If you wish to have granite or marble as island top, do ensure that you have invest in a much more studier base that is capable of support the heavy weight of these material. The granite top can have box shape cuts at certain areas to include a sink, a grill and an electric stove. Below the island top one can add pipes to supply water to the sink or electricity to the appliances. The shelves can be polished or painted differently from the top to get a splendid looking kitchen isle.
In addition to seating 4 (or more), islands today are used to house "luxury" appliances that do not fit in the cabinet structure like a second microwave, second oven, wine refrigerator or even another cooktop. Islands many times are fully wired for electricity and have plumbing for a second sink. The base of an island can be used as a wine rack. The possibilities are almost endless.
Space and Design are Important : You need around 3 feet of walking space around the island unit, and you must be sure that the drawers and doors in the cabinets have room to open. If you keep to the 36 inches then you should be OK. The only dimension that must be stated is that of the counter height. Ideally it should be the same as the rest of your kitchen units. If not, then it is not a disaster, but can be disconcerting when you are working on the various surfaces at varying heights.
Pick a countertop for your island that matches your other counters or make it stand out by using a contrasting material. Also, your choice of cabinetry and decorative elements can make your island into a real quality item, similar to a fine furniture piece.
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