The evolving design of a multifunctional kitchen island
Visual Anchor The island had to fit the renovation’s Asian contemporary style. “You can see [the island] from anywhere in the house, so it had to be beautiful and fitting,” remodeler Debra Moore explains. The stark concrete used for the monolith and work countertop contrasts with the warmth of the Japanese ash veneer panels on the base. The river rock bar top set in a steel pan adds texture.
Winning Design The final design incorporates the curved bar top, which adds movement to the island, as well as the monolith as a vertical element. The 40-inch-high bar top accommodates seats, while the monolith is 44 inches high. These components hide the work surface from the living areas. The left side’s toe-kick was modified during construction so the panels now extend to the floor to hide steel anchors.
Simple Base Option Though the three veneer panels create interesting shadow lines and the toe-kick helps create the “floating” look the design team wanted, it didn’t quite offer what remodeler Debra Moore describes as the “crashing together of geometric forms in different materials,” that they wanted to achieve. However, the curved bar top from this sketch was used in the final design.
Rectangular Top Option The team liked the idea of using a strong vertical element to break up the length of the island and make it feel less like a “runway,” Moore says. The clean horizontal plane of the wood countertop in this design created a pleasing balance with the vertical element. “It’s a lot simpler and a less expensive detail, and it would have been beautiful,” Moore says, but the team still wanted multiple height tops.