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  • Neyir Urminsky

Are Kitchen Islands Still in Style?

Our family of 7, with 4 boys ages 7-15, is a prime candidate for kitchen islands, but as we were planning we kept wondering, are kitchen islands even still in style? Not only that but is a traditional kitchen island even what we want?

I am loving participating yet again in the One Room Challenge, the ORC is a wonderful event in which anyone can participate! The challenge of the ORC lies in completing a space within 8 weeks and we are halfway through! Be sure to click on the link and learn about all the wonderful projects and participants!! If you want to catch up on this year's project my first post is all about the overall plan and mood board, they second about Freestanding Kitchens, and third about getting started planning an IKEA Kitchen. In previous years I have completed A DIY Limestone Patio, A Colour Saturated Vestibule, and a Bedroom for Busy Boys.

Ah the kitchen island, should you, shouldn’t you, how do you even know what to do? Well the first question is really, as always, why? Why do you even want one? Is it because everyone says that you have to have one? Is it because you have saved sooo many inspo shots of kitchens with islands? Is it because you legitimately need or even want the storage space and vast countertops islands provide??? While I love the flow and additional work space presented by a kitchen island they actually make me kind of nervous. It's a big commitment really, once you add one you are sort of married to them, particularly if plumbing or electrical is involved. No matter what material you choose for the top it is going to be expensive, most prefabricated countertop material is made in 24/25” depths. While in a different house with a different kitchen configuration and with a different budget I might embrace a kitchen island, I didn’t want one in this house. This is, afterall, a refresh and not a full renovation and an island would have used the entire budget for the kitchen between the cabinets and countertop. Not to mention we don’t really have enough space for a large island and I didn’t love the idea of the look of something solid in the middle of the kitchen no matter the size.

Instead, let me introduce the original kitchen island, the GOAT as it were, the Kitchen Table. Before the 1920’s, when kitchens were composed of individual pieces of furniture, what was generally found in the midst of it all was a work table. In many families this would have been the only table and therefore multifunctional. Looking at what our family needed we knew any central surface would have to serve many uses; it needed to be a prep/work space but also somewhere that family members could grab a quick breakfast on weekday mornings. With 4 boys it would likely be sat on (already happened), leaned on (heavily) and frankly I wouldn’t be surprised to find boys standing on it. It didn’t have to be huge because we have happily stopped eating our family meals in the kitchen and for breakfast we rarely have more than 2 or 3 people eating at a time in the mornings. Furthermore a table would allow us to use lockable castors so that when needed the table could be shifted - the ideal solution!

Periwinkle blue office, antique brown ornate table, computer, large plant
The solution, my desk, a table likely made from an antique square grande piano.

Once I realized that a table was the way to go I started thinking about what type of table would work and realized fairly quickly that the table I was using as a desk was actually the perfect size and style!

I had been watching FBMP for a marble top for my desk for a few years with no luck. I began to think that I’d either need to use 2 pieces of marble, joined in the middle or simply buy a piece of glass. I was thinking that I could paint the back of the glass, maybe back it with patterned fabric…. Well, fast forward to my 2023 constant and earnest search on FBMP for marble to use in the kitchen, and was amazed one day when this popped up for $220 Canadian! Looking at it I was fairly certain it was quartz and not marble, it had been designed as a garden table, but quartz was even better. I offered $200 and off we went to pick it up. I was elated, but once we arrived I realised my horrible mistake. I had assumed that the top was not attached to the base. I knew the top would be very, very heavy and assumed that it was simply resting on the wrought island base. It. Was. Not! The 3 of us (15 year old athletes are strong!) along with the seller got it into the van and then the 3 of us wrestled it onto the end of the driveway where it lived for about a week.

I was sure that there must be some way to separate the top from the base, I did some research and discovered that there was next to no info on how to remove backings from marble but that acetone would remove glue from marble without damage. Armed with a bottle of nail polish removed and my trusty drywall taping knife I managed to safely remove the quartz from the base and nearly skipped bringing it inside. Ok not really, it is still super heavy even without the base!

The ‘island’ is working exactly as we had hoped and has already served as an ideal surface for weekly homemade pizza making. Our smallest bench slides right underneath and the table is used for breakfast in onesies and twosies. It is an absolute dream for meal prep even with multiple people! The misty carrera caesar stone is an amazing surface and ideal for our busy family. While it isn’t a naturally occurring material, like the marble counters beside the stove, it will last for a long, long time which is so much more eco-friendly than laminate. I don’t know how long the table was outside before we bought it but the caesar stone looks virtually brand new!

I can’t wait until next Christmas when we do our annual cookie decorating!

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