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Everywhere I turn, a friend or co-worker is starting a kitchen reno. (Good sign — the economy must be getting better if so many people are willing to update their homes!)

One of most common questions asked of me is: “Should I do an island?” And it is asked in such a way that tells me they don’t want to put one in, but somehow feel obliged. To which I say, despite seeing some pretty beautiful islands, that it seems the harvest table is back.

Photo Blog March 10 Kitchen Islands White Marble

This is a lovely kitchen by French architect Joseph Dirand. And you must admit, this is a pretty spectacular island. It isn’t too big (some islands are so oversized they make actually working on them ridiculous). The almost Shaker-like trim fashioned out of marble is a clever design detail, too. You can really imagine this put to good use.

Photo Blog March 10 Kitchen Islands Wood Table

But compare it with this kitchen by designer Steven Gambrel. The palette is similar; the marble is similar; sheesh, even the floor is similar. But the difference lies in the use of the old farmhouse table instead of an island. And I think it is used to great effect. The worn wood warms up the space — it is a nice counterpoint to all that grey/white marble. It could be used for anything from a prep station (as seen above) to a casual dining table with a mix of chairs pulled around, or even a place for kids to do homework comfortably, while mom or pop are cooking. Double or triple duty — always a bonus! And there is just something about it that begs you to linger in this kitchen.

I often think that while we try to reinvent the wheel, the old ideas have so much heart — this is about a family or friends gathered in the farmhouse kitchen, actually spending time together. And whether you have a big farmhouse kitchen or not, isn’t that the vibe you want in your life?

Still deciding? Get inspired by even more kitchen island photos.

Photo credits:
1. Remodelista
2. Steven Gambrel

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