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Categories: Kitchen and Bath

Tim Thaler’s Magical Retractable Kitchen Island

You’ve seen the ad where a bedraggled couple at the airport suffer through their flight delay by remotely tapping into their home TV system and watching their favorites? Well, how about an iPhone app that gives you a kitchen island from thin air? Though it may seem so, this isn’t akin to the Bud Light ad where the life of the party pours beer from a never-ending tap in his phone, but an extant, functional creation of designer Tim Thaler.

iPhone Controlled Retractable Kitchen Island. Designed by Tim Thaler.

The Retractable Kitchen Island is a Huge Space-Saver

Thaler’s inspiration for his levitating appliance was—like many of time’s best inventions—bare necessity. Thaler was desirous of a versatile kitchen with a maximal amount of space, yet he also needed plenty of storage. Like the proverbial illuminating light bulb, the answer came in a flash as he contemplated the dead space beneath the kitchen.

Thaler constructed his island of Ikea Boxes and custom front walnut doors by Scherrs with matching hardware. He describes the levitational apparatus thusly: “A hydraulic scissor lift is bolted to the cement, and then a small frame is built on top of the scissor lift table. On top of that is a subfloor, flooring, and then the island.”

Retractable Kitchen Island Powered by iPhone Designed by Tim Thaler

The lift is modest by industry standards, yet it can still move a hefty 1,500 pounds, so Thaler installed a safety to avoid the unfortunate occurrence of, say, accidental descent with the doors open: “safety push button switches kill the electricity from the Smart Home Insteon switches, and prevent it from moving when the doors are not fully closed.”

That last feature makes Thaler’s nifty invention all the more marketable, for no budding chef wants his prep surface to literally disappear beneath his feet, unless, of course, all has been prepped, cooked, eaten, and wiped clean—precisely the moment to send the island back out of sight and out of mind, freeing up precious space until the next feast.

Retractable Kitchen Island Powered by iPhone Designed by Tim Thaler

Retractable Kitchen Island Powered by iPhone Designed by Tim Thaler

Via FreshHome.
Posted May 16th, 2011 by Joseph Starr


  • Norma Byrd, ASID says:

    OK, a novel idea, but preparing food on the same surface that has been walked on by street shoes (and the cat)?  Nothing was said about the floor/counter surface being somehow retractible.   I’m not particularly a clean freak but that’s just a bit objectionable to me.

  • Misti Moser, AIA says:

     I agree with Norma.  I love transformable spaces and the piece looks very well crafted, but this is like asking for some disease. It appears that floor panels are placed on top of the retracted counter, but that doesn’t really ameliorate the issue.

  • M734doolan says:

    I agree that the countertop blending with the floor does seem unsanitary. However, I’ve seen plenty of animal owners (particularly cats) that have been allowed to walk on conventional countertops and tables when there is food present. That’s usually my cue to leave.

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