The Perfect Island For Every Size, Shape And Style Of Kitchen Imaginable

Posted on | May 14, 2015 | No Comments

The kitchen island is a wonderfully valuable and versatile piece of real estate. It anchors the kitchen, while adding beauty, detail, and much-needed functionality. It’s a warm little gathering place, where people bake cookies, chat, or enjoy breakfast together. And it’s endlessly customizable to a homeowner’s needs. Cabinet Studio in Winston-Salem specializes in crafting custom kitchens that perfectly reflect the lifestyle of homeowners, and their designers Michael Dugas and Melissa Jessup have created every kind of island, for every kind of homeowner. North Carolina Design talked to Michael and Melissa to get their take on this must-have kitchen amenity.

Images Courtesy of Cabinet Studio ©

“People love islands and want to add one into their kitchen one way or another,” says Michael. “It makes sense, because they’re so versatile. They serve as extra prep space, or counter space, or dining space. Even if people don’t sit at an island, they can gather around it and converse.”

Kitchen size plays a role in determining an island’s function. “In a larger U-shape or wraparound kitchen, your island might have space for a prep sink, a prep area and an overhang,” notes Melissa. “In a smaller space you are more limited. Your island might just be a gathering space, or some extra counter space.”

While available space may be a limiting factor, Melissa and Michael tell us there is no real rule of thumb or consistent trend when it comes to islands. “It really is about what the client needs and wants to see in the space,” Michael asserts.

An island’s counter height is determined by both aesthetics and function. “Some clients want to raise part of the island to block views into kitchen, and some want it all the same level to preserve continuity,” explains Michael. Melissa adds “It also has to do with comfortable seating. If you have little kids you might want consistent countertop heights, but if you have older teenagers older you might want a raised bar.”

When it comes to island countertop materials, preferences depend largely on how comfortable a homeowner is with a given surface. “Quartz and granite countertops are very popular, as they’re durable and stain resistant,” Michael notes. “However, I had a client who begged me for marble. She understood that it’s porous and it stains, but she didn’t care.” Melissa adds “Some people forgo stone altogether and go with a butcher block top. It’s a repairable surface – you can have someone refinish it for you. It also stays warmer to the touch.”

Islands offer added storage – what homeowners do with it is up to them. “We see a lot of requests for bookcases,” says Michael. “We also see a lot of secondary trash bins, which are handy for entertaining.” Clients also differ on whether to show or not to show. “One client might want open storage because they have an attractive collection of cookbooks,” Melissa notes. “Another might believe open shelving is a dust collector, and prefer drawers or cabinets with doors.”

Michael and Melissa enjoy going where the clients lead them. “Homeowners tend to come in knowing what they want, and we use our expertise to make it happen for them,” says Michael. “It’s very satisfying.” Melissa adds “Every client is an individual, so every project is exciting and different. There’s no real trend – it’s all custom. That’s what makes this job wonderful.”

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