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Client Progress & Free Standing Islands

Creating an unfitted, "furniture look" is hot in kitchen design right now.  Clients are wanting to add interest to their spaces by having things look less matched, which I think is a good thing when done properly.  I'm not a big fan of highly contrasting cabinetry within the same space, and find that things can look contrived when perimeter cabinets and islands are completely different from one another.  I think that there has to be a unifying element, whether it be the countertop material, cabinetry color, or other detail.  Once you've established that element, then you can play around with other unique added details.

While there is a lot of contrast going on in this space, I think the uniqueness of the island is appropriate and well-appointed.  The cabinetry and countertop match that of the perimeter bases, and add a much-needed dark element to balance with the depth of the backsplash.  The horizontal slatted look is the stand-out feature, but since the unifying elements were properly established and repeated, the look is intentional and well-designed.

I'm working on a project right now with some great and highly stylish clients.  They started their kitchen renovation and the homeowner built his own cabinetry (and did an amazing job, I might add) along one perimeter wall.  It looks fabulous, but they came to me a few months ago seeking help in designing the rest of their space.  They were stumped at how to effectively space plan, and needed another pair of eyes to guide them through the rest of the renovation.  We came up with a plan that actually eliminated two walls, and allowed for a functional working island--something that would not have been possible had we not opened up the space.  Even though the space was opened up though, the homeowners wanted to keep an airy feeling, giving the island a furniture-feel even though it would be a stationary piece.  After several versions and revisions, this is what we came up with, and it was installed last week:

The countertops (which will match the perimeter tops) have yet to go in, but I LOVE how this is looking so far.  The horizontal panel look, as well as the color (Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray) are unique to this piece, but the walnut base and the cabinet door style tie in with other elements in the kitchen.  Here's a look at the other side:

The exposed walnut roll outs are repeated on the perimeter, and add richness and an organic element.  I'll be sure to post more photos as the project progresses, but thought it was worthy of a sneak peek!

So with the free standing look being so popular right now, I thought I'd do a quick roundup of some of the prefab options that are available out there.  Its always nice to be able to design something from scratch that is specific and unique to the space, but I was surprised at how many affordable and stylish options that are out there.  Additionally, with most of these pieces it would be easy to identify a unifying element, and integrate them with your existing space at a fraction of the cost of custom cabinetry.

From Williams Sonoma, this one speaks to the weathered/reclaimed look that is so popular right now.  It has a dark stone top though, which is a classic finish that could be repeated elsewhere.  I think it would look great with white cabinetry in a space that also has a chalkboard wall in a prominent place.  Plus, this piece would get better with a little wear and tear--family friendly!

Also from Williams Sonoma, this piece is classic and unfussy.  Sure to blend with all of the white marble kitchens that are going on right now.

Love this clean, utilitarian look that echos the stainless appliances.  Perfect in the space.  You can get the look here:

Or a less expensive version here:

This one from Crate & Barrel is one of my favorites, and I would have loved if it worked in my kitchen.  The dimensions were too large, but what I like is how delicate and simple this piece is.  It has style and substance, but doesn't take up a ton of visual space.

This is actually a 31" high console table, but with the addition of a few inches of countertop material, it could be easily modified to bring it up to a 36" island height.  I love the industrial nature of the piece, and think it could take some abuse in a kitchen and still look good with a few years of wear.  Find it here.

Ballard Designs has a nice version that looks more like a built in piece.  Simple with a nice combination of drawers and open storage.  I bet you could easily swap out the butcher block countertop for a piece of stone.

Same with this one.  Its inexpensive, and has durable stainless shelves.  I ended up getting this for my own kitchen, and replacing the top with a marble remnant, which ties in with my backsplash.  I extended the overhangs on each end to give myself additional surface area:

Check back for more progress on that client project I was talking about, and hopefully I've given you some ideas on adding that furniture look to your existing space!


Holly Gruszka said...

Kristen, I'm losing it over here with your client project. That cabinetry is beautiful. The walnut roll outs are so nice and the Chelsea Grey is perfect - not to mention the horizontal panel detail. I really really love it. For me it's the perfect mix of natural wood and color. I love the look of natural wood but I wouldn't want my entire kitchen filled with it - this is the perfect compromise. What type of counters are in their kitchen? Is it marble or Corian? I can't wait to see more of this project. Are you on Pinterest? And thanks for your round-up of big box islands - I've always thought about adding one to our kitchen but at this point I think we'll just hold off until we make our next move. Have a great night!

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