I bought a new house a few months ago, and quickly learned that while I have a decent sized kitchen, I was in need of extra counter space for prepping food (not to mention a little more cabinet space for storage).
I quickly decided my answer was an island, as I had a huge space in the middle of the room (as you can see above). After measuring the available area, my first thought was to repurpose some shelving units from Ikea by attaching casters to the bottom and purchasing a butcher block top. I liked the idea of having "cubbies" for the storage space under the counter.
However, after re-evaluating the space that would be left to walk around the island, and how much space would be left to open both the dishwasher and the oven doors, I realized I would not be happy with that layout.
So after more contemplation, I finally decided the wise choice would be to just use a standard base kitchen cabinet, although I would have still preferred to have the storage space open below.
I found an unfinished, pre-assembled oak 36" base cabinet at Home Depot, and started with that.
However, once I got it home and was able to look it over, I realized there was a reason it was so inexpensive... half of it was particle board and it was only stapled together. So it was coming apart in places from just loading it into the car and then removing once I was home. Good thing I was already planning on covering the sides and back with bead board!
I had to refit some pieces back together at the bottom in the back and also screw a few pieces together where the staples had come loose and/or apart.
I then cut the bead board pieces to fit the sides and the back and screwed them on. Then I primed them and painted them with two coats of Behr High Gloss White, and then two coats of Minwax Polycrylic for easy washing when the sides get dirty from my son's many friends that frequent the house.
I also removed the doors and hardware, and painted the doors, the front of the cabinet, and the drawer front with the primer, high gloss white, and polycrylic.
Once everything was dry, we moved the cabinet into the kitchen and set it in place. Here it sat for a few days without the counter top because I had to special order that from Home Depot. I had been working on the rest of the cabinet while I was waiting for the top to come in, but I was still faster than the store!
Once the counter top arrived, I had to cut it down to size because the smallest size I could order was 30 inches wide by 60 inches long. I needed a piece that was 27" wide by 36" long. I had to enlist the help of a friend to lift the piece of wood onto the table saw and help guide it because it was so heavy.
After we had the piece cut crosswise down to 36" long, we placed it on top of the cabinet, and it actually didn't look too bad with the few extra inches hanging off the back. It also gave me a little extra room for spreading out ingredients when prepping food, so we decided to not cut the counter top down to 27 inches, but leave it as is. We used liquid nail to glue the counter top to the base, and 22o grit sand paper to smooth the top of the butcher block.
I had to cut trim moulding to size, for the base and the back corners. Then I painted it with high gloss white and a coat of polycrylic, to match the rest of the cabinet. I used both wood glue and finish nails to secure the moulding into place.
Lastly, I found matching drawer pulls and door knobs at Home Depot, and installed them.
One last look at the transformation of a plain oak cabinet into a beautifully functioning kitchen island!
Until next time,
Materials and Tools used:
- 36 inch unfinished oak base cabinet (Home Depot)
- 1 sheet bead board plywood, cut into 3 pieces (Home Depot)
- 1 special order butcher block top (Home Depot)
- quarter round moulding
- corner moulding
- 3/4 inch philips head screws
- 1 inch finish nails
- 220 grit sand paper
- 2 each Liberty brand kitchen knobs and drawer pulls
- Behr Premium High Gloss White
- Minwax Polycrylic
- table saw
- mitre saw
- 1 inch paint brush
- cordless drill/screw driver
- liquid nail