Kitchen Island

An island in the kitchen was in my original drawings, but after living in the house for more than 3 1/2 years, I still hadn’t bought (or built) one!  After looking any, many ideas on Pinterest, I finally had an idea of everything I wanted in an island – permanent seating for five, additional seating for three (in the form of a leaf on the long side w/cabinets), a plank top, shiplap sides, mobility (casters on the bottom), and lots of storage.  So…another few months of how-to ideas spinning in my head, and then I finally had a plan.

I started with three cheap-o cabinets from the Home Depot – the kind with a particle wood box and oak fronts.


To prevent the finished island from being too tall attaching casters, I needed to saw off the bottoms of each them.  Before you can break-out the saw, you have to pry off the little plastic brackets that are stapled to each of the corners on the bottom.


Once that was done, I needed to screw them together.  But since the cabinet faces stick out further than the box, I needed some spacers to keep everything nice and square; I used some scrap 1/4″ plywood and wood glue to get the spacers to the size I needed (1/2″); I glued multiple spacers together simultaneously to save some time.


After the cabinets were securely screwed together, the shiplap siding was supplied.  It actually wasn’t ‘real’ shiplap – just 6-pack of 8′ pine lapsiding from Home Depot (about $17).

With the siding in place, it was time for my planked top!  Here’s my first attempt (fail!).  This one is now warping out in my workshop.


I used a diy chalk paint recipe for the white finish.  Walmart paint is fine for this – $8 a quart and since I was going to distress the cabinet – why not?

Here’s the $8 paint:


Mix it with some Plaster of Paris and water and you are good to go.  To give it a distressed finished, I just took my palm sander after it – a little here and there and then more on the corners and edges. Finish off with Minwax Paste Wax.


With the cabinet base finished, it was time to take another try at the counter top.  This time, I used 2″x6″ white pine, joined with a Kreg pocket hole jig (yes, I had help with this :-).  Once the planks are joined, plan on a couple of days of sanding to get the finish you want.  I think I sanded for a couple of weeks (the planks were in pretty bad shape to start).  I then routed the edges with a small roundover bit to take away any sharpness.

I stained the top with Minwax Weathered Oak (3 coats I think).  For the finish, I rubbed on Clark’s Cutting Board Finish.  I think the guidance is to apply and leave on overnight for the first 8 days (wiping away excess in the morning) and then once a week for a month, and then monthly thereafter. Here’s the color, which is different depending on lighting conditions.


Here are the first photos with the top sitting on the island.


I still hadn’t made the leaf, but couldn’t help but to rush out and buy some stools!  The two one the ends are super comfy, but don’t exactly fit up under the overhand of the top.  It doesn’t matter though…because they are just that comfortable.  I got them from Target.


My ex hung the pendant lights (which I’ve had since before I even moved in).  They really made a difference!


I saw a demonstration of a leaf apparatus on YouTube; it can be yours for ~$450.  Why pay for that when you can just make it yourself out of some cheap dowel rods, PVC, brackets, and some repurposed furniture knobs?


I added some cabinet knobs to the end of the dowel rods to pull them out.

Medallions cover the holes when the rods are pushed in.

Here’s the underside of the leaf, which was made from a 2″x10″ pine plank. It’s still not finished, but is functional for the two times a year it is needed.   I made three channels underneath for the dowel rods.  A few screws and ponytail holders secure (turn used loosely) to dowel rods.  I’ll modify the ponytail aspect of the design one day perhaps.