Evolution of the Kitchen Island

Evolution of the Kitchen Island

April 17, 2017

 An example of today’s super sleek kitchen islands.  

Evolution of the Kitchen Island

Today, we take “island life” in the kitchen for grated. The island has become a kitchen staple that many homeowners can’t live without. But the island wasn’t always the kitchen paradise that it is today. 

Kitchen islands, at least in their recognizable form, got their start in the 1950s. It was during this era that peninsulas and free-floating suspended upper cabinets began to creep into kitchen designs. And, although it’s not widely known, the use of “open” floor plans began during this time as well.  Advancements in technology brought more electric appliances into the kitchen and the “space age” style was in vogue. Paradoxically, this style would soon be countered by rustic, country styles. 

Built-ins were big in the 50s. (Before this time, storage cabinets were modular.) The origins of space-saving solutions like lazy Susans and roll-out garbage cans can be traced to this time. Kitchens also began to feature built-in dining booths, breakfast nooks, and of course, islands. 

Legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright had a strong influence on the evolution of the kitchen island. He believed that if the kitchen was the “psychological centre of the home” (his way of saying the heart of the home) then a kitchen island is the “inner-heart” of this center—the very thing that makes the heart beat. 
Today’s kitchen island is a far cry from the kitchen island of the ‘50s. 

Kitchen islands really became mainstream in the 1980s when technology and social changes helped the island evolve into the center of life in the kitchen. The island became the main activity location for everything from meal prep and eating to homework, playing, and entertaining. The perfection of the extractor hood really let things open up. The island then became the borderline between dining and living spaces. Of course, these lines continued to blur and today they’re barely noticeable as kitchens and living spaces practically blend into one space. 
Transitional styles, such as this one by C3 Studio, LLC are popular for today’s modern kitchen islands. 

Today, the kitchen island is more than a mere “convenience.” It’s often a starting point for developing a kitchen floor plan and layout. All other elements and spaces radiate from this area, making it the very epicenter of the home. 

Experts say that the kitchen island has solidified its role in the kitchen of the future. No matter how revolutionary or extravagant kitchen islands may be, they’ll include an island as its main point of consideration. We’ll likely see bold shapes and size variations, but the essential role of the island as a lifeline of the home will remain the same. Technology will likely make the biggest impact on where the island goes from here. Whether its revolutionary materials or must-have gadgets, the kitchen island of the future is sure to offer infinite possibilities for customization and configuration. 
 Award-winning contemporary kitchen design by Reico Kitchen & Bath 

Working on a new kitchen island design? Marble & Granite, Inc. can help you choose the most durable and functional countertop to top off your design. From marble and granite to quartzite and engineered quartz, we offer a wide array products in our two New England showrooms. Come by and let us show you the possibilities. 


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