Kitchen islands are standard fare in new homes. However homeowners such as myself who live in homes that are 20, 30, 40 or more years old are left with kitchen island envy. When we moved into our home ten years ago we knew that quite a bit of remodeling would have to be done to take our home out of the 1970s time warp it was in and into the modern age.
The kitchen was a biggie. It was hideous. The most offending piece had to be the peninsula style kitchen eat-in low bar counter style nook. There were plenty of other things that were extraordinarily ugly but that was the first thing I wanted out. I wanted to replace that section of the kitchen with a large island.
During the first remodeling phase the peninsula kitchen nook was taken out however the island never materialized. I did think about it and more often than not it was when I was preparing large intricate meals, rolling out pizza dough or trying to find a place to set the groceries on the woefully inadequate kitchen counters. A couple of years passed before I finally got my island. Looking back now I am slightly embarrassed that we just didn’t build the kitchen island years ago since it turned out to be unbelievably easy. It took less than a weekend of work to make the kitchen island and that includes all the prep work and shopping.
Here’s how you can build a custom kitchen island. First you want to measure the area in which the island will reside. Remember to leave a minimum of 32″ all around the island (if possible) so that traffic flow isn’t impeded.
Head straight to Lowe’s or Home Depot’s kitchen cabinet department. If you are on a tight budget your first stop should be the the stock kitchen cabinets department. Most home improvement stores have a reasonably well-stocked ready-to-assemble cabinetry department making it relatively easy to find what you are looking for. If your budget allows you may also be interested in looking at semi-custom and custom kitchen cabinets.
For a very basic kitchen island you will need a minimum of two cabinet sets of the same height and width. If at all possible try to find the same finish and style as your current kitchen cabinets. If you aren’t able to do so then paint or finish the stock cabinets to coordinate with your kitchen’s color palette. Once you’ve found the perfect cabinets for your project then you can choose a surface. The surface can range from laminate to granite. Granite surface are doable on stock cabinetry however you must verify that the combined cabinets can support the granite’s weight.
With the cabinets and material at home it should only take you a few hours to assemble and build your custom kitchen island.
For our project we selected double door cabinets – the very inexpensive stock cabinets made from MDF. We attached the cabinets back to back using joining brackets. Then we cut a large slab of counter material to fit over the combined cabinets – leaving an inch of lip all around. Using L brackets we attached the top to the cabinets in less than 15 minutes. It took more time to assemble the cabinets than it took to actually create
the kitchen island. Now that’s simple.