Our Favorite Things: Island Fever
For those craving an artisan island look, Viola Park (violapark.com), younger sibling to the inimitable Henrybuilt (Downtown, 997 Western Ave.; 206.624.9270; henrybuilt.com) custom kitchen systems, has a cool new island program (option shown above). Choose from modern and traditional styles, or a mix of the two (starting at $5,000), and from a range of eco-friendly woods and renewable bamboos, with built-in storage for bread and cooking tools that’s neatly positioned beneath Corian countertops. Even better, outfit your island with nifty storage boxes fitted with pivoting tops that allow them to smoothly disappear into the countertop. Henrybuilt also offers a sleek island collection in walnut, oak or bamboo, with options that include integrated knife and spice blocks, shallow countertop rounds to settle bottles in and wheels for easy mobility (call for a price quote).
Both island lines are ideal for ordering separately to complement your current kitchen motif, or, hey, for ringing in the new year as part of a brand-new kitchen design.
It’s easy to spot the distinctive imprint of Seattle-based custom cabinet and furniture maker Kerf Design (Interbay, 3635-A Thorndyke Ave. W; 206.954.8677; kerfdesign.com). Its plywood-loving, storage-rich, streamlined aesthetic is unmistakable, and its perky kitchen designs (often featuring a colorful, Mondrian-esque pattern), irresistible. A recent example of its industry is a walnut-veneered Queen Anne kitchen stocked with Europly cabinets ($10,500 for cabinetry) with a 16-foot island as its impressive centerpiece. Built from Kerf’s usual supplies, such as FSC-certified plywood (made with formaldehyde-free glue and no-VOCs finishes), the island offers seating for six, bookcases on the sides and enough drawers to efficiently store everything a cook needs, including plates and glasses. Finished off with a Caesarstone countertop, this island neatly but prettily displays all of its bells and whistles.
SieMatic’s latest high-tech, high-end kitchen system, unveiled at the company’s headquarters in Germany last fall, will make lovers of minimalist chic swoon. The S3 Kitchen, available at SieMatic Seattle (Downtown, 2030 First Ave.; 206.443.8620; siematic-seattle.com), was designed to offer greater design flexibility with more configurations and color options—including for the aluminum backing strips—so that you can add a coordinating or contrasting pop of color. Palette options range from bold new shades, such as aqua blue and poppy red, to understated industrial hues. Cover your customizable island in either wood veneer, gloss or matte lacquer, or SimiLaque, a new lacquer-like, high-gloss laminate that, thanks to laser technology, renders edges nearly invisible. Sweet.
Those with smaller spaces, and budgets, always benefit from a trip to Ikea (Renton, 601 SW 41st St.; 425.656.2980; ikea-usa.com). Its collection of inexpensive islands includes the Groland ($199), a popular pick in light birch wood that can be used as a workspace and a handy storage place all in one. Pair it with hooks to handily hang towels, utensils or even houseplants. For a petite, portable utility island, wheel away the Stenstorp ($199), shown at left, which has a top of solid oak and two industrial shelves in stainless steel. Or there’s the simple yet sleek solid birch Varde collection that comes with adjustable legs to ensure islands stay still and flat on uneven floors. Varde base cabinets($379) feature two roomy shelves; a larger version ($399) has four crisp white lacquered drawers; and the smallest Varde drawer units ($329) come with three stainless-steel-fronted drawers.