We've lived in our house in Colorado for 20 years and I'm finally redoing the kitchen. As I'm planning the kitchen design, I can't decide whether to install an island. We've got the space but how much expense does an island add to a remodel? Is it worth the cost?
Estelle L. ~ Denver, Colorado
I have been involved in the design of quite a few kitchens over the years, working with professional kitchen designers, and also homeowners who considered themselves to be amateur chefs. The key phrase prevalent in most of those situations was "efficiency and flow."
Homeowners who use their kitchen for cooking, rather than a family gathering area, want their appliances and working surfaces to be close at hand so they have economy of movement. At the same time, they want room to operate, such as being able to fully open an oven door without the sense of being cramped by a kitchen island.
I try to design the kitchen in the actual space using templates or tape, rather than just drawing it on paper. Sometimes a kitchen can look good on paper, but not work well in actuality. The costs of an island addition can vary widely. An island with several base cabinets and a Formica countertop may be less than $500, but an island with a granite countertop could be several thousand dollars, especially if you have electricity and plumbing incorporated. In nearly all cases, though, a kitchen island does add value to a home.