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Island lifestyle makes waves in modern kitchen design

In residential design the kitchen is often placed at the heart of the home.

A common contemporary feature in these all-important spaces, island benchtops and the materials they are made from can make or break the kicthen.

They can be big or small; curved or straight; square or rectangular; but one thing is clear – Australians love them.

Research into Australian kitchen trends found island benchtops were the most popular built-in feature for new kitchen renovations or those planning to renovate.

The 2018 findings from Houzz Kitchen Trends Study – Australia revealed island benchtops were included in 46 per cent of all new kitchen renovations, followed by pantries (41 per cent) and breakfast bars (40 per cent).

In terms of preferred colours, white (32 per cent), grey (22 per cent) and black (10 per cent) were the most common choices, while quartz (34 per cent), laminate (16 per cent) and granite (15 per cent) were the top three benchtop materials.

Webb & Brown-Neaves Design Team Leader Darren Grunwald said island benchtops had become a popular choice for homeowners because they were multi-purpose features that could act either as an extra workspace or dining table.

“It’s the hub of the kitchen,” he said. “It’s that central point where everyone congregates.

“Whether you are eating, talking, cooking or prepping, it serves so many different purposes.

“Island benchtops are doubling up as a table or a meal area, which saves you space if you wanted to move away from having a traditional dining room.

“In our latest display, The Casa, we have included a large island bench that we have called a ‘conversation island’. It’s a space where family and friends can stand or sit, eat and chat – further playing on the idea that the kitchen is the heart of a home.”

With this interior feature integral to not only the kitchen space, but the neighbouring rooms, Mr Grunwald said it paid dividends to get the design right.

“Minimalism is still king in the island benchtop area,” he said. “Don’t over clutter it or over work the space.

“One of the big things to think about is if you want a kitchen sink in there or not. Some people like the sink placed in a scullery or away from the island zone.

“You also need to be wary of smaller details like where you want your power points.

“We find a lot of people want that island space free of appliance use. It’s more being used as an eating and drinking space.”

Mr Grunwald recommended thinking about exactly how big you needed the benchtop to be, depending on what particular role it would play in the kitchen/dining area.

“You need to be considerate of what space you need for the multi-purpose use of the island bench,” he said.

“For example, how many people do I entertain with and how often will I use it.

“Make sure you have adequate space; don’t have it too small because it won’t be worthwhile. I would say 1.2m to 1.5m minimum as a solid base.”

CONTACT Webb & Brown-Neaves, 6365 4060, www.wbhomes.com.au.

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