We have a really nice sized kitchen. It’s out of date by about 30 years, but that’s how it goes when you live in 76 year old house. The current kitchen, along with several other rooms, were added to the house sometime in the early 1970’s. And it shows.
Most people would be satisfied with the amount of counter space and cabinets. There is about six feet of uninterupted countertop on the one side, and another three feet on the other. There is very little space between the stove and sink to work. All that being said, there was this glaring open area in the middle of the room. Space that could be used for an island. That’s it! I’ll buy an island! Or so I thought.
As it turns out, kitchen islands, even small ones, are very expensive. I found one about 1/3 the size I wanted for $800.00. If they had a nice counter top they cost even more. This situation was unacceptable!
As is the way we are, I decided to make my own island. I would choose size, color and countertop. There was no shortage of ideas with all the design shows and the plethora of information on the internet. I liked that idea. So did David. Might as well save some money and keep his wife out of his hair for a while.
This dresser was found at a second hand store. Not much to look at, but it was sturdy and had a nice design. The other one was part of the furniture my husband brought when he moved from Atlanta. It was in equally bad shape, if not worse. It was about 20 years newer but still quality materials were used to make it.
And so it began. I sanded both the dressers, took off the hardware, and began painting. Because it was cold out, the painting took place on my kitchen floor. There were all kinds of paint cans, brushes and plastic all over the floor.
Walking and using the refrigerator was difficult. So was cooking. Everyone was happy when it was finished.
I paid special attention to the fine details of the woodwork to be sue it wasn’t lost in the paint. I wanted an island, but I wanted one with character.
Once I got it all assembled and out of the way, I put on the new hardware and waited a few weeks before I started the second dresser. It looked so much better it was inconceivable that it was the same dresser.
Some months later, when things calmed down from the other activities of the household, we pushed the dressers back to back in the center of the kitchen. I carefully measured the walk way around the dressers to be sure there would not be any obstacles to the appliances or cabinets, and still be comfortable to walk around once the island was finished.
One dresser is six inches longer and 1/4 inch taller than the other. No problem! David will build spice shelves to fill the extra space at the end. For the 1/4 inch height difference, we put 1/4 inch cork layer on the shorter dresser. It worked great!!
Unfortunately, we noticed when we put the dressers back to back that the one had yellowed. After much thought, we decided it was because of the differences in the paint and the original materials used in the production of the dressers. Since we know the kitchen will eventually be renovated, we decided to wait and correct the color problem at that time.
The hardest part of this entire project was deciding what type of surface should we use. Having spent a large amount of time watching HGTV and researching on the internet, as well as shopping at the local home improvement stores, we finally decided to make an oak countertop.
Selecting the wood wasn’t very difficult, but realizing the price of sanded wood is higher than expected, we made sure to choose the best wood for the job. Once we got it home we used sand paper to knock off the sharp edges and round the corners. We used a nail gun to affix it with six 2″ finish nails.
Usually staining wood is a job to do in the shop or garage. I didn’t want to try to bring it in after it was finished without scratching it. After three coats of stain and three coats of polyurethane, it was finished. We are very happy with it and would do it again. We learned some things while doing the project, and those skills we will take with us to the next project.
We no loner have two dressers in our kitchen. We have a center island to inspire me to cook and gives that “wow factor” I’m looking for. Eventually the rest of the kitchen will catch up to the center island.