Sunday, November 14, 2010

Kitchen Island Revamp

My kitchen island was one of the first new things brought into our home.

It was a house-warming gift from my Ma. 

Shortly after this picture was taken, a friend leaned on the pull-out leaf, and it nearly tipped over on him. I really didn't want that happening to one of my children.
I realized that I had to do something to make it safer.

It needed legs.

I browsed the Internet for some inspiration.

It was going to look something like this in the end:

I even have the saddle stools ;)

I realized that I loved the wooden top.

More inspiration:

Love that dark wood top contrasting with the white bottom!
The corbels are pretty sweet, too, but that wouldn't solve my tipping problem.

This makes me almost want an all-white kitchen:

Still loving the dark top and white bottom!

So I pulled off the knife block (that I never used)...

...and the towel bar...

...and wood-puttied the holes.

Then I skirted the bottom with some tall baseboard.

Hailey was helping me take off doors.
What a nice helper.

Then I cut the top from a 3/4" sheet of birch plywood.
(I'll show you how to cut large stock in a separate post!)

I added decorative trim to the outside and secured it with just wood glue and tape.
I didn't want finishing nails ruining the trim, and since the trim is merely decorative (meaning that it won't need to withstand any weight) it doesn't need nails.

After a bit of wood putty and a lot of sanding, I had my top.

I love the grain on birch.

To make sure that I brought out the beautiful wood grain in the best way, I made some sample boards to stain.
I liked the one on the right, but I knew I would have to put a few coats on it to darken it.

It's Red Mahogony from Miniwax.

I put the trim on the sample boards to make sure that it took the color the same as the plywood.
The plywood is birch and the trim is pine.

I also applied a wood conditioner to the wood before staining.
Both birch and pine are soft woods, and they usually take stain very blotchy. A wood conditioner evens out the stain.

I added 3 coats of clear high gloss polyurethane.


Next, I had to attach the legs.
I checked online for island legs.

So I went to Menards. I looked at stairs posts. The cheapest ones that were big enough for my project were $50 each.
Heck, I should just buy a whole new island then!

Feeling dejected, I moped to the check-out line with just my painter's tape.
I looked up and I saw the decking department.

"Heck, I bet decking posts are cheaper than indoor posts!"

Sure are!
$12 a piece.
Much better.

So I chopped them to size and added pocket holes with my Kregg jig so that I could attach them to the plywood without drilling through my perfect top.

I didn't stain all of the bottom because it was going to be covered anyways.

Then I placed it on top of the old island and screwed it in place.
I countersunk all of the screws and wood-puttied over them.

After a few days of painting, it was time for new hardware. My current hardware on the rest of my cabinets are aged bronze.
The old silver hardware had to go!

The cheapest ones in the size I needed were $7 a piece.
$42 for hardware?!
Heck no!

So I went home with a $4 can of spray primer instead.
I spray-primed and spray-painted a faux aged bronze finish.
Luckily, I had the spray paint already in my garage.
I used a dark "oil rubbed bronze" finish first (it just looks like a dark grey/brown).
Then a lined up all the hardware on end and gave a quick spray of bronze over the top.

You can't see it in the picture. Sorry.

Anyways, after re-attaching all the doors, attaching the "new" hardware, and adding my centerpiece (of course), I was all done!

Want to see how it turned out?

My mom was extremely surprised that this was the very same island she had bought for me years ago.

I'm thinking that some year I will tear off the two middle doors and make a wine rack similar to this island:

Much prettier, much safer.
I love it!

Coming up:
A quick bathroom organizational idea.
How to cut large stock.


  1. it looks A-Mazing! Girl, you are awesome!

  2. This is just fantastic! You did a great job!

  3. That is absolutely gorgeous! I just love it!

    Your post couldn't have come at a better time for me. I bought a $10 piece of furniture at a thrift store last week to turn into a kitchen island for my son's apartment. I think now I know just how I want to do it. Your "how to's" are wonderful.

    Thanks so much.

  4. Wow! What a transformation! It looks great!

  5. I'm in awe. I love the legs you found and the look they give the piece.

  6. My gosh, I want to do this TODAY! Love it. Well done, well done!

  7. Absolutely beautiful transformation!..

  8. That is awesome! I would love for you to come link up at our Strut Your Stuff Party!

  9. Wow, I'm so impressed. This turned out just beautiful. You did an awesome job.

  10. What an amazing transformation! The island looks fabulous.
    Hugs, Sherry

  11. This is really a nice job. It looks fabulous and I am inspired to work on my own island.

  12. It turned out amazing! I love it! I only wish I had the space to put a island in my kitchen. :-)

  13. That is gorgeous! I can't believe how it started out! I am highlighting this at

  14. What what a beautiful transformation! That's amazing! Great job.

  15. What a great transformation! You're so talented to do all that by yourself. Love the 'new' island!

  16. This looks FABULOUS! I love it!!

    You had great vision!

    Lou Cinda :)

  17. Oh. My. Goodness. This is my first visit. Color me impressed! What a beautiful island. You write like it was so easy! I can't begin to imagine. So I'll just come back for more visits!

    Would love for you to join us this weekend at Passion for Paint!

  18. I have never wanted an island till I saw yours, love it!

  19. WOW... genius! Way to think outside the box and turn what you have into something you love!!! I'm putting your island in the PoPP Spotlight.

  20. Ok, you had me at 'saw'! I am loving your revamp of this island. How not only creative but beautiful yet functional it is. It went for tiny make-do to big usable. Just too fabulous! Thanks for sharing, Terry

  21. Any hints on where you found that cute chevron rug?
    Great job on the island!

  22. I got the rugs at Younkers. Our store Clearanced them out some time ago, but they are still available on the webiste.
    Here's a direct link:

    Make sure you use a coupon! Most coupons work online as well as in-store!

  23. Wow! What a transformation!! You did such a great job on that. Wish I had room in my kitchen for an island. :(
    Hope you have wonderful week.


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