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Neil Patrick Harris Has Some Regrets About His Kitchen Island

How to avoid his mistake.
Julie Vadnal Avatar
Neil Patrick Harris stands in front of bookcase
Photography by Driely S

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Neil Patrick Harris’s weekly newsletter, Wondercade, is filled with his recommendations across travel, food, cocktails, and anything else he’s feeling at that moment. Or as he puts it: “I’ve done a lot of weird things, and I thought it would be great to find a single space where I could present my interests and passions to people who might be intrigued.”  

Thankfully for us, that includes home design—specifically in his East Hampton, New York, home, which he shares with husband David Burtka and their two children, and where he’s taking on project after project, like transforming the garage into a woodworking shop. “I’m doing an exorbitant amount of research on the best table saw, the best flooring, and the best dust-collection system,” he says, before excitedly adding: “Should I go pegboard or French cleats?!” 

Harris isn’t a stranger to getting dirty with a reno—he says he’s a fan of Dyson vacuums and Makita drills—but like any experienced homeowner, he has some regrets about projects past. “In our Harlem brownstone, we [had] a giant island in our kitchen, and I wish that we would have had the countertop overlap the cabinets that are underneath it,” he says. “Right now it’s flush, and had I only thought to have the slab be a few inches longer on both sides, then we could have had six more people sit all around the thing.” 

Over at Domino we happen to know a thing or two about making the most of your space, especially when it comes to kitchens. In order to help Harris out with his island predicament in the future, we found three solutions that are both guest- and storage-friendly.

When in Doubt, Extend It Out

kitchen space with island.
Photography by Nick Glimenakis

If you already committed to an island that lacks comfortable seating space, have no fear: Simply continue your marble surface around 18 inches, give it some legs, and slip some stools underneath. The skinnier-than-usual one in this home, designed by Emma Beryl, provides just enough additional prep surface but also has potential as a homework station.

Best of Both Worlds

bright kitchen space.
Photography by Jason Frank Rothenberg

Don’t let a monolithic island go to waste: Add integrated storage underneath the countertop overhang. Just make sure you use this spot to house items you don’t need access to on a daily basis (think: holiday decor, large serving platters, delicate china).

Take It Down a Level

kitchen with brass hood
Photography by Dave Kulesza

This modern take (the countertop is gray limestone; the base is pitted travertine) adds dimension to the minimalist space while creating the perfect low bar. The tiered arrangement will leave guests feeling like they’ve just sat down in an exclusive restaurant.

This story was originally published in October 2021. It has since been updated.

Julie Vadnal Avatar

Julie Vadnal

Deputy Editor

Julie Vadnal is the deputy editor of Domino. She edits and writes stories about shopping for new and vintage furniture, covers new products (and the tastemakers who love them), and tours the homes of cool creatives. She lives in Brooklyn.