By Betsy Cribb
January 19, 2016

Our new decorating columnist, designer Meg Braff, is ready to tackle your beach house design dilemmas.

This month, a reader presented Meg with a question about her kitchen:

"I'm getting ready to redo the kitchen at my beach house, where I now live full-time. I'm used to a peninsula counter, but my friends and family say to go with an island instead. Which one is best?" - Susan Harrison, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 

So what does Meg say?

"I tend to favor kitchen islands over peninsulas. They make great entertaining hubs (because you live at the beach, I’m sure you have your share of guests!), plus they create a versatile workspace for multiple cooks or helpers. The good news is that your kitchen appears to have plenty of room to make this work. Generally, I like to allow 42 inches around—48 inches in areas where someone needs to pass behind you. Where space is tight, 36 inches should be the absolute minimum. (Be sure you have plenty of room to open cabinet doors, too.)"

Check out Meg's dreamy vision for Susan's kitchen!

Meg's Makeover Tips:

1. Add fun coastal color with a dynamic tile backsplash.Get the look: Mosaic House Etoile Handpainted Tiles 

2. Install a new wood hood and paint it white to give the room a handsome focal point. Get the look: Omega National Classic Range Hood, Custom Service Hardware

3. Paint the cabinets white and add a soffit above them to soften harsh angles and better incorporate the cabinetry in the room.Get the look: Benjamin Moore Simply White Satin Finish Paint

4. Replace the stainless steel sink with a porcelain-glazed one so that it relates better visually to the existing counters.Get the look: Elkay Explore Undermount Fireclay Single Bowl Kitchen Sink in Gloss White, The Home Depot

Want to see your own space re-imagined in the pages of Coastal Living? Email (For all the details on how to submit your design dilemma, click here.)

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