contemporary kitchen

Is a Kitchen Island or Peninsula Better?

Kitchen Island or Kitchen Peninsula?

When you ask homeowners throughout Montgomery county their preference regarding having a kitchen island or peninsula, most say they prefer an island. It isn’t surprising, there are a number of benefits for having an island in your new kitchen:

  • Kitchen islands provide more space for food preparation
  • They open floor areas to move around (including accommodating multiple cooks) and entertaining guests.
  • Kitchen islands may also offer opportunities to place additional appliances, prep sinks, and storage.

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Kitchen islands are generally thought of as more functional than a peninsula.

Despite the island preference, there are instances when a peninsula may be preferable. In the DC area, many kitchens are too small for an island, so a peninsula may be the best design solution when remodeling (keep in mind, that if you really want an island, a good kitchen designer can often still create a small island into a floorplan when remodeling or renovating your kitchen).

Kitchen designers say there are two deciding factors when choosing between a kitchen island or peninsula, or both:

Kitchen Lifestyle Uses Matter 

The stage of life you’re in is a very important factor when considering a kitchen island or a peninsula. By thinking about your family’s lifestyle, the decision becomes easier to make.

Are there still children growing up in the home who may need to use the island or peninsula for school projects or homework? If so, a peninsula may be the better option. A well-designed peninsula can allow children to do homework but remain on the opposite side of where cooking or prep work may be taking place. This design ensures your newly remodeled kitchen serves a dual functioning purpose of a homework area and working kitchen.

On the other hand, if you’re an empty nester, a new kitchen island layout may work better for you. Entertaining guests can be more enjoyable because everyone can be in the kitchen for the evening, enjoying each other’s company and at the end of the night everyone goes home — as opposed to children who will be in the kitchen the next day!

Kitchen Layout and Size Considerations

Another deciding factor between a kitchen island or peninsula when remodeling is the layout and size of the kitchen.

Because a peninsula is fixed to one wall, it is better suited in smaller kitchens where an island simply won’t fit. Acting as a natural divider to separate the kitchen from eating space, the L-Shaped kitchens work exceptionally well with peninsulas as do open-plan layouts.

Peninsulas may be the most practical option for small kitchens — U-Shaped or L-Shaped.

Kitchens with islands should have sufficient space for cupboard doors to be opened. The island itself should have at least 120 cm of clear space wrapping around it. For a kitchen island that will double as a table, be sure to factor in added space for chairs and for people to move around without being too cramped.

Let us help you create the perfect kitchen!

If you’re thinking about remodeling your kitchen, give the kitchen experts at j. allen smith design-build a call. As an experienced design/build firm, we can design and build the perfect kitchen for your home.

Call us at 301-810-5247

In addition to kitchen remodels, we can help with other remodeling projects such as whole house remodels, bathrooms, and home additions

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Open Concept Kitchens

When it comes to remodeling a kitchen there seems to be a common denominator among homeowners – most want an open concept kitchen












Many older homes built in Montgomery County and NW Washington, DC were built with small kitchens. Decades ago, home floor plans included a separate dining room, living room, and kitchen. The spaces were defined by walls or doorways and were disconnected from each other.

Open Kitchen Layout

Homeowners today want to open the spaces between the kitchen and family room areas. With a few exceptions, homeowners also want to eliminate their formal dining rooms when remodeling. In general, open plans are highly desired when remodeling with the kitchen space serving as the hub of all activity.

The open plan kitchen is the space where family and friends can gather. The avid cook can prepare a meal while still being part of a larger group gathered around the kitchen and family room areas. Cooking is no longer a one-person activity. You can welcome guests and family members to join you in preparing a meal or appetizers in an open kitchen.
Having a kitchen space for more than one cook is high on many wish lists. This means that space in the kitchen has to be found so that two people don’t continually bump into each other. Often, this space isn’t usually inside the confines of a work triangle and a good kitchen designer can help you identify the best layout for your needs.

This open plan evolution of kitchen design is underpinned by a change in lifestyle. The attraction of this style of living is the luxurious feeling of open, clear, and light space.

Removing Walls to Create an Open Kitchen

Today, most homeowners don’t want partition walls around the kitchen. Kitchens are part of open living areas that include a place for casual eating and a family room. Often, there will be a home entertainment center focusing on a big-screen TV. Formal dining rooms have also become a thing of the past; if used at all, it’s only for special events.

