Source: Pioneer Press
Create a Kitchen Island with Furniture
Do you like the idea of a kitchen island or peninsula but think matching your existing cabinets would be problematic? Maybe you just don’t want everything to look the same. Consider adding a piece of furniture to function as an island or peninsula instead. Contrast the style of the furniture piece with the existing cabinets. For instance, if your kitchen is fairly contemporary and yet you like antiques, one thoughtfully selected old table will add warmth and interest as well as functioning as a work-surface or buffet. If you have traditional cabinets, an old table is an easy fit. If the table has a shelf below, it will be a nice place to display a few pieces of your favorite ceramics.
If you’d like more storage space in your kitchen, select a few nice sized baskets to hold kitchen items and place them on the shelf below the table or, if there is no shelf, put the baskets right on the floor. This option doesn’t have to create a cluttered look but can be very clean and simple to go with a contemporary kitchen. This newfound storage can hold kitchen items or vegetables and fruit that can be left at room temperature. And, you have created it at a fraction of the cost of new cabinets.
For other kitchens where an antique piece just isn’t going to work, there are a host of other options. There are several styles of stand-alone furniture pieces made from butcher block, steel wire, stainless steel and other material combinations. With these furniture styles, metal storage bins or wooden boxes painted to coordinate with your kitchen color palette would be nice options for additional storage on the floor beneath.
One issue to consider when deciding between furniture styles for this kitchen piece is that an old table will be at table height. This can be nice especially if you have space to put even one chair at the table where you could sit and work. It would be reminiscent of a time when we actually sat down in the center of the kitchen. If the table will be largely decorative and function as a buffet and for the storage beneath, then the table height need not be a concern. You should know that many places will retrofit longer legs on a table if you would rather have it at counter height to be used with taller stools for instance. The advantage of the contemporary style island or peninsula pieces is that they are designed at counter height.
Many neighborhoods have their own local antique shops and this is a good place to find an old table. House sales and, in this season, garage sales are another place where interesting items can be found. Remember, you only need one “gem” so don’t be influenced by the garage junk that may surround your treasure.
In Chicago, Vintage Pine is a great source for a variety of antique styles. Pine and Design, also in Chicago, is a good place for ideas. For more contemporary pieces look at Room and Board, Crate & Barrel and the mail order catalogs of Williams and Sonoma and Pottery Barn.