DIY Kitchen Island, updated

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We had big plans on building a completely new island but as time passed we asked ourselves why we were going to go to all the trouble and expense since we are looking at this renovation just to sell the house?

When we discovered that the table legs we had our eye on vanished from the online store and we would have to go with a different size we decided to change plans altogether and make life easier. However, we had also trashed the doors so what to do!?

Here is the finish and countertop with dimensions of the original island:

kitchen island before drawer side dimedsions

We ended up using the same 3 drawer format and built new drawers that were flat against the surface to provide some interesting counterpoint to the other drawers in the kitchen. In any future kitchen I’m putting in lots and lots of drawers! We use these island drawers for spices as they are located across from the stove.

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The three sections below were originally hinged doors which I found really inconvenient as they opened into the aisle across from the stove and you couldn’t access anything in them easily as they were too deep. In this new version they are now pull out, appliance storage drawers (i.e. bread machine, crockpot, waffle machine etc…) with a pierced pattern on the front similar to a Farmhouse pie-cabinet look. LOVE THEM!

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Here is a diagram plan with measurements that we were working from:

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The exterior paint is a latex I found in the Lowe’s bargain bin and we added a black glaze on top to tone down the green. Two additional coats of Velvet Finishes, Protect poly were put on top of that. The stain on the doors and drawers is by General Finishes and is Antique Oak. The hardware is from a local store, Garbes, and the black granite countertop is by Hoffman, a local installer.

We still need to put in supporting brackets under the overhang (something I decided to add when the counter people came out to measure) and some touch ups on paint.

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We ended up loving this color so much that we’ve decided to go with it and repaint the entire base cabinetry to match.

The cream-white chalk paint we’ve lived with for 3 years is far too much trouble on base cabinetry – as this is where the spills mostly happen. Keeping it clean is almost impossible and any stain shows up on the cream -white. The cream-white base cabinetry against the white floor also doesn’t show up as well as I would like either as there isn’t enough contrast between colors.

The repaint is going to be a big pain in the neck, repaint job but it needs to happen. It was a mistake to go this direction but sometimes you don’t learn until you try something out.

Next up though is getting a new backsplash to show off our new granite counters.

Planning a kitchen island

This post I wrote as a draft three years ago… the island will have its new countertop Tuesday and I’ll update with photos. So this is a blast from the past. We decided to go a different direction but I still love these choices so check them out.

Redoing the kitchen included updating the kitchen island as part of the complete kitchen renovation.

The original cabinet is a three drawer and three door cabinet sitting on the cement foundation. Because there is no tile underneath, and we don’t plan on re-tiling the kitchen, the renovation has to take that factor into account. The island’s electrical box will also be moved to improve aesthetics.

One thing to help in the redesign is take photos from different angles you would enter the room. It helps to visualize the entire space. With this kitchen it’s three directions and these are the two most highly trafficked directions:

From the photos, the island looks just like a box, nothing special. It also blends in with the other cabinetry and just looks like more cabinetry. Fashion wise, today’s kitchen islands look more and more like furniture, preferably an “antique” that has been added to the kitchen either before or after it’s construction.

BTW changing your current island or installing a new one, check your code. There are specifics about how far the island can be placed from the stove, fridge, and dishwasher, as well as the width of walkways through the kitchen. You don’t want to change your island, only to find out you can’t remove your stove!

Looking over alot of ideas for kitchen islands and these were my favorites and why:

The blue island has awesome cornerlegs and I really like how the base molding is done. The only fault is the countertop should have been thicker too for better proportion.

I like the proportion of the upper with the lower, shorter leg on this table from Osbornewood.com. I also like the base shelf being completely open. Our design would need the baseboard to go all the way to the floor to conceal the lack of tile.

Another design with the bottom completely open from RealSimple.com. I think the advantage this design would make the kitchen appear larger. My only problem is how this space would be used for storage and is it realistic for how we use storage in our kitchen?

After reviewing what I liked and why, I know I want to keep the drawers. They are way useful and the kitchen runs a bit short on drawers. Another choice for storage would be baskets for holding onions, garlic, potatoes and other dry pantry items and/or vegetables. I like this idea as it would provide texture and country to the kitchen without going overboard.

Our original plan was this, which I love and may use one day however, for this house we completely went a different direction (and I’ll post later about why).

