A Designer's Own Kitchen

Twin islands are at the heart of a kitchen designer's own idea-filled remodeling project.


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Kitchen designer Jacqui Kranz approached the renovation of her own La Jolla, California, kitchen knowing she wanted it enlarged without adding onto her house.

She removed an interior wall, refashioned a wet bar for kitchen duty, and brought a cramped breakfast room into the spacious new plan. Then, she put two islands for cooking, storage, snacking, and fun in the center.

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Wall ovens and a glass-front fireplace are but a step away from the angled-top island, as shown on the plan. The center island houses the cooktop.

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A metal hanging rack keeps utensils close at hand.

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A shallow, 21-inch-deep cabinet has room for a pull-out ironing board. To the right is wine storage -- convenient yet safe from heat-generating appliances.

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A built-in cutting board was positioned for convenient cleanup. Drawers were chosen because items stored deep in the back can still be reached easily.

Kranz employed a number of strategies to maximize the efficiency of her new kitchen:

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  • Selected a commercial-style refrigerator for its capacity and a convenient pull-out freezer drawer. It was placed near the secondary vegetable sink.
  • Slipped a pull-out pantry for dry goods next to the refrigerator.
  • Ordered 21-inch-deep base cabinets instead of standard 24-inch units to allow a 3-foot pass between the island and perimeter cabinets.
  • Chose an extra-quiet dishwasher because quiet is important in open rooms.
  • Installed several banks of drawers, which Kranz feels are more convenient than pull-out shelves. But drawers are more expensive, and some items, such as vases, are better stored in cabinets, so Kranz also included few base units with shelves.
  • Included such specialty organizers as cutlery dividers, utensil racks, and baking-tool tilt-outs.
  • Lifted a low ceiling to a 16-foot peak during remodeling. The room feels bigger now and is kept cheerful with two sunny skylights.
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