Cook’s Tour: Kitchen Archipelago

Kitchen Table or Kitchen Island?

Before the kitchen island, geologically speaking, came the kitchen table. It’s still a viable option for many homes and is often part of a “country kitchen.”  As we saw in a previous post, Julia Child’s 14- by 20-foot kitchen was organized around one that doubled as a work surface. Table choices are many, from an Aaltoesque contemporary birch veneer table

76699_PE197112_S3 smaller image IKEA table

like the Vika Grevska/Vika Oleby on Polyvore, to a stainless steel restaurant work table

advance-sag240-pic flat top worktable from Worktable world

from Worktable World, to an art and science classroom table


with adjustable legs (to vary the height as needed) from Wayfair Supply, to a wheeled stainless steel Quovis table

f_1181 DWR metal roll table

from Design Within Reach, to a small chopping block

CHY-CUCLA cherry cucina laforza

table like the Cherry Cucina Laforza (party of one!) from John Boos & Co. Circular tables tend to require a little more room. You can also create your own table from prefabricated legs and tops available from companies like and IKEA.

Island Time

What if you prefer island living? That is, a table that’s built-in. The classic layout of Plan 23-587,


uses the island for food preparation, informal eating,


and storage — with room for cookbooks. (Note that the orientation of the island has been changed in the built example.) In Plan431-1 (below)


architect Greg La Vardera uses a smaller food prep island and a round table.

431-1p2-3136 kitchen view

In both cases the island separates the work area from the more formal dining space; guests or family members can sit at the table or the far side of the island and chat with the cook without getting in the way. In Plan 469-1, the island is two-tiered


to make the separation between work and sitting area more emphatic; the shaded L-shaped tier, which is raised several inches above the work surface, functions as the breakfast bar and hides kitchen clutter from the more formal dining area.

But really, the design possibilities are endless,

from trendir

as this collage from Trendir shows. So, what island is calling you?

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