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Penny

I like a clear island bench. No sink, no cooktop. Plenty of workroom for any kind of work - as well as a comfortable clutter free meeting place. Bar fridge under to one end so drinkers don't have to get in the cook's way. Small sink on long wall and spare sink (if there's room) out of the way for big stuff. Dishwasher near small sink and cutlery/crockery drawers. Rubbish drawer to one side but clear of sink so anyone can access it any time.

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Liz

In my just-built house, I designed the island to be both my major work space and a big part of my storage; I have a lot of windows, which means few upper cabinets. My biggest departure from common wisdom is that my island is 34” high, rather than the typical 36. Even though I am the average height for a woman (5’4”), I find the lower height more comfortable, for mixing, for chopping, for rolling out, for cooking at my cooktop. When I was designing my kitchen, I looked for reassurance that this was a good idea, and could find almost none—apparently, sometimes people design a lower counter just for rolling pastry, but otherwise, we’re stuck with the standard height. I find this remarkable, especially given that kitchens are more often used by women than men. I suggest that, if you’re building an island, you stand at the standard height and see if your forearms are lower than your elbows when you’re chopping. Another advantage of the lower height is that it makes my enormous island seem slightly less enormous, because you see the other counters more (the side counters are 36”, so taller cooks can work there).


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Margaret DeStout

Thanks for posting about a lower-than-average island. We are renovating our kitchen which has above-average height countertops and island - around 42"! I also happen to be a pretty petite 5'! Imagine the difficulties I've been having. I'm going to float this idea past my husband and the builder. I'm sure the entire area will feel so much shorter just by lowering to the typical 36, but I am the only one who does the cooking in this house!

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