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Adapting drawers for herb and spice jars

The three drawers in the island will eventually be replaced when we build a new island. For now though, I needed a way to keep my herb and spice jars easily sorted.

These French Quarter bottles (Target’s Archer Farms spices) were too big to fit into the drawer with the old organizer, so we came up with this easy and quick solution: a piece of scrap quarter round, trimmed to size, and glued into place. One drawer was warped so a few tacked in finishing nails kept it in place.

This works with any bottles that have a neck as it is the neck that rests on the wooden bar. It angles the jar so it is easier to grab and it keeps them from sliding around in the drawer.

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Kitchen breakfast bar converted to shelf unit

I’ve always hated the breakfast bar in our house. It was never used and always in the way. In the re-design this going to become a bookshelf and display unit. We played around with several ideas and some of the inspiration photos you can view in my Pinterest board for Kitchen (2013), specifically, this shelf design in the kitchen by Ross Chapin.

Supply list:

3: 1x12x12
3: 1x2x8
1: 1x4x8
1: 1x6x8
trim decorative molding
base molding for kitchen area
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First, the breakfast bar countertop is removed and one side trimmed down to the new countertop level. We marked out with green painters’ tape on the ceramic floor the footprint size of the shelf unit.
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Because it would have been impossible for us (with our skills) to redo the back to match the original (see end of breakfast bar) we covered it with beadboard. Eventually, the end of this cabinet unit (where the white outlet is on the right) will also be covered with beardboard and all painted the cream chalk paint color.
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The next step is to start building the frame of the actual shelf unit. These boards are Poplar, a nice compromise as oak would have been very expensive in the size of boards we were working with (and would have been painted in the long run) and pine would have been too soft. There are two upright boards, and three long horizontal boards (one not visible in the photo below) on the floor.
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The left end board has been nailed to the wall. To make these types of units go easily, I highly recommend buying or renting a nail gun. Using a nail and hammer just doesn’t make it go together easily and with less effort as a nail gun and compressor.
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Here you can see the inside placement of boards to allow for the bottom shelf to rest upon, and for the edge to be hidden by the front horizontal board.
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The bottom shelf rests on the boards and is nailed in place.
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On the inside of the uprights, a small piece of wood is placed for the next shelf to rest upon.
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At this point, you can only see it if you look under the shelf. A long, horizontal bracing piece was also placed against the back of the unit to support the shelf. A front piece of horizontal board allows for a smooth profile.
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None of this support is noticeable from above. Two vertical boards are nailed on the front to make a smoother profile:
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The vertical board are not the same height – their shorter size allows a horizontal facing board across the top of the unit.
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Another view of the end of the to show how the boards were fitted together
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The inside uprights, that divided the top shelf into three units is set behind the facing boards. It is nailed in at several points, including the front, the bottom and toenailed in at the back with hand hammering.
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The completed, unpainted unit:
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I’ll put some before and after pics once I get the unit painted. I also hope to get a better diagram of how the boards came together so that will posted at a latter date. I’m not sure when we can afford new countertops as they will be a major expense. My next big investment has to be a new downstairs AC unit not pretty granite countertops! 🙂

Cabinet doors for the kids bathroom

Husband did make me some new cabinet doors for the overjohn cabinet and the sink base cabinets for the kids bathroom as part of the major remodel (we had installed a new ceramic tile floor, new lighting, new counter, new board and batten walls, and a new toilet. If you search here, you can see the entire blog posts list for bathrooms). Those were painted and mounted this weekend. One of those – long dragging out projects that no one wants to do but needs to get done….

kids bathroom sink cabinet after

kids_bathroom_bathroom_cabinet_before_after

I wanted them replaced because I didn’t like the builders standard arch cabinets and wanted something that better matched the theme of the bathroom which was rectangular. I was going to buy them but the shipping alone was more than the doors! I talked to someone building them, but again thought it was rather high. Husband came to the rescue and just made them.

The overjohn cabinet went from arched wooden doors to painted white rectangular frames with frosted glass inserts. The frosted glass echoes the new mosaic backsplash tile which has a combination of frosted glass and marble squares.

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kids bathroom over toilet original cabinet

No construction pics as I wasn’t in town when he built them.

To wrap it up we need to get two towel rings, one for each sink and a towel bar in the bath area. I want to get some bath mats but that pretty much wraps it up with a hamper. This is were builders and architects don’t think things through – this bathroom is really too narrow for a hamper, but a hamper we must have so it will go in the main area and be a bit of an eyesore. When designing rooms PLEASE think of function! Where will furniture, lamps, needed accessories go??