Kitchen Islands  

Open plan kitchens; with their adjacent family rooms, great rooms, or casual living spaces are often anchored by a kitchen island. Islands are very important to the functionality of a kitchen:

Countertop Space – Kitchen islands add useful countertop space to the kitchen and provide an almost automatic location for a second sink, or cooktop closer to a sink.

Storage Space – Kitchen islands add storage space, cut down the walking distances between work centers, and establish traffic patterns that direct people easily through the kitchen and out of the cook’s way.

Room for Everyone – Sometimes a kitchen designer can create an island that functions as a big table, providing room to eat or appetizers.

Room Dividers – Kitchen islands are also natural room dividers. In open plans, they are shared elements between rooms, with specialized storage on both sides. They are also a shared design element.

An Open Plan Kitchen is the Hub of the Home

Kitchens are expanding and becoming the welcoming focal point of family life and a family-oriented lifestyle. What has evolved is the notion of the kitchen as the hub of the home.

Let us help you create an open plan kitchen!

If you’re thinking about remodeling your kitchen, give the kitchen experts at j. allen smith design-build a call. As an experienced design/build firm, we can design and build the perfect kitchen for your home.

Call us at 301-810-5247

In addition to kitchen remodels, we can help with other remodeling projects such as whole house remodels, bathrooms, and home additions

Bath under cabinet lighting

Master Bathroom Remodel

How Much is a New Master Bathroom Remodel?

There are a number of factors that can influence the cost of remodeling a master bathroom in the Montgomery County area.

How much is a Master Bath?” is one of the first questions we’re asked by homeowners before considering a bathroom remodel. Our answer is always the same – “it depends.” In fact, many times the cost for a master bathroom will vary depending on your tastes of materials and product selections. For a luxury master bath, they can range from a low of $35,000 to more than $100,000 at the upper end of the price scale. Here are the factors that influence costs:

  • Area of the country
  • Size and shape of master bathroom
  • Scope of the renovation
  • Quality of materials and finishes selected
  • Cost of labor
  • Size and shape of master bathroom

The final investment for master bathroom renovations in major cities like Washington DC are typically more than in secondary and rural markets simply because the cost of doing business and labor tend to be lower in rural and secondary markets. This is why you may see large cost discrepancies when watch bathroom renovation shows on HGTV. Bathrooms are one of the most complicated rooms to remodel. When remodeling a bathroom there are a number of skilled trades that are involved such as, bath designers, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, tile and lighting specialists, etc.
The total labor involved (including project management) is also another major contributor to the bath remodeling investment. There will be a direct correlation to the size, shape, and layout of the new master bathroom and the total labor.

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Master Bathroom Scope

The scope of the renovation also affects the price. There are a number of questions you should be prepared to answer regarding your vision of the newly remodeled master bathroom, such as:

  • Will you simply be replacing exactly what’s there (pull and replace bath remodel) with new products or do you plan to reconfigure space (custom bathroom remodel)?
  • Are you moving or adding windows or skylights?
  • Do you need to move or relocate in-wall, in-floor and in-ceiling plumbing, electrical and ventilation?
  • Will your new bathroom need to be brought up to current Maryland or DC codes?
  • Will you need a specialist to install shower doors, a steam system, tile warmers, or cabinetry?
  • Will you need special plumbing and electrical for the new toilet, bidet, bidet seat, sink, faucets, shower systems, tub systems or storage solutions?
  • Are you interested in outfitting your space with the original design fixtures?

bathroom design buildBathroom Remodeling jas design build

Master Bathroom Material Selections

The materials you select for your new master bath remodel will also have a direct impact on your final investment. The j. allen smith design build team can guide and help you make the best decisions that fit your budget and style. Many of the homeowners we work recognize that remodeling a master bathroom is a big decision and they don’t want to regret any upgrades. Many want us to incorporate the latest bathroom trends such as:
Multiple showerheads and body sprays
Rainfall showerheads
Free-standing tubs (and claw tubs)
Floating vanities
Custom bath cabinets
Heated tile floors
Frameless showers
Custom bath storage solutions
Built-in music systems and speakers
Custom tile patterns
If you’re thinking about remodeling your master bathroom, give the bath experts at j. allen smith design build a call. As an experienced design/build firm, we can design and build the perfect master bathroom for your home.

Call us at 301-810-5247.

In addition to master bathrooms, we can help with other remodeling projects such as whole house remodels, kitchens, and home additions.