What’s your Toronto custom home without a kitchen just the way you like it?
And what’s your custom kitchen without a custom kitchen island?
Every custom kitchen deserves a custom island – the kind your family and friends will gather around for years to come.
You know you want something special, but you’re not sure exactly what just yet...
The main function of a kitchen island is to increase the counter space in your kitchen (and often the storage). But there’s so much more that a kitchen island can be and do.
Want a place to set your children up with their homework while you’re making dinner?
Want a cozy perch to do some work at while you’re waiting for those cookies in the oven?
Need a spot to put the buffet dinner for the crew that’s over watching hockey playoffs?
Want a place to display hors d'oeuvres at your next holiday party?
A kitchen island can be the answer.
During a custom design and build, the challenge to you is knowing what you want in a kitchen island, and what you need in one. After all, you should choose an island that is tailored to your purposes, or you’re not really achieving your Toronto custom home.
The kitchen is the hub of the modern home. And that island you display at its center will act like a magnet, attracting people and things to it. Affecting your kitchen’s floor plan, flow, functionality, and character, the island is a feature to get right.
Affecting your kitchen’s floor plan, flow, functionality, and character, the island is a feature to get right.
It’s the most common kitchen island shape. We’ve all seen it, and we all know it works. There’s nothing wrong with something tried-and-true.
If you’re looking for something to break up all the sharp lines in your kitchen, try something that has the semicircle shape. The straight edge is where you do the kitchen work, and the rounded edge is where you place some seating.
The more space you’ve got, and the more rounded you get, the more this could feel like a place for family dining. Because in a rounded shape you’ll be able to see the other people you’re dining with, as it moves away from the straight-on bartop feel.
If you’re looking for an island that will help define your space, think on an L-shape.
Placed just right, an L-shaped island can act as a natural division between the kitchen work area and the kitchen dining area. It’s probably used for a bit of both – some meal prep, and some socializing – so it’s truly a liminal space.
Especially if you have a very large and expansive kitchen, this can be a useful and tasteful way to create cozier kitchen spaces in your Toronto custom home without losing too much of the desirable breathability of an open floor concept.
If you’d like an island with dedicated workspace, plus a seating area with seating on two sides, go for a T-shaped island.
Worried about how heavy and overbearing a T-shaped island might feel? Consider opening up the base of the T (except for the necessary support) like it’s a table with legs. You’ll still have storage below in the top of the T-shape, and you’ll be amazed at how much lighter the T-shaped island will feel with the air and light passing through underneath the countertop. Your dog might just find a new place to slumber.
Your dog might just find a new place to slumber.
A freestanding island is not attached to the ground or other cabinetry. It’s usually a high table or kitchen cart that you purchase at a retailer and bring into your space.
It’s a great opportunity to save money since there are so many places that offer them and at many different price points.
It’s also an opportunity to choose a true accent piece for your Toronto custom home kitchen. You might be uneasy installing teal-colored cabinetry, and only feel comfortable choosing something that bold if it’s affordable and easily replaceable in the event you get sick of it. This is your chance to really have fun. Pick something wild. Pick something you. And change it out as you grow and change. Really, what could be more custom?
This is your chance to really have fun. Pick something wild. Pick something you. And change it out as you grow and change. Really, what could be more custom?
If you’ve got a smaller space, a simple kitchen cart isn’t overwhelming, and can still help get the job done.
Cabinetry and/or shelves in the base of the island can be a place to store pots, pans, bowls, colanders, cookbooks, and more.
Open shelves and cabinets with glass doors can become display spaces. Got some family heirlooms to show off? Want to add some decorative pops of color and texture?
Kitchenwares that we use every day can become part of the decorative character in the space. Arranging some of your kitchenwares for all to see can help a home looked lived in, and kitchen looked cooked in. But this only works well for the more organized among us. Everything has a place, and everything in its place wins the day here.
Drink a lot of wine? Go for a built-in wine rack, and show off all those fancy bottles instead of letting them collect dust in your basement.
If you’re a serious chef (or aspiring to become one) consider decking out your island with a secondary sink and a cooktop or range.
If you’ve got the room, go for an extra large island, too, so that you’ve still got the uninterrupted space for intricate meal preparation and entertaining. A talent like yours will surely attract many foodie friends. Why not have them gawking at your custom design, while they’re savoring your latest mouth-watering creation?
A talent like yours will surely attract many foodie friends. Why not have them gawking at your custom design, while they’re savoring your latest mouth-watering creation?
Figure you’ll use your kitchen island for clean up after all those parties? Maybe a built-in dishwasher and larger secondary sink for dishwashing would make good sense. When a friend wants to help clean as thanks for the homemade meal of a lifetime, you’ll have a ready place to set them up.
Drink a lot of wine? Add a wine cooler next to that custom wine rack.
While you’re at it, you chef, you, just make the whole countertop a butcher block.
The wood tones will bring warmth to your space, and you’ll be able to get to chopping that much faster, and with that much more space. Chop veggies, one after another, leaving them behind in piles on the workspace until the recipe calls for them. Swiftly wipe the excess into your secondary sink.
Stop washing and storing all those cutting boards.
It requires some care, though, so a butcher block countertop isn’t for the busiest or laziest among us.
Want a breakfast bar? Some overflow seating? Something to replace your traditional kitchen table entirely? Your custom island can help.
If you want stools or high-top chairs, that’ll take room. Consider the counter overhang you’ll need to give your legs a place to tuck in while you’re sitting at the island, and to store the seating when it isn’t being used.
Remember to measure how much space you need when the chairs are occupied. If someone is sitting at the island (leaning back after a satisfying meal, even) is there still enough room for someone else to pass through? Say, with a dessert tray, or two!
Know how many place settings your island can properly fit, too. Overcrowding the kitchen with more seating than it can take isn’t good for anyone.
Sometimes the best way to achieve a custom kitchen island that is good for prepping, cooking, dining, and entertaining is to come up with a two-tiered design. Keep the kitchen work on one tier, and the kitchen socializing on another.
Can you see it? Your friends are over, and they’re enjoying some cheese and crackers perched around the dining level of your island, while you’re tending to the last bits of meal prep on the other tier. You’re able to host as chef and entertainer all at the same time, and in a comfortable and natural way.
Above all, make sure you choose an island you’ve got room for and place it carefully. You’ll be maneuvering around it every day, and you’ll want sensible flow. Notice what you don’t like about your current kitchen layout, and see if you can choreograph the kitchen dance you wish you could do. Then design and build for that…
…with help from an expert Toronto custom home designer and builder.
Not sure if you should build or buy? We can help you decide.
How do we know all this?
If you’ve been dreaming of your perfect home – the one that’s custom designed and built just for you and yours – and you’re looking for a custom home builder, look no further than Structure Design Build.
We’ll even share the questions you should ask your custom builder. Because we want you to put us to our own test.