When designing the kitchen, one of the main challenges we faced was splitting the room to allow enough workspace for us to create our culinary masterpieces, as well as enough of a dining area to eat them in! As I’ve previously outlined here, we didn’t have quite enough space for a dining table between the kitchen and living area, so along came the idea of a central island with an overhang for high chairs or barstools. This way the island could double up as a work surface and storage unit, as well as a modern eating area.
As we were transforming the original kitchen island, we already had a wooden base unit from which to work from, with dimensions already set. All we needed now was the worktop to be installedto finish things off. The unit itself was a good size, measuring 60cm wide x 275cm high. We worked out that we would need an extra 35cm in width for the overhang, giving enough space for the chairs to neatly tuck underneath (and enough space to make sure our knees wouldn’t be banging against the unit!). So overall we needed a worktop which measured 95cm x 275cm. We shopped around but couldn’t find a company which made a surface large enough. Our only option was to go for the made to measure service.
Now I had never taken much interest in worktops before I needed to purchase one, and it turns out there are actually a number of things to consider when it comes to making the choice! As you probably have picked up by now, my default preference of material is wood, so that makes decisions easy for me. BUT with wooden beams as the main ceiling feature, and with our plan of installing hardwood floors, another large wooden surface seemed a bit wood overkill!
Instead, as we had opted for white kitchen units with black handles, it seemed appropriate to go for a darker surface to avoid the space becoming too neutral or bland. A dark grey or black surface could break things up nicely.
As we had been happy with IKEA’s choice and service when it came to the kitchen units, they were our first port of call when it came to locating a made to measure worktop, and again, I have to say that their service was fantastic. With a number of different materials to choose from, my first choice was granite. However, as these things always seem to go, it was also the most expensive material. As we required a large surface with a made to measure service, let’s just say that the final quote was waaay beyond our price range. Being one of our last purchases to make, and with our purse strings tight, we didn’t have a large amount to spend, so in the end our only realistic option was a laminate surface, which we opted for in black. While the quality is no match for the granite, money only goes so far, and by opting for laminate we were saving ourselves literally thousands of euros. We could always invest in a large wooden chopping board on which to actually prepare food to avoid marking the surface as much as possible, and we would need to get into the habit of avoiding placing hot pots and pans directly onto the surface. In the long run, if we really wanted to we could always save up and invest in a better surface later down the line.
Our order took 5 weeks to process, and the delivery of the surface was what we could call a ‘delicate’ procedure when trying to manoeuvre this big, heavy chunk of material through out front door! Again, with a limited budget, we installed the surface ourselves which is the upside of opting for a laminate material as we were able to screw it relatively easily into the wooden frame. Once installed, the results were great, giving us a large space from which to work, with the overhang doubling up as a table.
With a set of high chairs purchased a few weeks later, the eating area was now complete!