Simone Biles' statement island is tapping into the latest kitchen trends – experts explain why

There is a lot to admire in the gymnast's Houston home – starting with the multi-functional kitchen island

Simone Biles
(Image credit: GettyImages)

Olympic medallist Simone Biles' is a force in international gyms – but we're taking design notes from her Houston mansion – most specifically, her kitchen.

The gymnast's all-white kitchen offers much to be applauded – from her color-drenched walls and cabinets to her herringbone tiles and trio of chandeliers that add immediate interest to the space. However, if we had to pick one stand-out feature, we'd say her kitchen island comes out on top – for reasons that are more than aesthetic. 

With its sleek monochromatic chairs, veined marble, and curated accessories (we're looking at that vase, particularly), there's no denying that her island is good looking – but for Simone, her island is equally functional – as she appears to use the space as a dining spot, too. And this hasn't gone unnoticed by experts, including H&G's Global Editor in Chief, Lucy Searle.

'It's no secret that kitchen islands are, above all, functional – but Simone has reminded us of another way to use this centerpiece – and that's as a dining table,' Lucy says.

'Of course, we expect that Simone has a designated dining room somewhere in her mansion, but there will always be something so welcoming and homey about the informality of sitting amid the kitchen's buzz. In the right circumstances, an island can be more sociable – and in all circumstances, it acts as a reminder that the kitchen is the eternal centerpiece of a home.

'However, I can pick up another kitchen trend that Simone is hitting here, and that's the curved kitchen island. These are gaining popularity because they knock the hard edges off the design, saving floor space, plus they make the seating more sociable still.'

Lucy Searle
Lucy Searle

Lucy Searle has written about interiors, property, and gardens for over 30 years. In 2018, she took on the role of Global Editor in Chief for, taking the site from a small magazine add-on to a global success. She was asked to repeat that success at Homes & Gardens, where she has also taken on the editorship of the magazine. Lucy is a serial renovator and also owns rental properties in the UK and Europe, so she brings first-hand knowledge to the subjects she oversees.

And bespoke kitchen designer, Tom Howley, agrees. He says that islands are 'replacing tables' as the focal point in modern kitchens – but this is no surprise – considering their versatile benefits. 'They’re a functional, stylish central feature that act as a space to prep and cook food, eat, drink, and socialize.'

Plus, while you would be forgiven for believing that white kitchens aren't as functional as some kitchen colors (because of course, it's a hard tone to keep clean), Tom explains that – surprisingly – this hue is among the most functional of all. 

‘Timeless white kitchens will be big in 2023. This is inevitable because of just how much time we’ve spent in them, having transitioned from the bustle of commuting to an office into a work-from-home lifestyle,' the designer says.

'We need our homes to feel that much roomier, lighter, and brighter. White kitchens do this perfectly, offering an energizing, transformative aesthetic to any space and mastering the art of illusion, making smaller kitchens feel bigger.'

If you'd like to emulate Simone's kitchen, these are the best buys.

White kitchen or not – we can all learn a lot from the gymnast's multifunctional island – and replicate its style before our next (informal) dinner party. 

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.