Islands...all one level or raised area for seating?

lavender_lassFebruary 24, 2011

I know this has come up before, but the post on Christopher Peacock's new kitchen design has me thinking...his kitchen island has a higher level, for the seating area, with a counter height prep area that's butcher block. Is this a sign of things to come?

While large, single level islands are all the rage in the magazines...I often wonder if people really keep their kitchens looking so perfect in real life. Of course, some people may, but I don't (just being honest) LOL. I'm a messy cook, with a capital M, but I have a lot of fun cooking. However, since I'm planning to have my kitchen, open to my dining area, I'm starting to think that a raised area for the stools might hide a lot of...well, creative process, shall we say :)

While I can see that one large expanse of a beautiful material, like marble or granite, is very striking...I've also seen areas of wood and even stainless steel on a large island. Would the two tier make that easier, design wise? Would having one material for prep and another for guests, be easier with this design? Maybe marble for baking and wood for seating area...or wood for prep and quartzite for the seating area? Or stainless steel and wood...see there are a lot of options, here.

So, for all those with single level islands, how do you like them? Same question to those with more than one you like them? And if you're still in the planning stages, which way are you leaning?

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We had a raised bar in our last house. It hid nothing. It hides only what's right behind it...Not across the kitchen or at adjacent counters. Also, only from the right angle and from people sitting down at a distance. All in all, not much help. An island, especially one that is completely in the kitchen rather than one that serves as a divider between rooms, is so much more useful if people can work on it from all sides. I'd never trade back for the higher seating.

I think from this photo you can tell that anything at the cleanup or cooking area was on full display to the living room (where I was standing to take the photo). This was a photo for the listing...Our kitchen rarely looked like this! ;-)

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 11:08PM
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I chose a single level island for my new kitchen. It's 8 feet long and 4 1/2 feet wide. I like to spread out and I LOVE the expanse of workspace the single level gives me. It also makes room for more than one person to be working at the island at a time, sometimes all on different sides, and everyone has enough room. The large island can also easily double as a buffet, or a holding station for "extra" food in warming vessles on holidays when others have brought dishes to share, as we found out last Thanksgiving. A raised area can really only be used for dining, and in my opinion, it's not even much space for that. My area is also open to the dining area. I hide a lot of the 'creative remnants' in the large cleanup sink. My style of entertaining is always informal, so if there's anything left on the island or counters, it doesn't really bother me at all.

All that said--your needs may be different, and your style may differ from mine. If it's really important to you to 'hide' the cooking area and have everything look tidy, then you might well be happier with a raised island.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 11:27PM
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We'll be having a single level island in our new build this Spring. Ours won't be that big so I didn't want to break it up. Plus, what rhome said above...doesn't hide much.

Do you like folding decorative screens? Maybe for large gatherings when you want to 'hide' more during the gathering?

Here is a link that might be useful: Decorative folding screens

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 12:23AM
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We're looking at new countertops for our existing kitchen and wrestling with the same question. We currently have a raised seating side on our peninsula and it does seem to hide at least a little bit of kitchen clutter especially around the sink which is on the peninsula. It also ends up being a clutter magnet in itself. Otherwise it's seldom used except when we entertain (always *very* casual) or are feeding grandkids.

We have the same material on both levels but I can see the appeal of defining them more by using two different surfaces. Hiding the creative process isn't an issue here - the seating side is in the den and, as mentioned, any entertaining we do is very casual.

However, our kitchen is quite small and I've been wondering if taking the seating side down to countertop level would "open it up" and make the kitchen space feel a little bigger. Any thoughts on that?

It also seems like I could more easily use at least part of that level as additional counter space when I'm prepping and cooking. I sometimes set items up there to get them out of my way, but it feels like a separate space, more part of the den, and I usually don't even think of using it.

But then, where will all the clutter go? :-)

Feedback is very welcome!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 12:49AM
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My tier came off with our kitchen remodel and it is one of the best things to happen in my kitchen. I was so glad to see that thing ripped out. In my opinion, for us it was useless and did not block clutter, it just gave two levels for clutter to happen on. I love have the large, flat area to work on, because it is so open, for some reason my family doesn't seem to clutter it up as much. It opened up the kitchen area which is open to my family room and little breakfast area. It is so nice to have a large area for large baking needs, two or three people can work and some can sit around mine. I would never consider it again. Do not miss it one bit.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 8:25AM
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I think it just comes down to, is hiding some things from view more important than a large expanse of work space? Each individual has to decide himself.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 8:36AM
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You can use either a raised island bar for eating at or use an all on one level island for doing the same. The only thing that is different is the height of the bar stools. If you have a raised bar area, I would not use a different material. I would keep the material the same to tie it all together.

