Santos kitchens with island created by the designer Natalia Zubizarreta

23 / 06 / 2022

For Natalia Zubizarreta, islands are incredibly aesthetically pleasing and practical units in the kitchen. In this article, the interior designer goes over the keys to designing them properly and illustrates them through a selection of Santos kitchens with island designed by her own studio.

Natalia Zubizarreta’s keys to designing kitchens with islands

Kitchen with island open to the living room

Space and size

Natalia Zubizarreta always offers a very valuable piece of advice with regard to islands, which is about being realistic about the available space: if the size of the kitchen isn’t enough to hold an island, it’s actually better not to force the issue and simply do without one. In this regard, based on her experience, the island has to be at least 60 cm deep and 120 cm wide. This way, it can serve as a simple work surface. Now, if it also has to hold a sink and hob, then it has to be at least 320 cm wide. In any case, it’s also important to have a work aisle of about 70 cm around it, which will be enough for an island that has no seating area or is located in front of a work area.

If, on the other hand, the island has to have a counter for seating, 35 or 40 cm of depth must be added to the measurements given above, which would be enough for a sitting area with stools. There must be free space of at least 25 cm deep under the worktop for users to get their knees comfortably tucked underneath it. What’s more, there should be a work aisle of at least 80 cm to the wall, which would go up to 90 cm if the island is found in front of another unit or work surface.

Worktops

For Natalia, the choice of worktop depends on what the island will be used for. If it comes with a washing-up or cooking area, it’s a good idea to choose more hard-wearing materials for the work surface such as porcelain, quartz and granite worktops. In contrast, if the island will only be used as a simple work surface, a wooden melamine or even more delicate materials can be chosen as the demands on it will be much less.

Finishes

Natalia thinks islands play a special role in kitchens due to both their shape and layout, which is normally right in the centre. It’s for this reason that the designer believes in giving them a personality of their own, even though they might deviate from the overall look of the rest of the furniture. Thus, based on her perspective, it’s certainly possible to have a kitchen with units featuring fronts in a white finish and set them off against an island in a wooden finish and worktop in dark hues. The outcome would be extremely attractive, giving the room nuances and layers to make it look even better and more intriguing.

Furnishings

With regard to furnishing the island, the designer advises against units with doors which force users to bend down. She recommends going for drawer units with full-extension, large-capacity drawers and double drawers, as these are more practical when organising, locating and accessing their contents.

Likewise, she underlines the importance of paying close attention to the small details that – generally speaking – contribute towards improving the overall user experience in the kitchen. For example, she suggests having outlets on the sides of islands to make it easier to use small appliances, avoiding the risk of possible spills that could cause electrical problems. She also thinks it’s absolutely crucial to provide the island with auxiliary lighting by positioning spotlights or hanging lamps over it. These elements, aside from providing additional lighting to the work surface, add a tasteful and decorative touch that enhances the island’s area of influence, making it possible to create cosier and more pleasant atmospheres.

Kitchen with island in oak wood

Kitchen design: Natalia Zubizarreta
Santos dealer: Santos Estudio Getxo
Santos furniture: Synchro Rustic Oak FINE
Kitchen layout: Parallel to the island
Photography: Felipe Scheffel Bell

Kitchen with island in wood by Natalia Zubizarreta
Santos kitchen with wood island open to the dining room
Kitchen design with island in oak wood
Rustic kitchen with island in oak wood

White kitchen with island open to the living-dining room

Kitchen design: Natalia Zubizarreta
Santos dealer: Santos Estudio Getxo
Santos furniture: Innsbruck White FINE
Kitchen layout: L-shaped with island
Photography: Felipe Scheffel Bell

White kitchen with island designed by Natalia Zubizarreta
White Santos kitchen design with island
White kitchen design with island by Natalia Zubizarreta
Santos kitchen with island open to the living room

Kitchen with island in a very cosy atmosphere

Kitchen design: Natalia Zubizarreta
Santos dealer: Chiqui Sarón
Santos furniture: Cashmere ELEA
Kitchen layout: Parallel to the island
Photography: Felipe Scheffel Bell

Kitchen ideas with island by Natalia Zubizarreta
Santos kitchen ideas with island
Open-plan kitchen with island by Natalia Zubizarreta
White Santos kitchen with island and breakfast stools

White kitchen with island and glazed enclosure

Kitchen design: Natalia Zubizarreta
Santos dealer: Chiqui Sarón
Santos furniture: White Silk Matt ÉPOCA
Kitchen layout: L-shaped with island
Photography: Felipe Scheffel Bell

L-shaped white kitchen with island by Natalia Zubizarreta
L-shaped white Santos kitchen with island
White kitchen with island and glazed enclosure
Photos of kitchen with island open to the living room

Kitchen in black, white and wood with island and eat-in area

Kitchen design: Natalia Zubizarreta
Santos dealer: Chiqui Sarón
Santos furniture: Silk Black LAH FINE (Base units) / Vertical Earth Walnut FINE (Wall and tall units)
Kitchen layout: L-shaped with island
Photography: Felipe Scheffel Bell

Kitchen with island and eat-in area open to the living room
Kitchen with island in white, black and wood
Kitchen with island in white, black and wood designed by Natalia Zubizarreta
Santos kitchen with island in white, black and wood

White kitchen with island in a holiday home

Kitchen design: Natalia Zubizarreta
Santos dealer: Chiqui Sarón
Santos furniture: White Silk Matt LISSE
Kitchen layout: Parallel to the island
Photography: Erlantz Biderbost

White kitchen with island open to the living room
Kitchen with island and breakfast stools by Natalia Zubizarreta
White Santos kitchen with island for holiday home
Kitchen open to the living room designed by Natalia Zubizarreta

Natalia Zubizarreta Interiorismo

Barrio Peruri, 33 – 3ºB – 48940 Leioa (Vizcaya)
T +34 946 752 127
hola@nataliazubizarreta.com
https://www.nataliazubizarreta.com

You can find more information about Natalia Zubizarreta and her studio at this link.

Photo of Natalia Zubizarreta

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