The kitchen evolution can be used as a yardstick to measure how far we have come in home design. From a hearth, to a kitchen house with firewood and onto cookers inside the house, kitchens have transformed into a work of art. They are now viewed beyond their traditional role of cooking, and are seen as the heart of a home.
Right in the middle of this evolution is the classy, dainty kitchen island, which many have taken to in a bid to modernize their kitchens.
A kitchen island is aptly named so because it looks like a breakaway piece from the rest of the kitchen tops, much like an island and the main land. It is usually in the centre of a kitchen, but can also be on the sides too.
Shamia Nanyonjo, the sales manager at Hwan Sung in Kyambogo, says kitchen islands come in many types, designs and shapes.
Types and design
Nanyonjo says the two-step kitchen island is a type of Kitchen Island that has two levels, with one lower than the other.
While the higher side (one metre) has the provision of leg-room, which turns that part of the kitchen island into a breakfast bar or buffet table, the lower part (0.85 metres) has cabinets for storage.
"It is wooden and 2.5 metres long with a granite worktop and MDF (medium-density fireboard) board," she says, adding that it tastefully separates the island into two: the cabinet area and breakfast bar.
Nanyonjo also says this type costs sh2.3m.
The second type is the kitchen island that looks like a dining table with a granite and wood finish. This one has a provision for a highlight cooker and a worktop as well.
"It also has a wine rack provision with shutters and drawers," says Nanyonjo, adding that it costs $ 2200 (sh8.1m) because of its design.
The simple design kitchen island is the third type, which has a granite top, MDF board, a provision for a highlight cooker, shutters and seats four. It is a basic kitchen island with a subtle appeal.
"The full design costs $ 1267 (sh4.7m)," says Nanyonjo.
The fourth type is the kitchen island with circular tops at either end. Nanyonjo says clients find it charming and it comes with a wine rack, shutters, and open shelves. It also has leg room for the breakfast bar and costs $ 2, 200 (about sh8.1m).
The simple oval island kitchen comes with open shelves, drawers and a wine rack, complete with a granite worktop and MDF board. Nanyonjo says it costs $ 2000 (sh7.4m).
She explains that the wooden kitchen islands are more expensive than the MDF islands and take longer to make.
"Usually kitchen islands come with the kitchen and it is rarely bought separately. It takes two months to make a wooden island because of the process of making it from raw wood. They are made here in Kyambogo and it takes two months," says Nanyonjo.
On the other hand, she says islands made with MDF boards are easier to make and take two weeks only because the boards are already made.
Kitchen islands have a number of advantages, and that can explain why they are trending. Nanjonjo says one advantage is the fact that they work as a dining area for breakfast or lunch, especially for a few people. Instead of setting a table for two, the kitchen island's breakfast bar can suffice.
"It increases space for the working area in the kitchen," she says, adding that a kitchen has more worktop surface than a kitchen without an island.
Since some kitchen islands come with storage areas such as: wine racks, cabinets, drawers and open shelves, Nanyonjo says they make the kitchen an easier place to manoeuvre around.
"When you are cooking, everything is within reach; it is accessible so you don't have to move around the kitchen looking for ingredients or utensils," she says.
Nanyonjo adds that as some islands are complete with a cooker and a sink, working in the kitchen becomes much less cumbersome because the island becomes a one-stop centre.
Kitchen islands hardly have any disadvantage, save for the fact that sometimes, people want to change their home décor.
"If someone does not want an island, we can make you a breakfast or lunch or dinner table that can be fixed or not. It will also have drawers, shutters and a wine rack," she says, adding that it can cost $ 884 (sh3m) per metre of MDF board.
Why it is trending
Andrew Tumwesigye of Nina Interiors along Jinja Road, says kitchen islands are the trend because people generally do not have time for fine dining.
"People do not have time to sit and dine at table at home. They are on-the-go," he explains.
He also mentions the general lack of space in homes as new designs tend to the minimalist modern design. This lack of space means that they do not have space for a dining table and so the kitchen island is the best alternative for dining given their limited space.
Nanyonjo says they are trending because of they add beauty to the kitchen. "Our clients buy them a lot when they come to buy kitchens because they add beauty to the kitchen," she says.
She also notes that the advent of the open plan design has made islands very appealing. "Because of open plan design, the islands occupy the space and act as a separator between the dining and the kitchen," says Nanyonjo.