If you have a separate island, consider using one material on the island, such as granite and use another material on the rest of the surfaces, such as quartz. This looks great!

You won't get much benefit by having the raised bar as far as hiding your clutter. Just doesn't accomplish that with all of the vantage points that you most likely have into your kitchen.

The raised bar looks interesting but you will get much more use out of a flush island as mentioned above. I think you will be happier with an expansive island the all can congregate around and you will have a much larger work surface.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 9:04AM
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Ditto CJ47! I have a 9x3 ft island with seating for 4 on one end. It is a dream to entertain, buffet, hangout, multiple activities at one time. Kids love it for spreading out projects! I even dress it with a large linen table cloth for buffet set up. I don't like seeing messes so am a picker upper and love my deep Franke orca sink to hide last minute things. I also put in lots of different lighting all on dimmers, 8 can's, 3 pendants,(one is on it's own dimmer in the prep area of island and other two are on dimmer for the dining area) over sink, under cabinet this allows me to darken the "working" part of the kitchen while lighting the dining/entertaining areas. I agree that a raised bar doesn't cover the "mess" well at all. I think lighting/dimmers shouldn't be overlooked as a very useful tool.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 9:39AM
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I've had both and maybe I'll be no help because I like both! Pre-reno, our island was one large expanse with a bumpout curve for the seating. It was a stretch for me to clean the whole top without walking around it (and I'm 5'11" so I have a good reach!) and the kids' clutter spread more than I would like. But it was an awesome big expanse when I needed it.

I went to 2 level, mostly because it was different (for me) and all my friends with new kitchens have 2 level. (I hadn't found GW yet pre-reno.) Pros: in my case it does hide a mess, if there is one, from the FR -- our FR is directly across from the island and down 2 steps. You can't see anything on the lower part of the island when you're in the FR, unless it's tall. The way my kitchen is set up, we have a 'work' side and a 'social' side of the island. The higher level keeps things from spreading; e.g.: my kids' stuff (papers, books, laptops) stay on the higher level while I work on the lower level. When we entertain, which we like to do, the higher level separates the "leaners" from my food prep area. Cons: as noted by all, it's a smaller expanse of space than if it were one level.

One thing that can be nice on a 2 level is when there are outlets on the short wall b/w the lower and upper levels. Then you can plug in whatever gadgets (mixer, electric knife, hot plate, etc.) you may be using for prep and serving, without running cords to the ends of the island.

I can see benefits to both styles, so I think it comes down to how you will use your space.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 10:00AM
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We are building a house with a 7.5' x 4.5' one level island. I had a huge one level peninsula in my previous house that was open to the family room...and I loved it. I love a big, flat, open space. My new island won't even have a sink on it...I wanted all work surface (ah, who am I kidding, I wanted all ENTERTAINING surface! I'm a horrid cook.) Anyway, I am absolutely adverse to clutter and cr@p on my counters, so I have designed organization so that mail, backpacks, magazines...all have a home elsewhere! AND, I have this monster 12" deep sink to hide actual kitchen debris. I'm covered! ;)

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 10:22AM
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Ditto whats been said above - when we did our reno I ripped out the bar height portion of the island and made it all one level. LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT. The only time I've seen a double height be essential is when the only sink is in the island - for some reason I think it helps.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 10:57AM
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LL, I think I've mentioned that we live on a farm and are planning a new house and farmhouse-style kitchen too. I am looking forward to my very first island and it will be one level, which to me seems more open and more practical -- for any sort of baking, cooking, canning projects, alone or as a family, it will be so nice to have more space.

As far as clutter, that's what the two farmhouse sinks and dishwashers (2) are for! Seriously, I am thinking that with a well-planned, larger kitchen, clutter won't be as much of a problem as it is now. Besides, ours will be a "working kitchen", and at any rate it will be a huge improvement on what we have now.


    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 11:26AM
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Thank you all for your responses! :)

Chicagoans- It's funny you mentioned cleaning, because that's one of my concerns, too...and I'm about your height. The dining table will be behind the stools (banquette with four chairs) so I'm wondering if my 'island clutter' will be a little more hidden, from people sitting at the table.

