Column: Islands in the kitchen

Commentary by Randy Sorrell

Suddenly, the standard kitchen island is assuming considerably more significance and is anything but … standard. It has earned more responsibility, and the design ideas are soaring.

Devin Rodgers and Lonna Heshelman, our gifted friends at Santarossa in the Indiana Design Center, tell us that islands are becoming physically larger, and that the previous rules are moderating. Being bold and mixing/matching the fixtures, counters and finishes is encouraged. The island is the place to manage the evening, open a bottle of wine, have conversation and sit down for a bite.


Our last few projects certainly echo their thoughts, as the primary kitchen cabinets have been surfaced with granite and the island with quartz.  A natural wood finish on the island face is our current project’s inspiration, fueled by a contrasting soapstone counter with dusty aqua hues teased out by the dramatic 1930s backsplash we rescued and are retrofitting.


Houzz and Google, the unofficial experts on everything, note the movement of contrasting cabinet finishes between the island and remaining kitchen cabinets.

We’ve seen modern mixed with traditional, stained integrated with painted, stainless steel drawer pulls contrasted with rubbed bronze. And the jazzed-up examples continue to be as diverse as most of us can imagine. Of course, there are limits. Let your interior decorator tastefully guide the process of marrying the options.

Perhaps your kitchen island reflects these highly edited design possibilities. Allow it to reflect your lifestyle with personality and be anything but standard!