One of the more unusual islands in the news recently is the quirky and troublesome one near the end of Yann Martel’s Life of Pi. In your home, the kitchen island is likely more top of mind with it often being the centre point of the most used room in your home.

With all sorts of amazing configuration ideas for islands, when Saskatoon HOME saw this U shaped island we thought it was worth taking a close look! This inventive twist for the kitchen is the brainchild of Nathan and Dallas Stobbe, Donna Senterre and their team at Haven Builders. Instead of the rectangular counter, Haven’s design turns that design on its ear. The eye-catching U shaped piece utilizes the kitchen space in a very functional, and entertaining friendly way.

Tasha Baier, Haven’s New Home Consultant, says stepping back to think creatively about form and function can lead to interesting results.The exciting focal point in the open kitchen and dining area in Haven’s recent build on Werschner in Rosewood is a 7 ft. X 8 ft. X 7 ft. U-shaped island with a 3 ft. centre opening.

Creating a Multi-Use Focus «By turning the traditional island into a U-shape and out, we’re turning it into a multi-use area. The built- in stove top is accessible from various angles and it’s induction heating so there’s no danger for kids or guests,» Tasha explains. «The kids can do homework while you’re making supper. It’s perfect for a dinner buffet or party appetizers. The seating lends itself to breakfast dining and you can set it up for gaming, maybe poker night» Even a bit of office laptop work isn’t a no-no.

A suspended hood ensures proper venting. A small bar sink is perfect for prep work and entertaining; the main sink is located in the traditional countertop under the cabinetry. There’s plentiful storage on both arms of the U and it’s left open underneath to allow for comfortable seating and the open view reduces the weighty feel of solid sides all the way around. To further reduce the potential for an imposing feel, the walnut woodwork sits on a light coloured cork floor for a bit of contrast. Topped with white Cambria Torquay quartz featuring a slight sprinkle of colour throughout, and stainless steel accents, the island virtually beckons people to the kitchen area.

The Island Evolution

Form a nd function has been calling for- the necessity of islands in the kitchen since the trend for more open kitchen and dining spaces- and better ventilation-that brought cooking into the realm of entertainment that involves the whole family and friends. First, it brought Mom (usually) out of a small, secluded kitchen with upper cabinets that blocked any hope of a view unless she bent over and peered underneath.The closed- off formal dining room-that usually sat in forlorn isolation in the company of a crochet table runner and a vase of silk flowers while household life happened elsewhere — is a thing of the past.

In the ‘all together now’ refrain of today’s uberopen concept, Haven’s island stovetop means the cook never has to turn their back on anyone. The area is the heart of the home with the island at its core.

Imagination Creates Possibilities

«Nathan, Dallas and Donna love to try something different» says Tasha. «People get used to thinking of only what they’ve seen before, but if you use your imagination, there’s no reason you can’t do something really unique and distinctive.» Haven recently did a reno of a kitchen in an older home; the homeowners desperately wanted a big island but had given up on the idea in limited space. Once the demolition happened, Tasha says, «Their island was back on the table because we could create a completely custom-built one in a unique shape to fit and still allow for good function.

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