Woods and Islands in the Kitchen
Walking and work surfaces get a lot of attention in the
kitchen. Floors take a beating--you need something tough and
attractive. And it's hard to create enough counter and storage
space for eating and food preparation. Here are two approaches:
a wood floor and a kitchen island, as recently espoused in Better
Homes and Gardens Magazine.
If linoleum or tile flooring are boring, don't forget that wood
remains a classic alternative. Just remember to invest in the
right type to both suit your taste and withstand the punishment
from spills, traffic and dirt. At about $11 per square foot,
you'll want that investment to pay off. Follow the
manufacturer's cleaning guidelines and wipe up spills immediately
to prevent stains.
Although just about any finish is suitable, the toughest
is water-based, factory-applied acrylic. The clear acrylic
finish touches up easier and lasts longer than oil. Satin finish
hides dirt better than high gloss.
The most durable are hardwood species such as oak, maple,
and cherry. If the grain stands out, the dirt will stand out
Try to choose a color that complements your cabinetry
rather than a monochromatic look. In other words, go for light
cabinets and dark floor, or vice versa. Don't be fooled by
lighting in the showroom--color may look lighter or darker
under your kitchen's lighting.
Edges. Get the flooring strips with square edges instead of
beveled edges. Square provides impenetrable seams to prevent
Things go a lot easier when you're not cramped by traditional
counter space. Today's island provides a perfect, practical
solution for your food preparation, eating and storage needs.
Your design can be versatile. For example, your island doesn't
have to contain a cooktop if your need for an additional sink or
food prep space is greater. Just remember to make the sink deep
enough and the faucet high enough to wash and fill large pots.
You may want to install a disposal, too.
If a cooktop is needed, install a downdraft vent inside the
island or a hooded vent overhead. Be sure to leave at least 12-
inch-wide runs around each side of the cooktop.
Don't have a breakfast nook? By extending the countertop and
recessing the cabinet, you create a tabletop and knee space for
seating. Just be sure to leave at least 12 inches of countertop
area between the chairs and cooktop.
The cabinet is an excellent storage space for drawers or shelves
containing cookbooks or appliances. Locating electrical outlets
on the sides of the island instead of on top reduces electrical
hazards. To reduce nasty kid collisions with the edges, use
Surfacing is one key question where price, durability and
appearance all enter into the decision. But if you're going for
more expensive solid surfacing, the island may be the place to
show it off--butcher block for food preparation or granite for
baking, for example.