When speaking with homeowners about a kitchen remodel, an island is high on their wish list for their new space. Aside from added storage and counter space, an island can contribute to the function of a kitchen in many other ways. It can be a space to have a quick bite to eat, for a someone to sit while you prepare for a gathering, to direct people to other areas of your home (and away from the cooking area), and to simply stage food for your party. Aesthetically, it can conceal your cooking or prep areas from the dinner table or family room as well as add accent materials and colors for your cabinets and counter top. However, the size of your kitchen will determine if an island will fit, what shape it can be, and how it can function. At a minimum, an island will need 36" of walkway between it and another cabinet, an appliance, or a wall, but for a comfortable cooking and entertaining experience, a little more space should be considered, especially if more than one person will be cooking the same time. A properly trained kitchen designer will be able to help you determine the best spacing for you. At Design Build Planners, we group islands into 2 main categories: 1-Tier and 2-Tier. 1-Tier islands have one consistent counter height (generally 36"). 2-Tier islands, as you would expect, have counter tops set at 2 different heights, with the main area being 36", and an accent or seating area at 42" (bar height). In some instances, where a table is to be integrated, or a wheelchair accessible area is designated, the secondary areas will be lower than 36" Below are a few different types of island shapes, their uses, and characteristics. In design, there are many variations of these general shapes, and are customized to your kitchen. With enough space, the possibilities are endless 1. Straight, 1-Tier Island. This type of island is narrow, and mostly used in a narrower space and provides more function than design. These islands provide storage, landing area for food preparation and staging, and direct traffic away from the main cooking area. To enhance to look of this simple island, you can add corbels to the ends and shape the counter top around them. 2. Straight, 1-Tier with Seating. In addition to the depth of the cabinets (24"), this island will need an additional 15"-18" of space for the seating. Also, the size of the chair, when it is pushed in and occupied, needs to be considered when adding this to your kitchen. These islands can take the place of a kitchen table, allowing for greater design possibilities. Support for the seating overhang must be considered. In this island, the use of table legs added support and definition. Corbels can be used us provide support as well. Refer to a professional counter top fabricator for support requirements. 3. Straight, 2-Tier with Seating. This Island is split into two heights - 36" for preparing food, and 42" for eating or just "hanging out." Seating for this height requires less depth than counter height, but is suited more a snack than a full meal. 2-Tier islands can also be used to conceal prep areas from seating areas, or protection from the flames of an island cook top. Support for the raised portion can come from corbels, or, as in this project, the return walls provide the support. Lastly, the raised area creates a back splash that can have outlets for many of your small appliances and gadgets!