I can see the advantages to one large space, in fact, my mom has a work table that she uses, especially for baking. She loves it, but I've noticed it's hard to keep the flour and dough away from everything else. With a two level island, I was wondering if you can set the pans and cookie cutters up out of the way...since I don't have huge amounts of perimeter countertops.

While I like the way one large surface looks more like a work table (and fits more with my design style) I'm wondering if having two table type pieces of furniture, across from each other, is going to work? Maybe a higher bar area, would divide the kitchen from the dining area?

I appreciate all of your input, so please keep the ideas/suggestions coming! :)

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 11:32AM
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I had actually planned and built my island as a one level. Then, after it was 100% complete we went back, yanked the soapstone off, recut it, reconfigured it completely into a two level.

IN my case, the cooktop is in the low part of the island. And so I found myself reaching over the cooktop portion to reach the area behind it when I am looking for a little extra space to set something down. Reaching over isn't the problem because my cooktops are induction but with a one level island it was awkward reaching past the pots.

With the area behind the cooktop now raised, I don't have to reach through the pot area on the cooktop to grab the salt. I'm effectively just setting it on a shelf above the cooktop. It's been extremely useful and I'm very happy with it.

Keep in mind that my cooktops are only 16" deep instead of the normal 22ish so it's well within reach for me where it may not be for you.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 11:35AM
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morgne -- do you have any pictures or dimensions? would be interested in seeing this in action...
(I probably won't be putting a cooktop in island... that being said, if I did, it would solve a lot of problems... but I'd want a raised "barrier" shield like you are describing...)

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 1:11PM
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another vote for single level.

Dont like the 'starbucks' serving counter look ;)

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 1:12PM
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An additional thought, that may be just my opinion...I see a bi-level island as more contemporary and definitely not vintage or farm-housy. ;-)

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 1:16PM
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Our kitchen island is single level, which I really like from a practical viewpoint. When entertaining, we have our guests sit on the side of the table that faces away from the kitchen. Works like a charm!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 1:19PM
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Lavendar_lass, thanks for raising this question. I am also trying to make this decision. I have a very small house and the entry from the front door will lead right through the kitchen. (I am following Sarah Susanka's mantra of avoiding single use spaces like a dedicated entry foyer.) This frees up a bunch of space, but I am still a bit nervous about whether this will feel strange. So I was thinking of using a bi-level island to make the kitchen feel a bit more separate.

Here's the big picture floorplan (proposed):

And here is the close-up kitchen plan:

I don't have space for a formal dining room, so unless I put a little table in the living room, I will be eating at the counter (when I'm not eating in front of the TV!). Given that situation, is one or two level better? (I have room for a 3' wide island if I keep the aisles 42" wide.)

Thanks for your input!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 2:04PM
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Lesley- Remember, Sarah Susanka also discusses the importance of creating a sense of arrival, when entering the home. The way the path brings you to the front door, the entrance itself...and having a sense of being invited into the home.

I like your kitchen idea, but could you flip the living room and kitchen? I can't see the very bottom of your plan, but it doesn't look like there's an entry into the living room. Maybe you could put the living room at the top, with the (wood stove?) still in the center and the kitchen at the bottom of the space.

Another you need all three bedrooms? If you took out the wall (or put in an arch) between the new kitchen area and the office/bedroom 2, could you make this a combination dining area with office space? I know Sarah Susanka is all about built-ins...and you could create lovely built-ins on the back wall (against the master bedroom) for dishes and shelving above...a nice work counter...and office storage/printer/paper below. It would also give you more light coming into the kitchen and an L-shaped living area. Remember how important diagonal views are, to make spaces seem larger :)

As for the island itself, I found a few pictures I was going to post, so I'll put them here. I don't know your style, but these are from the This Old House website. Rhome has a good point about many people thinking two level islands seeming more contemporary.

In your space (as is right now) I don't know if 3' will be wide enough for an island with seating. 42" would be better. However, if you can move the kitchen and open it up to the office/dining (I know, probably big 'if') you'd have more room and could redesign the space. Maybe even do something like this first picture...and put your cooktop on the island. That's an idea that seems to have lost popularity, lately, but I think it's still a good one, with proper planning :)

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 2:39PM
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Wow, the more I read the more confused I get. I was planning on putting in a 2 level island & thought it would be perfect for us. Now, not sure what to think. I thought I would be able to keep the toaster can opener & such on the lower level & not have it seen from living room so much which would be on the oposite side. I am not a big cook, don't need it so much for work space more for appliances & such. I have a small kitchen & just want to open it up to the living room & the raised part would be for eating occasionally. Only DH & I, very casual & not a lot of entertaining. We are not redoing the whole kitchen, just the area that would be the bar/island...lots to think about. Terri

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 3:11PM
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We are putting in a single level peninsula.(Current build hopefully done in a month-was supposed to be this week) I wanted a large level surface. Mine contains a 33" 10" deep SS farm sink. It's open the family and breakfast. My kitchen is 19'x 16' with a center work island with induction cooktop. I wanted it to feel open and connected to the rest of the house. Plus if it was raised I would have to walk around it to clean it.(5'3") I don't think I could get it all reaching from the kitchen side.

