LARGE ISLANDS: THE EVER-GROWING CHALLENGE

Large Islands: Wider still, and wider!

“What is the largest island we can have?” is one of the most frequent questions we hear on the phone. More and more people seem to want kitchen islands which are at the maximum size possible – and they would have even larger if they could! Sometimes kitchens are actually built before the question is asked – which can lead to some heavy expense modifying new units, or settling for a join when the aim was really to be without one.

We have an FAQ page which deals with all the main issues – this blog is partly a plea to read it, but also to think things through in advance and be ready for some of the issues that come up.

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Large islands: The limits to watch for

There are many questions you should ask before planning or building a really large kitchen island. Here are three critical ones:

What is the size of slab we are using to cut your worktops? If you want an island bigger than a slab, in either direction, you will have to have a join. 

What is the access like into my kitchen? Even if the island can be made from the slab, it doesn’t mean that it can be installed in one piece. 

Will the island make my kitchen hard to use or dangerous? Huge islands can impede movement around a kitchen. In the worst case, if a full kitchen refurbishment reduces gangways below 800mm (we would recommend 1000mm) you may be in breach of building regulations, as I understand them. 

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Large Islands: Going with a join

We would normally advise avoiding an island that needs a join at all costs. The slight “nick” in the line of sight along the long edge of the stone is more annoying, more of a perceived imperfection in an island than it ever is in a wall-run. That is in large part because you rarely look straight along the edge of a worktop – unless it is on a free standing island. So our rule of thumb is to ALWAYS go for an island that is smaller than the slab and which can be brought into your kitchen in one piece. The enormous island in Azul Platino granite shown above was our first that exceeded 1500mm width: big slabs and a lovely ground floor, purpose-built kitchen with great access made it possible.

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Norden Kitchens Affordable Granite Classic Quartz Calacatta Gold 210427 101536 (2)

If you are going to have a join, one way to embrace it is to make a feature of it. This works in large-veined materials where a classic book-matched design can be really striking – especially for flies hovering near the ceiling directly above! Large islands (the Classic Quartz Calacatta Gold top shown here is around 2100 x 1800mm) can then be made wider than any quartz slab. The join down the middle – running through the hob cutout – has become a feature, but only because the material is available in book-matched slabs.

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large islands two level two tier granite and quartz worktops 001800
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large island blanco maple wokingham silestone

The other way to make a feature of a join is to split the levels of the island. This looks great, and can have practical benefits – for instance separating a high-flying breakfast bar area from the heat and possible spillages on and around a hob below. Although large island designs like this are more popular in the North American market, we do see them from time to time and we think they make an impressive feature, if the kitchen space is large enough.

Large island blanco maple mitred corner

In the last of the examples above, the whole island is actually made with three sections of quartz at two levels. The higher part of the island is itself too big to make from one slab. In order to avoid that little “nick” where a butt joint reaches the open side of the top, Affordable Granite made the L-shape with a diagonal, mitred join. This places the join right at the corner, where bevelling and polishing keep it tidy. One we are very proud of! (I have pushed the contrast in the picture a little so that the joint can be seen.) The stone is Silestone Blanco Maple, built up with mitring to look  as if the higher top is 100mm thick.

So there you have it – very large islands are possible, but you do need to think in advance about how to make them practical and looking right. We are here to help – feel free to contact us to discuss your kitchen plans. And please do it EARLY in the process – don’t build that island before checking the slab size of the material you love!

We are Affordable Granite, the leading installer of granite and quartz worktops in Surrey, Sussex and across the South East. For samplesquotes and any questions connected with any aspect of barbecue worktop installation or outdoor kitchen design, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01293 863992 or by email on sales@affordablegranite.co.uk/ .

Images copyright Affordable Granite or sources from the web. Please see here if we have inadvertently used an image for which you hold the copyright.

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