Fridge wall of cabinets nearing completion

More progress on the kitchen. The glass doors have been installed. Eventually the appliances will be replaced with stainless steel. I also have some cabinet pulls ordered for the tall doors (still to arrive). We’ll also be putting in lights in the glass door cabinets and the open cabinet over the fridge.

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Making Headway with the Kitchen cabinets

Just a very quick update on the Kitchen cabinetry with some cell phone pics…

Before

Now… (cell phone camera)

Before

Now… (cell phone camera)

I’ll have the last of the cabinet doors done over Thanksgiving and put in the top cabinet doors to the glass shop to be fitted up. We’ll start on the breakfast bar conversion to a bookshelf through December. I wish the Fairy Godmother could send some cash but as it is we are moving forward… just more slowly then I had planned.

Kitchen – Regular Program In Progress Now…

Got a leap on the kitchen progress again. All the cabinets on the stove wall are in various stages of completion. Here the cabinet drawers are installed with the new cup-pull, hardware. The cabinet itself hasn’t been waxed yet so you can see the color difference between the waxed drawers and the frame (click photos for close up view).

Overall, the horizontal drawers (which replace cabinet doors) I think makes the kitchen look bigger.

Another View

Finally, something in the kitchen is starting to pull together and the vision can be somewhat seen. I love these cabinets but I’m still a bit worried about the durability of the chalk paint.

I can’t wait til the old green countertops and backsplash are gone and replaced with granite or quartz! It will look WOWSER!

DIY Changing Solid Cabinet Doors to Glass Inserts

I found a great article here about the step-by-step process of converting solid cabinet doors to glass. We lucked out and our cabinet doors were panel doors. In the long run, this saved us some substantial money as we were able to change the look of our kitchen without paying a carpenter!

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Like I’ve written before always do a test door before proceeding with your actual cabinets. I had several cabinet doors I was removing for good (converting to open cabinetry) so it wasn’t a problem for me. However, if you don’t have a spare door, check out your local Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore where they sell odds and ends for home remodeling for dirt cheap prices.

Husband used a router but if you don’t have one, they are available for rental from tool shops. You can also find them used at tool consignment shops, on sale during Black Friday at Home Improvement stores, and off of Craigslist. They have great uses!

In the following photos, I marked important areas with a black Sharpie so you could better see what we were doing. Lime green lines are to show areas of interest.This work is done on the INSIDE of the cabinet door, not the face.

For this DIY experiment, we used the paint test door I made for the kitchen.  The areas marked with an X will be removed during this conversion.

When you look at the door edge you can see where the pieces have been fitted together to make the door. A panel cabinet door is not cut from one piece so it makes it easier to do this conversion.

Measuring this area tells you the depth to set your router blade.

Measuring off this side joint, you can figure the depth of the long cutting line from the edge of the inside of the cabinet door. We first measured the longest sides of the cabinet door, the short side, and lastly, the short side with the arch.

We will be clamping down a guide board. The Guide Board helps the router give a steady pass down a straight line. Measure the edge of the router to the edge of the other side of the blade, like so:

The Guide Board is measured at both ends to match the router edge to blade measurement and is clamped down.

The Guide Board was adjusted after we checked the router blade at the draw cut line. The router blade is sitting on the inside of the cut line and that is where it should be (click photo for a close up view).

VERY IMPORTANT!

The Router must be moved around the OUTSIDE of a rectangle (or circle) on a COUNTERCLOCKWISE movement.

The Router must be moved around the INSIDE of a rectangle (or circle) on a CLOCKWISE movement.

If you goof up that is okay – the above directions just make it easier for the router to cut.

The first pass of the router doesn’t make the cut we need so we go back for a second pass. This isn’t unusual during the first cut and you can always adjust the blade. We did the two longest sides first, the short side, and lastly the side with the arch. If you look closely at the second pic in this series (click on any photo for a close up) you can see how the panel is made up of fitted pieces:

The Guide Board is moved when we do the short ends.

All four sides of the inside of the panel are now cut.

The arch of the panel (on the inside of the door) also needs to be removed. You can do this with your router, by just scrubbing the bits out by running the router against the edges.

The inside of the panel lifts right out:

and the cabinet door becomes two pieces…

The doors were painted with chalk paint and went from orange oak stain to an off-white and distressed.

