Disappearing Kitchen Island

[Tim Thaler] has been redoing his home, adding some fancy automation here and there. But when it came to the kitchen, he went all-out by installing an iPhone controlled disappearing island. In the video clip after the break you can see [Tim] dial up some extra counter and storage space from his smart phone. One click causes it to slowly rise from the depths, shedding the carpet tiles as it goes.

Directly beneath the kitchen is an unfinished storage room. [Tim] framed a hole in the floor above, and sourced a used scissor lift for about $380 to do the heavy lifting. It operates smoothly and isn’t all that loud. It sure makes for an interesting feature if he ever decides to sell the place.

We thought it was a nice touch that the storage room hiding the mechanical parts of the hack has a hidden entrance. You must travel through the billiards room in the basement to access it, turning the ball rack to unlatch the entrance.

[Thanks Mallie]

31 thoughts on “Disappearing Kitchen Island

  1. Given the quality of the build otherwise (it is AWESOME), I’m a little surprised that a trapdoor wasn’t used. I’d just as soon have a food preparation surface that people DIDN’T walk on. The floor pad things are going to offer only minimal protection, particularly given that sliding around is crucial to their function.

    Still… awesome.

  2. Hydraulics or pneumatics with some simple mechanical locks wouldn’t cost that much more (if at all), and would be practically silent and as smooth as when the island dropped down. The scissor lift is overkill, and noisey, but a good price.

    Carpet squares being pushed aside? Eh.

    Overall, really neat.

  3. Cool build, I would rather see some smooth and nearly silent hydraulics. A trap door would be a perfect addition to this build and wouldn’t really take all that much more effort. Over all…GREAT JOB

  4. A soulution for a problem that doesn’t exist? It must be annoying to look for your cell phone any time you want to chop vegetables. How about just a switch on the wall?

  5. Im sure like most islands there is some type of storage in there so a collapsible table wouldn’t work to well.
    I agree that you would want some type of sliding trap door that cover the top of the island…you don’t want people walking all over where you prepare food.
    Very nice though!

  6. While it’s wasteful of water every home with a modern water supply has a low PSI hydraulic power source that can do a lot of work if properly designed.

    As they say different stroke, for different folks. But this is something I don’t understand, unless someone needs their kitchen to do double duty as a dance studio, or something similar. My home has a kitchen island, I can’t imagine having to do anything to make it available for use. Like the toilet is most useful by being there at the ready. I could imagine all the neighborhood kids going to that home to take a ride on the counter, if a family with kids ever own one.

  7. Kudos on the effort, but it doesn’t sit flush with the floor, which is the main reason for the loose carpet tiles used as camouflage.

    And you might lose 1 to 10 toes if you are standing with a toe under the kick plate when it goes down. Like a full sized nibbling tool!

    Is there a light fixture above it by any chance? How awexome would that be for changing light bulbs ;-)

  8. “In Soviet Russia, Kitchen phones you!”

    Neat, except the tiles, I can hear the arguments already – “Why do you never put the tiles back after you?!”.

    @h4x0r as for the actually article tl;dr; but the phone does make a handy universal remote for a lot of projects, and I don’t really find it that hard to locate, mine is normally stuck on me. But agree that a wall mounted switch or hidden switch al la James Bond villain would improve the build.

  9. Hmm… If it droped a few inchs lower and a panel slid across from under the floor next to it and popped up through the hole to match the level of the floor when it island was lowered so you were not walking on the table top. And the carpet squares had neodymium magnets stuck to the underside and are pulled back by another set of magnets on the sliding floor panel when it moves back under the floor revelling the table top. And after being lowered the carpet squares would be pulled back to their original position. Hmm… If I put this much thought into useful ideas I might be a lot richer haha

  10. nice project

    for the hidden switch idea, what about adding a mic and some circuitry or mcu
    so you can “double tap” the floor with your leg
    and the serfuce whould rise a few seconds later.

    somting like double clap to close the light
    in a room but with step dancing in mind :)

  11. Perhaps some sort of beam break switch. Add some fail-safe such as two beams require breaking.

    Would look cool if you stood in the right spot for long enough (3-5 sec delay) then it pops up.

    OR…and the future of home automation…stick a kinect in the room somewhere that looks for a subtle gesture when it detects the operator in a bounded area of the room before triggering the system.

  12. Low PSI water sources (~50 – 70 PSI) are unsuitable for hydraulic purposes, which tend to run 3000+ PSI. You *can* multiply them using hydraulics but not with water PSI alone.

    Also, I don’t understand the confusion here exactly over the scissor lift and hydraulic terminology. You could do this with a hydraulic scissor lift – all of the ones we have are in fact hydraulic and some can lift somewhere around 5000+ lbs as a working load.

  13. ok, everyone needs to RTFA. Its a hydraulic scissor jack he got used off of ebay. The island can be lowered with either a wall switch or his iphone.
    Also, the pool cue rack that opens the utility room actually lines up an RFID chip and that is what opens the door. Seriously cool home automation/hacking going on here.
    Walking on your counter top is not as gross as it seems. Unless you never clean your floors, and you wear your shoes all over your house. The worst thing to me is that he lets cats live in his house.

  14. It’s really cool, but as a homebuilder myself I don’t really see the practical use of it, given that the floor area “lost” to the Island is so small.

    When exactly will you be using this?
    When you’re cooking, you’ll use the Island.
    When you’ve got visitors, you’ll use the Island.
    Why do I spell Island with a capital I?

    .. my 2c.

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