Island Girl: How Architect Cheryl Hughes Brings Kitchens to Life
Cheryl Hughes, of HUGHES STUDIO ARCHITECTS (South Lake Union, 820 John St.; 206.264.1301; hughes-studio.com), is known for her user-friendly kitchen designs. And in her 17-plus years of residential practice, she has seen the kitchen island evolve from an oft uninspiring second thought to an aesthetically inviting workhorse that is the communal hub of a home. “The island is a transition from function to comfort,” she explains, “and this main driver [of the kitchen] has become the gathering place.”
Hughes’ eclectic output includes a square island (shown above) with plenty of room for both cooks and onlookers, which she designed for clients who love to entertain. It has a great granite stone prep surface with a lyptus-wood surround that handily hugs a microwave while hiding the recycling and storage drawers. A “steamer trunk” island with a myrtlewood butcher block and sides of sapele wood and blackened steel detailing complement features throughout the house, such as its exposed steel beams. Then there’s her long, knife-shaped island. Not only does its horizontal expanse, and “movement” of the cherrywood at its bottom, help to balance very high ceilings, its veritable blade of a PaperStone counter aids in the room’s circulation, literally pointing to where guests should move next—toward a gorgeous view of Lake Washington.
And proving that an island’s size really doesn’t matter, Hughes designed a narrow 20-inch island for her own home. It’s her smallest island creation to date.
Top image: Eduardo Calderon