Glass was installed by Robinson Glass with 4 doors: 9″ x 21″ glass inserts with “seedy” (glass with a slight bubble pattern) at approximately $14.50 each panel ($54 total). If doing the glass installation yourself, remember to use a clear silicone caulk.

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Want to see more about cabinets? There’s more on the blog right here….

Room: Kitchen updates on the progress

Of course, the kitchen is the most expensive house to renovate and it’s because appliances, cabinets, countertops, and floors are big money investments.

Mine is no different – between buying new kitchen counters (granite) and putting in new appliances (via Craigslist), I’ll probably be working on it in stages over the next several months. Knowing this is why, among other reasons, I choose Chalk Paint for the cabinet re-do.

Completed:

Wiring and installation of four drop pendant lights, two over the island and two over the kitchen sink prep area.

Wiring for cabinet lights is in place. Still have to install the actual lights (they are rather expensive LED strips).

The four solid cabinet door fronts have been cut open for glass. They are painted and just need waxing before being dropped at the glass co.  (I’ll be updating with a link on the how-to a bit later this month).

Plastering and painting of the kitchen ceiling. The ceiling paint color is white mixed with some of the wall paint color (Rock) so it is not pure white.

Building of the new open shelf cabinetry over the stove and the fridge.

Installing the crown molding to make the upper wall cabinets taller.

Installing the new, pull out, pot storage drawers (4) in the lower cabinets.

Current To-Do:

I’ve decided on what to do with the cabinets. I was planning on using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Old White but that product is no longer available locally. So next I tried Ce Ce Caldwells Chalk Paint and decided to go with their Vintage White color, distressed with clear wax. Since I’m doing it in sections I probably won’t be fully done until the end of September.

I’m still getting quotes on kitchen countertops and my tentative plan is to use the 2013 tax refund to pay for their installation as granite will not be cheap. After looking at a lot of white/cream kitchens online, I really need a very dark countertop,  in the brown family to add contrast to the cream cabinetry (which fills up a LOT of the kitchen) and the white tile floors. The brown has to have no pink or red tones or it will pick up the pink vein in the floor tile which I’m trying to downplay.

Until I finish the cabinets – then decide on countertop, I won’t have a firm decision on backsplash. Right now I do know that 1.) it needs to be a simple cream, off white, 2.) be non-busy and 3.) have texture.  4×4 tiles are very outdated right now but I also don’t want something like piano tile or glass tile which is trendy and will date itself within the next 10 years.

These are Travetine, Subway (3×6) tiles:

This is a rough, tumbled, dry stack look but don’t know if it would work with the kitchen use:

Here are the sizes of the countertops and the backsplash.

I’m debating though on the island counter — should I go ahead and match it with the other counter granite or go with an aged and dark stained wood counter? I kinda like the idea of doing the wood counter top but perhaps it would be too risky…?

The island itself will be changed, most likely around Thanksgiving – right now it’s a huge block of cabinetry right in the middle of the kitchen. I want to keep the three drawers (very handy), but open up the bottom with a shelf. Four new corner post legs will be added for interest and the bottom will have baseboard molding to hide the lack of tile underneath this structure. It will be similar to this in terms of design but smaller and not white.

We also decided to go back to the idea of removing the breakfast bar (it doesn’t work as the space is too tight for stools AND a breakfast table) and instead, put in a shelf unit (something like this perhaps but with all open shelves).

The original sketch … but we will probably change some measurements…

He is also going to re-do the molding around the bay window area sometime in November.

Husband is going to DIY a new, copper vent hood for the stove! We found a website that sells distressed copper and he thinks he can remake our old black venthood into something like this but not as ornate. For obvious reasons we can’t buy a copper vent hood (KA-CHING!) but if he can pull it off it will really be something! I’ll post more when we start that project sometime in October.

The sink faucet I’m currently favoring is from Overstock.com:

The hardware will be knobs I’ve got on hand, as well as some additional cup pulls in rustic brown for drawers from Overstock.com.

The hardware will go well with the pendant lights from Lowes we installed over the island and kitchen counter. BTW I don’t know why this light got negative reviews, did not have the issues other people did and the product is fine.

Lots to do and while it would be nice to show you all a finished kitchen tomorrow, it’s really down to money AND time. Just got to stay focused and moving forward as we can.