But you should chose by how you live and cook. What will work best for you?


    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 3:21PM
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As you age, the taller stools will become more problematic. They are also problems for smaller kids.

Buffet serving is much easier from a single-level. Also easier to set up a sewing machine, a vacuum sealer, a canning or freezing project. Much easier to read a newspaper.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 4:17PM
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I agree with florantha - barstools make it harder to get on/off.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 5:03PM
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I wrestled with the same question for my peninula (not enough space for an island). This is one case where, despite my enormous respect for the many posters here, I have decided to buck the conventional wisdom and go with a two-level set up. I made this decision for several reasons.

First, I am opening up my kitchen to my small dining room, and keeping some sense of separation was desirable. (There are some other elements that will do this, too.)

Second, I too am a super-enthusiastic and super-messy cook -- but don't necessarily want everyone to see that! No matter how much I clean as I go, and clear before people arrive, actually finishing the meal dirties the entire (small) space. Although most of my entertaining is informal, some is formal, and I don't want the counters to be visible. With a raised bar, the counters won't be visible to people seated in the dining room.

Finally, two levels allows me to have two materials. Someone above advised having both levels be of the same material, to tie it all together. Although that's one approach, I'm going to have soapstone counter but some sort of wood for the higher bartop surface - it's warm visually and, more importantly, temperature-wise. (I think Karen44_2008 was my original inspiration for this idea.) I want the seating area (which will only be for two, around a curve), to be inviting, not literally chilly.

One final thought: Am I the only one here who rolls their eyes when someone suggests just having two sinks and two dishwashers???? (I'm an urban dweller with a small house and small kitchen....)

Just my 2 cents.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 5:28PM
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lesleyp, I don't think I like the bilevel island in your drawing at all. First, it creates an odd reverse-l shape staring at the living room, which seems particularly weird in that small space. Second, it seems to create a narrow, closed in corridor walking through the kitchen on the right--I don't think the aisle looks big enough for a looming bar-height counter next to it. Third, if anyone else has any need for a surface while you're cooking--kids coloring, spouse paying bills, lost guest opening a map--they have to come into the meal prep area to find it.

Just my $.02 based on your one post. Have you posted your plan separately? i have lots of questions--like, where's the front door?!?--but we don't want to hijack lavenderlass's post.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 5:44PM
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Thanks for your feedback LL and Marcolo. So as not to hijack this thread, I'll respond to your suggestions in the thread I started over in the kitchen forum.

But while we are still talking about islands, is there any conventional wisdom regarding aisle width when you plan to have seating at the island?

Here is a link that might be useful: Separate thread on kitchen plans

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 6:16PM
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I'll chime in -- I know tons of people like single layer islands. We have a 2 level island for a lot of reasons. I really believe that there are some great things about a bi-level. We love ours. Especially if you have room, there can be plenty of work space. We used a bi-level because we wanted some separation between our living area and the kitchen.

But most of all, I love how it looks AND functions. We have plenty of work room, and there's always the bonus that I don't have to worry about where to put outlets ;)

I know I've posted these lots of times, but I just want to put it out there that not everyone does a single layer island and there are plenty of reasons for both.

And, I don't think our kitchen looks at ALL like Starbucks counter:)! (couldn't resist, especially since I hate coffee:)

As usual, please disregard the blurry pictures, and I really do have to update the pictures now that our entertainment system/built ins are done and we no longer are watching TV on a folding table!

1 Like    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 6:23PM
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My vote goes for flat all the way across. But I'm bias because that is what I have.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 6:29PM
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lesleyp -- I wanted to respond because your space is very similar to my space (with some slight variations). (I will post a formal plan soon for the GW jury to evaluate -- we spent months going back and forth between an island and a pensinula/U-shape layout.)

