From Facebook: Kitchen Islands — Yay or Nay?

islands

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We all have our own list of things that are on trend, but maybe don’t excite us. Shiplap. Inspirational phrases on walls. Soaking tubs. But when one writer said she hated her kitchen island, we decided to ask our readers if they harbored similar disgruntlement against the fairly ubiquitous feature.

Realtor.com writer Cathie Ericson said:

“Kitchen islands are so popular, in fact, that most homeowners fall into one of two camps: those who have a kitchen island, and those who wistfully wish they did.

I fall into the former. But after years of hosting countless dinner parties with guests gathered round, perched on barstools, pouring out their hearts over glasses of merlot, I have a confession to make.

I hate my kitchen island.”

She lists several reasons — guests linger at the island instead of mingling throughout other parts of her home, the island is a magnet for clutter, it brings people to the food before you’re done preparing it, and that it invites people barstool quarterback your cooking technique.

All of these things, however, don’t sound much to me like it’s the island’s fault. Why not set out appetizers and drinks in another part of the house, or provide some kind of activity that is nowhere near your kitchen. Or, you know, just simply say, “I’m sorry, the food’s not quite ready yet, but feel welcome to have Joe mix you a drink over at the bar cart?”

We took to Facebook and Instagram to ask our readers what they thought.

 

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For our Friday Question, we’re talking islands – kitchen, specifically – after seeing this story last week. “But after years of hosting countless dinner parties with guests gathered round, perched on barstools, pouring out their hearts over glasses of merlot, I have a confession to make. I hate my kitchen island. Passionately.” How do you feel about the nearly ubiquitous kitchen island? #DallasRealEstate #candysdirt #DallasRealEstateNews #TexasRealEstate #TexasRealEstateNews #dallasrealtor #dfwrealtor #dallastx #northtexas #instadfw #designinspo #dreamhouse #houseforsale #homestyle #homedesign #houseporn #interiordecorating #realestate #realestatephotography #curbappeal #luxuryhome #luxuryrealestate #beautifulhomes #decorhome #FridayQuestion

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And our readers fell firmly into three camps: Team Island, Team Go Away and Leave Me Alone to Cook, and Team I Think the Author Could Manage Her Parties Better and Love Her Island Again.

Team Island was ready to tell us how super wrong Ericson was.

Evan Harris: “I have to respectfully disagree.”

Kit Elliott: “I love a good island… if there’s a problem, your island is too small or too close or both!”

Elaine Harper: “I love love love the new islands that are incorporated into the heart of the kitchen but lends its way into the dining/breakfast/living areas. Perfect for entertaining. Perfect for simple meals. Perfect for projects and wrapping presents.”

Robin Mitchell: “The author sounds like she is a miserable person. I would LOVE an island and tons of friends gathered around.”

Susan Gregson: “We made our island bigger this year because we want it to be “the aorta” of the kitchen. Couldn’t disagree with this article more. I love friends and family gathering around it, drinking wine, eating and offering to help me!”

Tracy Rathbun: “I love our island. And we love to talk while we cook.”

Bj Ries: “I don’t have one and would LOVE to have one for all of her reasons not to!”

Ryan Jacobson: “Silly article and sounds like the author needs new friends. Islands are where parents interact with their children the most and where friends have the best conversations.”

Cherry Goggin: “These are all of the reasons to HAVE an island. The only point that I even slightly agree with is the daily clutter, mail, etc. I have a very large island and 5 children so, of course, it has seen its fair share of clutter. But over the years, the clutter has diminished increasingly as the kids age out of the house. Now I have no clutter, a house that is always clean and these things only serve as reminders that my nest is nearly empty. It’s called family. Lighten up and enjoy it while it lasts. I will say that no one has ever sat a bag on my island (except for me) because I have a bench literally a half-step away to catch those.”

Cliff Stephens: “Maybe it was really the Merlot. Vile stuff.”

Maria Barrera: “I helped a friend hand out drinks for a party she was short on help. The kitchen had a beautiful large island not even being used — guess who moved the party from the patio to the kitchen island?”

But Team No Island was also pretty adamant.

Randy Guthmiller: “I don’t think any of these people read the article. The author makes extremely valid points. I particularly appreciate number six. If I want help I will ask. Great article!”

Tom Morrow: “Amen sister! Annoying that so many of us are forced to entertain in the kitchen. Kitchens should be for caterers and cooks only.”

Rachael Tex Carter: “I totally love the privacy of my kitchen and the functional space of my dining and living spaces. My home has (what I thought was a “dreaded”) galley kitchen that I cannot do much with due to the walls being load bearing. But,  I’ve found I love the privacy of it. I can cook and make a mess and serve food to guests and sit around my dining room table and talk. I can leave the dishes to be done without feeling like guests are looking over at the pots and pans. The kitchen is like my little secret place and my dining and living rooms are for my guests. I love it.”

Yet another group pointed out that the author’s issues with her island weren’t structural — they were behavioral.

Jay Tisdale: “I don’t know, these are all things extremely manageable by any respectful and accommodating host.”

Chelssya Han: “I don’t think this author actually hates islands. They’re just a scapegoat for her lack of self-control and impolite guests.”

Linda Rains: “All of these things can and do happen in non-island kitchens. The writer should likely just reconsider throwing dinner parties. She doesn’t seem to like guests.”

Heather Hunter: “Linda Rains – best point yet. This is what happens in kitchens, period, when you fail to set boundaries.”

“While the author is well-intentioned, her actual problem is not her island, it’s her guests,” Kristin Middleton Haun pointed out. “She needs to set boundaries with them in regard to them watching her cook.”

“Personal experience has taught me that clutter will gather where there’s space, whether it’s on an island, a peninsula, or anywhere there’s room in a galley kitchen,” she added. “The problem with most modern kitchen islands is that they have become the fourth wall of the living room. So many of the problems the author mentioned could also be fixed by putting a wall up (while maintaining good flow), and insisting that the kitchen and living areas remain separate spaces, as they should be.”

Over on Instagram, leave it to architects to see the complaints about kitchen islands as inspiration for improvement and change. “The island is useful, for sure,” A Gruppo Architects commented. “I think it needs a new approach though. I’m not sure what that is at the moment, but we’re always pondering these things.”

So where do you fall? Team Island? Team The Kitchen is Closed? Somewhere in between? Sound off in the comments!

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, we’ll post a hot-button question on our Facebook page. Sometimes, they’ll be serious. Sometimes, they’ll be more light-hearted. Want to take part? Like and follow us, and comment on this Friday’s question.

3 Comment

  • Great article! It made me realize that an island is a great gathering place that everyone loves. It also made me realize that it can create many eyes into the messy part of creating food. There lies the conflict. So, when I have the luxury of designing my kitchen, I will somehow create a workspace not directly visible and create an island that allows loved ones to gather and enjoy food preparation as well. Hope I get the opportunity.

  • mm

    I solved the problem long ago by moving my dining table into my kitchen. It IS the kitchen island and the parties I throw are the sort where everyone pitches in. You come for dinner, you get to help prep and cook it. It’s worked out very well.

  • I do not like kitchen islands. My current house has a big kitchen but no island — I use an antique french butcher block on brass casters to roll around during food or drink prep. We have a table in the kitchen and people can gather there. But NO island — my previous house had one and I hated it. It was taking up space, I kept bumping into it, and it was just another surface to clean and keep free of clutter/decor. If I fall in love with another house and it has an island, the island will be removed!