island station designed by TRK Design Company has a 6″ solid Lyptus wood butcher block engraved with the name of the farm estate.
While butcher block stations are often designed to be mobile, they can also be built into a kitchen island or perimeter kitchen countertops. The Walnut butcher block pictured above was designed by Blue Bell Kitchens. The butcher block is rabbeted into the granite countertop and features a waste hole, enabling food scraps to be easily thrown away by removing the stainless steel lid.
Follow @grothouseinc on Instagram for weekly kitchen design inspiration. Visit the Countertop Image Library to view more butcher block stations.
Our Custom Wood Countertops Blog features the industry’s most talented and innovative designers throughout the United States and abroad. This featured design includes a Walnut Wood Butcher Block Kitchen Bar Top designed by Julie Freeman Cavanaugh of Design Matters.
About the Designer:Julie completed her education in Interior Design in 1998, achieved a CID licensure and became a professional ASID member in 2002. With an eye for spatial relationships and problem solving, Julie’s interiors bring functional sensibility and tremendous flow while achieving beautiful proportions. Not afraid to mix color, texture and scale, Julie’s homes provide unique and unparalleled “livable luxury”.
About Design Matters:Design Matters provides unique, detailed and client focused design solutions. From architectural development, space planning, material selections, color and furniture specifications and more, Design Matters’ approach threads together comprehensive designs down to the last threaded detail.
Cabinet Manufacturer: Rutt HandCrafted Cabinetry
Cabinet Hardware: Top Knobs in Medium Bronze
Flooring: Arto Brick – Normandy Cream, 14″ Hexagon
Countertops: Kitchen Island – Grothouse End Grain Random Mix Walnut with Sapwood Butcher Block finished with Grothouse Original Oil; Perimeter – Raw Concrete
Sink: Native Trails Farmhouse Quartet in Ash
Backsplash: Blue Slide Art Tile
Wall Color: Benjamin Moore Twisted Oak Path in Matte
Stove: Thermador Pro Harmony Gas Range
Dishwasher: Thermador Built-In Dishwasher
Other Appliances: Thermador Professional Series Wall Mount Range Hood
As the hub of the kitchen, your island is a prep station, gathering spot and dining area. Why not make it a statement piece too? Distressed solid wood island countertops can be custom crafted to make a statement in any style kitchen.
Wood countertops can be distressed as lightly or heavily as desired. Grothouse offers five standard levels of distressing, but levels can be altered to achieve the desired look. The five levels include:
Level 1 Distressing:
• Lightly worn corners and edges
• Light dings
Level 2 Distressing:
• Moderately worn corners and edges
• Moderate dings
• Light drag marks
Level 3 Distressing:
• Heavily worn corners and edges
• Numerous dings
• Spotty worm holes
• Moderate drag marks
Level 4 Distressing:
• Very heavily and unevenly worn corners and edges
• Plentiful dings
• Clusters of worm holes
• Bountiful drag marks
• Termite tracks
Level 5 Super Distressing:
• Very heavily and very unevenly worn corners and edges
• Plentiful dings and notch marks
• Clusters of worm holes
• Abundant scratches and drag marks
• Waffle hammer dings and circular dings
• Heavy edge nicks
• Termite tracks
Designs with Distressed Solid Wood Island Countertops
Pictured below, Diana Burton of Drury Design Kitchen & Bath Studio designed a Sapele Mahogany edge grain wood countertop for this white kitchen island. The countertop is distressed to level 4 and finished with a hand rubbed black glaze to accentuate the distressing. A small undermount sink was placed in the corner of the countertop, with an overhang on the opposite end for seating.
Showcase Kitchens designed a Walnut with Sapwood counter crafted in Flat Grain construction for the traditional white kitchen pictured below. The counter was super distressed and features the Grothouse Jericho Stock Stain (#04915).
