Island countertop all one level vs. bi-level with bar seating
We're trying to make some decisions about our island configuration... the island will be an 8ft long uninterrupted workspace (no sink or cooktop), just prep area, with three stools on the livingroom side.
I'm looking for opinions regarding single-level vs. bi-level islands. We were originally planning for a bi-level (standard height workspace on the kitchen side with a 12" overhang at bar height on the livingroom side). However, someone suggested in an earlier thread that we do a single-level island instead. I'm trying to weigh the pros & cons of both.
The bar height option seems like it would provide some visual cover between the living area & the work area, plus it would give some definition to the countertop on the kitchen side. If we included a few inches of overhang on the work area, it would also create a little alcove for storing prep bowls & other small items.
The single-level island option seems like it would be more flexible since it would be such a large expanse of uninterrupted space. Also, I think I prefer that seamless look and, since we're planning for it to be butcher block, it would be evocative of an old farm table, which is period-appropriate for our house. But I'm concerned about clutter from the seating side (paperwork, homework, etc) crowding the kitchen workspace (we are not a neat family).
I can't decide which is the more practical solution. Advice?