We have a similar plan in the works for an island with seating (actually, our island will be narrower towards the wall near the range, and will widen where space allows for seating. We have open space where you have the tall pantry, so there won't be anything "behind" the seats.)

One thing you may not have considered is that the 2-level counter will require additional structure (such as a 3-4 inch bearing wall) to support the weight of the upper-level counter. Thus, your 12 inches proposed overhang (assuming 12 inches if it is a 3 ft wide island) may shrink down to around 9 inches, which may not be comfortable for seating (and may make folks tend to push their stools further out into the "traffic" path of the walkway.

Even considering the "hiding" possibilities on 2 levels, I would think that this space calls for a single level island for those reasons.

Looking forward to getting our plans back from the designer soon so that I can share them with the REAL experts here on GW!! :)

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 6:29PM
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Thank you everyone and Lesley, if it's easier to talk about your kitchen here, I don't mind, at all. Let me know what you think about the suggestions...and I think I saw that 4' is best, for plenty of room for people sitting on the stools and the walkway, but 'best' and what you have room for, are not always the same :)

Redhead- I think we'd have fun cooking together. I'm a super-enthusiastic and super-messy cook, too! LOL

I've really enjoyed all the responses and pictures. Please continue to tell me the pros and cons, because I'm still in the planning stages and want to know all my options!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 7:23PM
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I think the choice really depends on how you are going to use the space. We currently have a 2 level peninsula that seperates the kitchen and family room. It does a good job of defining those areas while opening up the kitchen to the living area. I also have a sink on the peninsula and it would be a wet mess without the higher level to contain it ( I am not neat). It does seem to attract clutter and I have never been able to incorporate it into part of a work space.
In my remodel, I am keeping the peninsula with raised bar but will also have a one level island since I like to spread out when I cook. Hope this is helpful.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 7:59PM
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Julieh, that is a really clever island. I like your kitchen. Definitely not Starbucks.

I have a single level island and like it but one liability is that my sink is on the island and some times splashes go all the way across the very wide island.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 8:09PM
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No pictures of the final island yet! But we aren't that far from completing the dang thing for the second time so I could probably put a picture up in the next couple weeks.

I lived with the original island for about 6 months and then lived with the original island plus a big ugly fake "raised" area on the back for another 3? And the difference for me was huge. Thus ripping the island apart! :)

One of the things I should have noted before is that I'm quite short so by raising the back of the island up I effectively brought it closer and kept me from having to bend over as much.

In many cases, particularly the smaller of an island you have I agree with many people here that the single level is the way to go. It really does depend on what your going to do with it.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 8:47PM
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Lesleyp...yes, there is. There's actually a wealth of information via the National Kitchen & Bath Assoc (NKBA). I used to be able to just link to it, but the NKBA has now restricted access to only those who pay a fee to join them. However, here is what they say: In a seating area, 36" of clearance from counter/table edge to wall/obstruction if no traffic passes behind seated diners. 65" of total clearance when this includes a walkway.

I don't know if they've changed their guidelines, but they used to say:
In a seating area where no traffic passes behind a seated diner, allow 32" of clearance from the counter/table to any wall or other obstruction behind the seating area. If traffic passes behind the seated diner, allow at least 36" to edge past. If traffic passes behind the seated diner, allow at least 44" to walk past.

Note that these did not include clearances when a work aisle was involved. That, I think is one of the differences b/w this and the new above.

If you plan to have seating on a work aisle, I recommend at least 60" b/w the edge of the seating surface and the counter behind it. Yes, that's 5 feet. Think about it...if you need 36" just to be able to get into/out of a stool, is it unreasonable to need another 2' so someone can also be working in the same aisle?

If the aisle is not a work aisle and is just seating + traffic, I think 48" is probably sufficient.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 9:48PM
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Single level for me. I'm too short to comfortably sit on bar height stools. We've had our two first meals at our counter height overhang ... one with our grandson tonight and it was comfy, cozy, and FUN!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 10:01PM
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redhead, I'm the one who mentioned two sinks and two dishwashers, and until now I've had one sink for my entire life (I'm 46) and have had a dishwasher for only the past 10 years : ). I grew up in a tiny NYC apartment, and lived in another before I moved here, in between there was an efficiency apartment in Washington, DC, and there was no room for islands in any of them. Our current kitchen doesn't have an island either.