Chip Tiber, CKD, NCDIQ, of Studio 76 Kitchens & Baths designed a Walnut with Sapwood counter crafted in Flat Grain construction. Distressed to level 4 and finished with a hand rubbed black glaze, this counter makes the island the statement center piece of this modern farmhouse kitchen.
Our Custom Wood Countertops Blog features the industry’s most talented and innovative designers throughout the United States and abroad. Today’s featured kitchen was designed by Jennifer Gilmer of Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen and Bath and includes a custom Peruvian Walnut Kitchen Island Top.
About the Designer: Jennifer Gilmer, CKD, founded Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath in Chevy Chase, MD, in 1997 and has established itself as a leader in the greater mid-Atlantic region. Jennifer has designed more than a thousand kitchens during her 30 year career. She is the author of “The Kitchen Bible,” the essential guide for homeowners undertaking kitchen renovations. She is consistently recognized as one of the foremost authorities on kitchen design and her insights on design trends are frequently quoted in print and online.
A Tip from Jennifer: The previous kitchen layout was a cramped U-shape due to a load-bearing wall at one end. The layout was revised to take out that wall, which allowed for a large island as well as continuous traffic flow throughout the kitchen. Taking down the wall required a structural column, so we incorporated it into the corner of the island. The column was clad with Peruvian Walnut to match the island’s countertop. Instead of the column becoming an eye sore in the middle of the room, it became a unique architectural detail.
The kitchen is the heart of the house, and inevitably you find family and friends gathering around the kitchen island. Here are three important elements to consider when designing the perfect kitchen island.
The first step in designing the perfect kitchen island is to decide what the main function is going to be. Some kitchen islands are designed around food preparation, storage, entertaining guests, doing homework and even charging stations for devices. Islands are often designed to be used for a variety of reasons. The functionality of your kitchen island should be designed to fit your family’s daily kitchen activities. In addition to designing around what your family needs today, you also want to plan for the possibilities and create a kitchen island that can evolve as your family evolves.
After choosing the main function of your island, you can then figure out the size of the island. The size of your island should be proportional to the size and design of your kitchen. Professionals on Houzz recommend an island to have a width of 2 to 3 feet. For length, professionals feel that 4 to 7 feet is best, depending on how much storage and how many appliances you plan to incorporate.
If your kitchen already has a lot of cabinetry space, island storage may not be a priority. Designer Steve Justrich explains, “Typically, two 24-inch base cabinets back to back will accommodate most under-island functions,” in this article by Houzz.
If the island will be used as a main food preparation area, a sink and other appliances may have to come first in priority. Should you choose entertaining as the main function of your island, then seating arrangements should be the main priority of your island.
An important factor to keep in mind is the aisle space between the kitchen island and any perimeter cabinets or appliances. According to decoist.com, experts suggest that an ideal aisle space would be 42 inches between the counters. If you have a smaller kitchen, they suggest a minimum of 36 inches.
The next step in designing your island is choosing the style. Style includes the cabinetry finish, countertop material, lighting and seating arrangements. Typically the style of the island follows suit with the style of the rest of the kitchen.
When it comes to cabinetry finish, some choose a paint or stain color that stands out against surrounding kitchen cabinets. Others choose a matching finish to bring the design together.
It’s important to choose the right countertop that best suits the island’s activity. For food preparation, a butcher block countertop is most recommended. Waterfall counters have a sleek look that works for both modern and traditional kitchens. For seating areas, a wood bar top is a warm place to cozy up to.
Lighting above your island is a way to express your personality, while adding to the overall functionality of the space. Some designers choose recessed lighting, others choose pendant lighting. Some also choose to use a combination of both. Designers often use three pendant lights above an island, depending on the light design.
Seating is another way to add to the style of the overall kitchen and island. Some designers choose backless bar stools, while others choose a chair style stool.
Our Custom Wood Countertops Blog features the industry’s most talented and innovative designers throughout the United States and abroad. This featured kitchen includes a Reclaimed Chestnut Kitchen Island Countertop designed by Phoebe Steinhoff-Smith of Coastal Cabinet Works.
