Deep Dive: Kitchen Island

One of the more fun things to build was the kitchen island (which I built concurrently with the floating breakfast bar). Originally it was going to be a plain, simple "box" with an induction cooktop and overhead hood. However, the hood presented two issues: one, centering it over the cooktop was problematic as there was a ceiling joist right in the way; and two, I couldn't find one that I liked. So I switched to a downdraft style system.

The downdraft vent became the catalyst for a radical new island design, one with a two-level countertop so the vent could be mounted vertically at the back of the cooktop; this also created some semblance of a backsplash. I went all out and made the elevated part a kind of wrap-around shape with elements of the living space design.

Construction began on 5 August 2016 with a pedestal of 2x6 pressure-treated boards secured solidly to the floor, to create a toespace all around. A conduit, installed in the concrete slab as it was poured, carries electricity to the island, seen at the far left.

The pedestal was topped with a 3/4-inch plywood base. The notch in the center is for the vent exhaust.

On top of the base I assembled a 2x4 frame.

The complex shape of the upper level behind the cooktop was carefully framed out to create a backsplash; the intake vents will be in the center.

The backsplash also provides a perfect place for (code-mandated) outlets, as well as the vent control.

All of the kitchen cabinetry will be custom-built (and I cannot wait to get started it!). Below, the center space will have two cabinet doors; the narrower spaces to either side will have drawers.

The homemade vent ductwork began with the two fittings in the backsplash.

The frame was sheathed in 1/2-inch plywood, which will eventually be clad in either ceramic tile or wood to match the cabinetry.

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