I live on a working farm and have three kids, and one of things I'm looking forward to in our new house, which will be around 2000 sq ft, is in fact a second sink (both Ikea) on the island and a second dishwasher (both Kenmore). Yes, definitely luxuries considering what I've had until now, but I am looking forward to them and know that we'll be able to put them to good to use. We home school and the kids like to cook, and our house has been so small we haven't been able to entertain family and friends as much as we'd have liked to in the past 17 years. And when my husband and his work crew are farming or building nearby, I have an extra few mouths to feed at lunch, which is our big meal. We're looking forward to a change with the new house, which my husband, who is also a builder, is building.

Based on some of the kitchens I've seen and read about here, mine will probably be pretty modest : ).

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 12:26AM
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oh have i struggled with this one! great thread LL. :)

our layout will have just a mini peninsula in a small kitchen, but we decided to go one level.

the only thing i really worry about is food rolling/flying off the back while i prep and my puppy getting to it! ;)

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 12:40AM
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With our remodel, we have a small (2' X 6') one level island, but a bi-level area between the kitchen and our dining room-where we removed a wall. For us, this is the best of both worlds. We use the bar area mostly for our iPad (LOL), but I'm sure the grands will want to eat up there. Plus, I did want to have a place that was close where my friends could sit and converse while I cook. The other advantage of the bar area is that both my DH and I sometimes stand at the bar vs sit (back issues) to do paperwork etc. and the bar height is perfect for that.
We also decided to do a different (wood) surface for the bar.

Here are some pictures:The first two are from the dining room.

1 Like    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 12:44AM
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buehl -- thanks so much for taking the time to post the NKBA guidelines. Since I have an old house, perhaps I can use the old recommendations! I have added the measurements to my kitchen plans, and it turns out that I should have 44" between the island and the walkway if I keep to a 3' island and a 42" aisle on the work side.

leela -- your kitchen is so beautiful! Are those soapstone counters?

I have posted some new images over in my plea for help thread if anyone wants to weigh in ... ;)

Here is a link that might be useful: Please Help Design my Kitchen

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 3:55AM
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Lesley- I like your island all one level. I think it opens up your kitchen more...I posted over on your other thread, including some possible changes to your floor plan :)

Leela- Your kitchen is beautiful! In fact, I used it for an idea I had for Lesely's kitchen. It's a great idea, to have the one level island and another area that's two level.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 10:14AM
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We just went through this decision with our design. In the end, I opted for a single level, since I was too afraid that if I made it 2 levels, I would not get the proportions perfect - the seating area would be too big or too small, the workspace would be too big/too small, and my opinion one which was which would probably depending on the time of day/day of the week, etc!


    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 12:07PM
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lesleyp-Thank you and yes, our counters are soapstone.

thanks to you, too, LL

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 4:06PM
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You probably already have your remodel completed, but in case you don't, have you considered removing the island and instead having a penisula between the kitchen and living room? This would really open up your kitchen, and allow two people to work in the kitchen at the same time. You would also prevent a narrow walkway issue when people are actually using the seating area.

As for bi-level or single level. Ignoring the possible clutter issues, unless you plan on having a sink, or cooking surface, a single level will be more functional/practical simply because you will have a much bigger flat surface for all your work. The Bi-level will be more visually appealing, or at least, in 2011 it's considered more visually appealing. In 10 years bulkheads everywhere, and full walls separating all the rooms could come back into style. In which case, we probably shouldn't have start our remodel.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 9:31PM
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No sure if this forum is active or not but Just finishing my remodel. I put in two Islands. One is "counter" height with the sink in it with an overhang for seating. The second one is all "Bar height" with seating on one side with the overhang-the other side has a beverage center and three bar height cabinets. Can't sit on that side with chairs (cuz of cabinets) but great to lean on with food and a bar. I did not want two levels on the Bar island since: 1) everyone has it,,,and I wanted a different look and 2) one can never really entertain on the small level without drinks and snacks falling off. I really want this to be a "bar". Now that it is done, the Bar looks massive since all one level at bar height. I hope I don't regret this ..we are not moved in yet but hope if find this great to entertain? I will post pics if interested.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 1:19AM
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Yes, please post pictures!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 5:44AM
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I like all one level at counter height. I bought a counter height table too, well actually I bought two of them. I can get 8 chairs around the tables when they are small, and 12 around them when large. Normally 8 are around the table and 4 are at the counter height bar. When the table is expanded, I just move the chairs over. Saves having to store extra chairs, and avoids mismatched chairs. Gives me a lot of flexibility. No, I don't have a dining room. Counter height dining in the kitchen space is fun, and less stuffy. I tend to shirk tradition whenever I can....

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 9:49AM
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