About the Designer: Phoebe really enjoys working with clients to bring their ideas to life. The kitchen is the heart of the home, and her goal is always to create a space that the homeowner is excited about, so they are happy to share it with family and friends. Aesthetics are very important, but a kitchen design is only successful when it is functional. As a designer my goal is always to create a beautiful space that feels effortless.
A Tip from Phoebe: Play with symmetry. A symmetrical layout is the foundation of any good design, but try making a statement with a glass cabinet that is a different size than all the rest, use asymmetry to create focal points.
Our Custom Wood Countertops Blog features the industry’s most talented and innovative designers throughout the United States and abroad. This featured kitchen includes a Wenge Kitchen Island Top designed by Janice Teague, CKD/CBD, of Drury Design Kitchen & Bath Studio.
About the Designer: For more than fifteen years, Janice owned and operated two custom design/build home construction companies in the Dallas area. In addition to organizational duties, she helped her clients define every aspect of their home from exterior elevations and space planning to material selections. As rewarding as this scope of work was, Janice particularly enjoyed the intricacies of kitchen and bath design and earned her certifications in both areas through the NKBA.
“Asking a lot of questions and listening to my client’s needs and desires is essential to a successful remodel,” Janice believes. “Our clients are very involved in the design process; after all, it’s their home and their dream. I take great pleasure in helping them realize their vision.” Janice has received construction and design awards from Builder/Architect magazine and her work has been published in Trends, Better Homes and Gardens, and Chicago Home and Garden. Janice has helped her clients complete kitchen and bath remodeling projects in Wheaton, Naperville, Glen Ellyn, Oak Brook and Barrington.
“Our clients benefit from Drury Design’s great team of people who ensure each remodel is completed on time and on budget. I am proud to be part of that team.” Click here to read Janice’s full bio.
About Drury Design Kitchen and Bath Studio: Founded by Gail Drury, CMKBD in 1987, Drury Design’s Client Focused Design™ approach integrates design recommendations, materials selection and construction management into one seamless customer design, project management, and build experience.
Other Appliances: Microwave Drawer: Sharp, Steam Oven: Wolf, Refrigerator/Freezer: Sub-Zero, Under Counter Freezer Drawer: Sub-Zero
Additional Comments and Advice: The homeowners had two objectives concerning their new island countertop. They wanted it to complement the existing features of their 1920s home and provide the durability needed for an active family. The Grothouse Wenge wood countertop was chosen for its rich color as well as the easy-maintenance Durata finish.
Our Custom Wood Countertops Blog features the industry’s most talented and innovative designers throughout the United States and abroad. This featured transitional kitchen includes a custom Peruvian Walnut Kitchen Island Table designed by Meghan Browne of Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen and Bath.
About the Designer: Meghan has always held a passion for design and decided to pursue that when she joined Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen and Bath. Leveraging her project management background, Meghan now provides end-to-end management of a wide range of kitchen and bath designs. She enjoys working with her clients side by side to create a truly unique space for each client.
A Tip from Meghan: A custom Grothouse top immediately adds warmth to a space – in color, tone and texture.
Our Custom Wood Countertops Blog features the industry’s most talented and innovative designers throughout the United States and abroad. This featured kitchen includes custom wood Walnut Kitchen Island Ends designed by Eva Andersen of Teakwood Builders.
About the Designer: Eva Andersen’s passion for cooking and entertaining led her into designing kitchens. She has been in the kitchen and bath design business since 2002, working first in Boston and later in Saratoga Springs, New York. She is now the designer for Teakwood Builders, leading their kitchen and bath designs, as well as space planning, finish selections and furniture.
A Tip from Eva: In order to keep the guests entertained but away from the work zone, an impressive thirteen foot kitchen island was also added, seating up to seven people and housing the farm sink, creating a spacious entertaining area for the clients.
Cabinet Manufacturer: Signature Custom Cabinetry
Cabinet Hardware: Top Knobs Chareau in Brushed Satin Nickel