kitchen island design

Kitchen Island DOs and DON’Ts

I can’t imagine designing a kitchen without an island!

The kitchen island serves multiple purposes, providing space for prep, dining, and conversation. With the right setup, your island helps create a flow that makes your time in the kitchen more efficient and enjoyable. 

But I’ve also seen some islands take away from the kitchen’s functionality, creating a space that feels cramped. So what do you need to consider when designing your island? Keep reading for the dos and don’ts of the kitchen island!

DO: Think About Function

One of the most important things to consider is the primary function of your kitchen island. Is it a gathering spot? A place for preparation? Cook center? Extra storage? Your island may indeed combine all of these things, but you’ll want to decide what is most important and design around that element. You may realize you don’t have enough space for everything on the island, and will need to put part of the design somewhere else in the kitchen. 

DON’T: Go Too Big

The kitchen is a room of movement, and creating the right workflow is essential. If an island is too big, it will disrupt this flow, creating an obstacle between you and other areas in the kitchen. In addition, if it is too wide, you’ll have a difficult time reading the middle of the island. Base the size and placement of the island off the size of the kitchen.

DO: Add Storage

Let’s face it: we could all use more storage in the kitchen! And an island is the perfect place to sneak in more cabinets and drawers. Cabinet design has become so functional for the kitchen, allowing you to opt for pull-out shelves, sectioned drawers, and even spice racks!

DON’T: Skimp on Seating

Most islands come with a place for you and your loved ones to sit. This creates a more casual place to dine, a space for paperwork, or a spot for conversation. Ask these questions if seating is essential for your island:

  • What height do I want the counter and chairs to be?
  • What type of seating do I want? 
  • How many seats should fit?
  • What is the width of the eating space?

DO: Plan for Electric

If you plan to do any type of food prep or cooking (or even charging your phone), electrical outlets are essential. Plan for a minimum of one electrical outlet at each end of the island, so you’re never left looking for an outlet!

DON’T: Forget about Appliances

You can include a wide range of appliances right into your island. If you want your main sink on the island, it makes sense to put the dishwasher next to it. You can also choose to put the oven range and stovetop if you want your island to be a cooking center. Some fun appliances you can add include a wine cooler, warming drawer, or microwave.

DO: Have fun with Design!

While you want the island to fit with the rest of your kitchen, you can afford to take a little risk with the design. Opt for a bold color at the base of the island, or add a dining table to the back of the island. And, of course, add some unique lighting!

This week, you get the chance to vote on the island at the Residences at 66 High Street. Go to the Social Redesign Facebook or Instagram to cast your vote today!

cooktop pros and cons

Let’s Get Cooking! Pros and Cons of 3 Cooktops

With Thanksgiving this week, we are fully in the holiday season!

This year, some are spending time with their closest loved ones, others are getting takeout, and others are cooking their very first holiday meal at home. 

Whatever your style, good food and time with family is hard to beat. For those who are thinking about upping their cooking situation, take a look at the pros and cons of three different types of cooktops below!

Induction Cooktops

Induction cooktops use electromagnetism to produce heat and cook food. When magnetically reactive cookware (cookware made with iron) is used, a magnetic field induces electrical currents inside the pan, turning the cookware into the heater.

Pros of Induction Cooktops

  • Precise heat. Magnet technology heats the cookware rather than the air surrounding it. This means that 90% of the heat produced goes into the cookware, compared to 40-55% with gas and 65-75% with electric. With more of the heat going directly to the food, this speeds up cooking time and keeps the kitchen cooler.
  • Safety. If there is not a pan containing iron on the cooking zone, no heat will be produced, making it safe to touch. Flames and fumes are both nonexistent with induction cooktops. 
  • Easy to clean. The cooktop is a flat surface that is cool to the touch when cookware is removed. Cleanup is fast and easy without having to wait very long for the cooktop to cool down. 

Cons of Induction Cooktops

  • Cost. Induction cooktops are generally the most expensive of the three, making this choice the most costly to install. 
  • Limited choice in cookware. With heat produced by magnetic induction, certain cookware must be used to function properly. Cooking vessels must be made of or contain iron. 

Gas Cooktops

Gas cooktops use natural gas or propane gas. Each burner works by creating an open flame to cook with. As you turn the cooktop knob, you increase or decrease the size of the flame.

Pros of Gas Cooktops

  • Precise control. With the flame from the burner creating instant heat and temperature change, gas cooktops are both precise and efficient. In addition, the size of the flame produces a visual cue for the temperature setting. 
  • Versatile. A controllable open flame and the ability to use any type of cookware means chefs can use a variety of cooking techniques, including browning tortillas and using a traditional wok. 
  • No electricity needed. In the event of an electrical outage, gas cooktops still work.

Cons of Gas Cooktops

  • Hard to clean. Grooves and crevices around burners and burner grates make gas cooktops more difficult to clean than cooktops with a flat surface. 
  • Inefficient heat transference. With only 40-55% of heat from the flames going to the food being cooked, gas cooktops increase the temperature in the kitchen. 

Electric Cooktops

Electric burners consist of coils of electrical wires enclosed in metal. Electricity runs through the wires to heat up the metal coils. Increase the temperature by increasing the amount of electricity running through the wires.

Pros of Electric Cooktops

  • Flat burners. Flat burners allow the heat produced to come in direct contact with the bottom of the cookware. With up to 75% of the heat going directly to the pan, the kitchen remains cooler.
  • Easy to clean. Smooth electric cooktops are especially easy to clean once they have cooled down. 
  • Cost. Electric cooktops are usually the least expensive option.

Cons of Electric Cooktops

  • Poor temperature control. Temperature changes happen more slowly than with gas or induction cooktops. This makes switching from boiling to a simmer more difficult. 
  • Retains heat after cooking. The electric coils retain heat even after burners have been shut off. Cooktops remain hot to the touch and require a cool down period after cooking.

What’s your cooktop of choice? Let me know in the comments!