Rolling carts and pastry tables add multi-functional moving parts to a built-in island.
Here’s the plain fact about kitchen islands, wonderful as they are. At the usual 36-inches high, they are – for most people – about 2 or 3 inches too high to be highly functional for kitchen tasks like rolling or kneading dough, decorative pastry or confection work, butchering or chopping. Even at 5’7”, I found the section of my 34-inch high cooking school kitchen counter (Homage to James Beard kitchen) to be most comfortable for those tasks. That’s why it makes sense to leave space to snuggle a marble-topped table, separate butcher block table or rolling cart right up next to the island as part of the overall plan.
In an Ikea kitchen set up [top], vegetables are stored in baskets on the lower shelf of the rolling steel cart. How easy it is to move that over to either of the sinks? And during cooking, the cart with its heatproof top can be pulled over near the stove to receive hot dishes, helping to keep the counters clear and transport them easily to the table.
The baking station in the Better Homes & Gardens showhouse test kitchen boasts a marble-topped table pushed up against the main island. The wrought iron base is perfect for housing the heavy Kitchen Aid, which is also handy when you need it. It’s near the ovens and the equipment, too.
An overview of the BH&G island (designed by Chicago’s Mick De Giulio) shows the pastry table and – on the opposite end of the island – a tile-topped serving cart that doubles down on the concept.
A different take on the concept is the French butcher’s block table in the kitchen of a grand villa in Provence. This one has killer charm with its brass corners, towel bar and ring pull on the drawer and it’s perfectly suited to the thoroughly French style of the kitchen.