I know “double islands” doesn’t conjure up an idea of the most conventional kitchen layout, but it was the first thing to cross my mind when I stood in the original kitchen (see below for a refresher) and took our budget into consideration for what changes were actually possible during our remodel.
I spent a good amount of time second-guessing my initial idea and sketching out several other layouts for the kitchen. Some of the renderings had a larger, single island and a few kept the double island feature, but with a different positioning. Given the walls of tall windows, three entryways and one doorway throughout, I knew I needed to be creative to keep the open feeling we desired while also supplying enough storage and countertop space. I tried every variation I could think of and ultimately went back to the first layout that popped into my head.
You may be wondering why I would choose to remove a decent portion of what little usable wall space there was in the kitchen, but having an open flow between the rooms in the back of our house was incredibly important to us. We grew very fond of having an open kitchen/dining/living space in our prior home. That desire for open floor plan living within those spaces grew even more after years of battling chronic illness which dramatically increased the amount of time I spend in the kitchen. Neither my hubby nor I wanted to feel stuck or isolated while working in the kitchen. Even though we enjoy the separation between the other areas of our colonial, we knew the walls needed to come down in the heart of our home.
Besides removing the walls, another major change I made to our kitchen layout was nixing the eat-in area in favor of an island that could do triple duty…provide us with ample countertop space, storage and an area to eat a casual meal. We aren’t very formal people, so having a formal dining room (that could literally be closed off from the kitchen), counter seating and a eat-in table all steps from each other just felt like a bit much.
And bonus…by losing the peninsula and shifting the island towards the gorgeous windows, we picked up a ton of open real estate in the middle of the kitchen. I know this is a bit unorthodox, much like the double islands, but it works for us. A few people asked what the heck I would do with all of that space, and I half-jokingly responded that I’d use it as a dance floor…and to be honest, I have. We love how open and unrestricted our kitchen feels. The free-flowing space allows for ease of movement that wouldn’t be possible if I placed an island in the middle of the kitchen. Again, I know it’s a not choice that would work for everyone, but my goal when designing our space was to make it work for our needs and preferences at this stage in our lives.
Last but not least, I cannot forget to mention the wall of floating shelves I added into the space. Our previous kitchen was desperately missing two things….a pantry and storage to stash the abundance of produce we purchase weekly. Thankfully, our new kitchen already had a great pantry, and the remaining wall space left over after widening the entrance into the dining room would be the perfect spot to create an accent wall of floating shelves.
To help illustrate the changes I wanted to make to our contractor, I found a free program online that allowed me to create elementary renderings of the new kitchen layout I had floating around in my head. Scroll back to the top to see the kitchen before and take a peek below to see the direction I wanted to take it.
With the kitchen demo’ed and the layout nailed down, it was time to start ordering the the fun stuff to make it come to life!