A beautiful kitchen island (finally!)

Welcome to what I like to call







OK, a little dramatic, but really. It took forever. Serious.


It started two and a half years ago when I took our builder basic kitchen island:


And added some molding and paint:


The sides of the island were made from that crapastic laminate stuff that you need to paint with primer. Which I did not. :)

So last May I removed all the molding and replaced it with beadboard and new chunky baseboards:


The little secret that wasn’t such a secret cause I showed you was that I never painted the cabinet side of the island:


I was soooo sceered! I don’t know why, I just didn’t want to touch them! I love our pretty cabinets, and it gave me hives to think of painting this side.

So they stayed like that. For another year and four months. :) More on that in a bit.

When I started my kitchen redo with the help of American Express and their lovely points (whoohoo!) I mentioned I was considering either painting the island a light cream color or a pretty apple green to go with the new lighter tones of the room. I primed the island to see how I liked the lighter, cream idea and it didn’t look right. So I decided to go with the apple green -- it sounded like such a fun idea!!

(Enter foreboding music here.)

I painted that island apple green, and it was a total and complete disaster. It was one of those where you say you just need time to “get used to it” when you really just need time to stop hyperventilating at all the time you just flushed down the toilet. ;)

It was SO bright! OH. my. goodness., it was screaming apple green. The way the light hit it made it completely obnoxious. So I mixed some black into the green to darken it a bit, and painted…again.

It was better! It was growing on me! And then the evening light hit…and it was a disaster all over again. I played the whole, I’ll get use to it (pleeease?) game some more and realized by about 8 p.m. that it wasn’t going to fly. And I looked at the cabinet side of our island and realized something really important – there was NO way on God’s (apple) green earth that I was going to be able to paint our lovely cabinets that color.

I wish I could express to you how wrong the green island looked in our kitchen. (I took pictures with my phone but I’ve since updated to a new one and they didn’t transfer!) If we lived in a beach house – adorable. In a funky, colorful house, perfect. In our traditional house full of warm colors – just wrong. ;) I’m sure it was the tone of that color I picked out that made it look so goofy, but I wasn’t going to try any more. I was done.

So…guess what? I painted. Again. Oh yeah, and again – two coats back to black. It was not a good day around here. ;)

I wanted to (finally) get this island project wrapped up, so last week I got my booty moving on the butcher block top I bought months ago at Ikea. It had been leaning in the garage, unopened, for all that time. (I told you I was highly unmotivated this summer!)

I did some checking around and found a woodworking company that would be able to cut it down to the right size for me. I had a chance to look around their shop a bit, and when I saw the beautiful routered edges they could add to it, my mind started racing. :)

The owner said they could cut it down and router the edge I picked out for $100 – YES PLEASE! I was SO excited when I picked it up last week because this (Numerar Ikea counter for $195):NUMERÄR Countertop  Length: 49 5/8 " Depth: 25 5/8 " Thickness: 1 1/2 "  Length: 126 cm Depth: 65 cm Thickness: 3.8 cm

Was turned into this:


Be still my thrifty little heart.

I was so excited, I installed it that day. I just unscrewed the screws underneath the previous countertop and pulled it off:


When the new top was laid on top, I just screwed them back in, with a couple extra for good measure.

My original plan was to sand down the block and stain it a very deep stain, then poly over the top of it. YUM. But when I saw it in our kitchen, I realized the potential for a really warm, natural looking butcher block instead.

Ikea treats their wood, but you need to do more when you get them installed. I started by sanding it down very lightly, then I did three coats of boiled linseed oil:


You just wipe it on with a white cloth and watch the magic happen. ;) We are not going to use the butcher block as a cutting surface, but linseed oil is perfect if you are planning to do so. It is food safe once it dries.

Because I didn’t want to freak out every time someone put a glass on the island, I also protected it with two coats of tung oil:


From what my Dad told me, the Chinese have used tung oil for about 600 years (give or take a few) on their boat hulls – and if it works for them, it works for me. :)

It gave it an absolutely gorgeous amber finish:


It is just beautiful. And no worries about the everyday stuff that happens in a kitchen!:


If there’s ever any damage to the top, it will be easy to sand it down lightly and reapply the oil. I will probably do a few more coats of the tung oil for an extra strong finish.

To finish off the beadboard, I installed some very thin molding around the top:


The top edges of the beadboad weren’t uneven, but it always looked a little unfinished to me.

I found a fabric I lurve at Calico Corners for the chairs:

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I upholstered right over the old fabric that I showed you here. I love the slightly contemporary look of the fabric combined with the more traditional island.

And I was (almost) done! THEN, I finally painted the cabinets on the other side of the island. And all was right with the world. Two years and four months later. Good grief.

I present to you our completed, never touching it ever again for as long as I live, island:


I did a photo shoot with it from all angles, Austin Powers style…yeah, baby…YEAH!:

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I want to curl up and take a nap on it, I love it so very much. Really. Night night:


Because I’m a sucker for before and after shots, here’s the before, a couple of years ago:


And today:


The I’m shaking in my boots to paint the cabinets before:


And the why didn’t I do this two years ago after:


Total breakdown for the transformation was as follows (over the past two years):

- About $50 for the beadboard, I think? Another $20 or so for the baseboards and skinny trim around the top.
- $10 for black paint. Lasted all eleventy billion times I painted it. 
- $18 for two corbels from Home Depot.
- Chairs were from Garden Ridge, buy one get one half off – about $100.
- Less than $10 in fabric to cover the chairs.
- $195 for butcher block (I had to get a larger size) from Ikea – looks like it’s even less now!
- $100 to have the block cut and routered.
- About $20 for oils, foam brushes, etc. (I had some, had to buy some.)

Oh yeah, did I mention I got a quote of $1,300 for a very similar butcher block countertop from the company Home Depot uses? I saved one thousand buckaroos and it looks pretty darn good! I am SO happy with it, and it was so (grumble) worth (grumble) all the work!

P.S. I’ll show you how I painted the cabinets soon – and what I did that you should NOT. :)

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