In the heart of the home, the kitchen island takes center stage with these innovative designs.
This island's stepped crescents sport three looks and serve three purposes. From lowest to highest, the cooktop section shines in zebrawood and granite; the prep area wears stainless steel and granite; and the breakfast bar sparkles in fractured glass. Outer cabinets and track lighting echo the curvy concept.
Green design meets high-tech function in this kitchen. The island's concrete surface features an inlaid path of river rock along its center. Under the countertop, pullout laptop shelves, electrical outlets, and Internet hookups make the island a workstation for the residents' teenage sons.
To equip a modest-size kitchen for entertaining, this wood-paneled island hides clutter and holds dozens of wine bottles in orderly columns. Behind the tall solid doors, glasses stand ready for guests to serve themselves.
Dark-stained walnut gives this five-sided, two-level island an elegant tone, while the wedge design invites cooks and guests to work together. On this side, open shelves and low cubbies provide storage and display, and two refrigerator drawers make snacks and appetizers readily available. A wine chiller anchors the corner.
It's a work island, and it's a cafe counter. This versatile arrangement merges two island units into one. On this side, the countertop overhang is sized just right to tuck away complementary carved wood stools. On the opposite side, a prep sink creates a compact cooking zone.
As if its prep sink and 9-foot-long concrete countertop weren't enough, this island adds open shelves, pullout baskets, and seating for three inside the curve. Also built in: a microwave oven, a warming drawer, and an icemaker.
No doubt a cook designed this island, dressed in basic black and capped with smart surfaces. It's easy to picture someone cutting vegetables on the butcher-block section, then sweeping trimmings straight into the adjacent prep sink, which is framed by moisture-safe marble. Dark stone tops the higher serving area.
Only a large kitchen could accommodate a big, L-shape island such as this one. A neutral, no-fuss counter surface unifies the two wings -- one for the cook and one for company. Mismatched seating suits the casual mood.
Where two perpendicular lengths of island meet, cool interior lighting forms a dramatic backdrop for entertaining outside the work triangle. Minimalist stool bases keep the blue in view.
If you love its shape and style, then you'll marvel at the function packed into this multipurpose island. The stainless-steel work surface flows from a food preparation area to serving space and on to the cleanup zone. Within the base, drawer-type appliances put refrigeration, food warming, and dishwashing right where you need it.
Most of this oval island is all business, but the end facing an adjoining dining area celebrates craftsmanship. From the furniture-style construction to the hand-painted medallions, finely crafted details elevate the island's daily use and buffet cachet.