July 17, 2012

Kitchen Island Tutorial

A few of you have been asking for more details regarding the kitchen island construction as well as the island countertop. Today we’ll cover the cabinet choices that we made and how we DIYed the butcher block.

First up, the island base. We used Ikea’s online kitchen planner to plan out every inch of our kitchen. Whether you’re going with an Ikea or not, I would highly recommend giving this program a shot. If you have your kitchen dimension you can get a great visual of all the possible layouts. We chose to do a 6′ x 3′ island base with approx. 6’x4′ countertop (12 inch overhang for the counter-height seating). Here’s the top-view using the kitchen planner:

1.2.3.4.5.

1 – 30″ base cabinet with 2+2 drawers. Our microwave lives in this cabinet, but the 30″ cabinet would work just as well on it’s own.

2 – 18″ base cabinet with 3 drawers

3 – This a 24″ opening with no cabinet, just a simple panel running along the entire side of the island to enclose it. We have our beverage cooler here, but a basic 24″ base cabinet would work as well.

4 & 5 – 26″ wall cabinet with 2 doors. Because theses two cabinets are only 12″ deep we had to use wall cabinets. The only major difference here was the lack of legs for support. We screwed the legs in manually, however a separate base can be built instead.

And if anyone is confused with how the cabinets are working together, individual front views:

Now, moving on to the butcher block countertop. As mentioned in the source list we purchased two separate pieces of butcher block from Lumber Liquidators, each 25″ x 8′. We could have opted to purchase a single slab (not offered at Lumber Liquidators) but it would have cost us several thousands of dollars more than the $518 we spent.

After cutting them to size at 25″ x 6’2″ (make sure you have a sharp blade, the butcher block is very dense) we drilled pilot holes on an angle from beneath the countertop with a 3/16 inch counter-sink bit. To combine the two pieces we used several 3-inch wood screws to secure. This process gave an extremely tight fit for a nearly seamless countertop.

And at a distance, the seam is nearly invisible..

We then finished with a few coats of Minwax’s Dark Walnut and a water-based polycrylic (note: not food safe).

If I’ve left any major details out, be sure to let me know in the comments! I’d be happy to clear up any remaining questions :)

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25 thoughts on “Kitchen Island Tutorial

  1. Chris

    This looks fantastic! And just what I needed to see today…our kitchen project is slowly limping along and we’re just about the put in the island. Yay! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Jessie R. Post author

      Thanks Chris!
      Stay positive :) Kitchen remodels always take the longest but have the greatest outcomes! It seemed like ours was taking forever too!
      Jessie

      Reply
  2. Denise

    oh wow so nice to see like thinking! we revamped our kitchen last year & did something very similar with our island. i love how you detailed the individual pieces that went into it! our customization included the upper cabinets as well (so the island would not be 48″ wide – wide is not necessarily better!). and we used uppers that had drawers at the bottom as well for our dog feeding station – http://blondemafia.blogspot.com/2011/08/dinner-is-served.html. nice to see we’re on the same track! love your countertop as well. nicely done all the way around.

    Reply
  3. Inspire Me Heather

    Gorgeous island! I did the same thing by planning it out on Ikea. Mine is a whole lot simpler than yours (love the micro in yours, by the way – I wish I did that) and I have this linked to my kitchen islands post as well today!

    Reply
  4. soljah111

    How did you customize the 30″ cabinet to make the microwave fit? Did you just not install some drawers? Did it fit perfectly in there? Did you have to add extra support to hold the microwave up? Nice island.

    Reply
    1. Jessie R. Post author

      Soljah111,
      We didn’t have to do much customizing to the microwave cabinet. We didn’t install the top two drawers and the microwave simply sits on the shelf and fit perfectly with the lowest drawer. Hope this helps :)
      Jessie

      Reply
      1. Tasha Oaks

        we are installing and using the same cabinet/microwave. the top of the bottom drawer hits the bottom of the microwave…any special hack you did/ Thanks for your help we love what you did!

        Reply
        1. Katie S.

          Hi Tasha – I’m running into the same problem. So far I can tell you that we will have to use the slightly shorter/middle drawer in the bottom slot (totally doa-able, use the same drawer tracks but just use the drawer from what Ikea would show as the middle drawer. If you look really closely in Jessie’s picture above you can see she did that too. I’m still running into trouble with the top of the microwave hitting the top bar/frame of the cabinet. Im not sure what else I can do so I’m thinking I might just have to hack that bar out. Maybe Jessie can chime in & let us know if she had to do that??

          Reply
  5. leslie

    The kitchen looks great! How is your butcher block holding up? We are trying to decide between using a polycrylic or a polyurethane to seal ours, as we do not need it to be food safe either. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Jessie R. Post author

      Thanks, Leslie! The butcher block is holding up great. Still looks brand new :) hope that helps!

      xo,
      Jessie

      Reply
  6. Kate

    Hey! Similar question for you. Why did you go with the water-based? Anything bad about going with the oil, considering we’ll probably want to make pasta on it every once in a while, or play with playdoh (that sometimes gets eaten), or what have you.

    Reply
    1. Jessie R. Post author

      We went with a water based because it has less sheen. We didn’t want anything glossy and the water based dries with more of a satin finish, where as an oil dries as a gloss. Hope that helps!

      xo,
      Jessie

      Reply
  7. Pingback: [Review Request] Need perspective on adding Ikea Adel island to existing kitchen (& painting existing cabs) - will it look wonky? can I make it work? - IKEA FANS

  8. W.O.

    It looks like some of the appliances you’ve bought are Ikea. Is that right? Have you been pleased with them so far?

    Reply
  9. Kimberly

    We are currently looking at lumber liquidators for our butcher block counter tops.. I love how yours came! Especially the stain! did you go with the walnut butcher block or the white oak ?

    Reply
  10. Carolyn

    Love your hard work. Was you decision to go Lumber Liquidators over Ikea Butcher block due to price, quality or selection?

    Reply
    1. Jessie R. Post author

      Thanks, Carolyn. If I’m remembering correctly, Ikea didn’t have the length that our island required. I believe the longest butcher block sold at the time was around 73″ inches and we needed at least 75″, so we went with Lumber Liquidators. Hope that helps!

      xo,
      Jessie

      Reply
  11. Vanessa

    Hi, looking into doing this in our kitchen. Just wondering how you’ve attached the island to the ground? We were hoping to have it so that it could be moved if need be, like on large wheels, but thinking it would probably have to be bolted to the ground?

    Reply
  12. Theresa

    Hi, where did you get your mini fridge/beverage cooler? I am making an island like that with same dimensions from Ikea and like the way this looks!

    Reply
  13. Jill

    I know this is kind of an old post, but my husband and I are looking to put an IKEA microwave in our island. IKEA doesn’t carry a “microwave” cabinet other than pairing it with a built in wall oven, which we don’t really want in our kitchen. Can you give me more details on how you hacked the 30″ drawer cabinet to fit a microwave in it!?!? I would love any tips!!!

    Reply
  14. mep

    Hi – I love your countertop! I’m curious why you went with the maple? I’m about to buy one from lumber liquidators for over my washer/dryer so it doesn’t need to be food safe. I’m trying to decide between the Williamsburg select grade walnut (which I wouldn’t need to stain) or buy a lighter color like maple and stain. I was also thinking of using dark walnut stain and I like the uniform look. Your color looks very uniform – was there a lot of variation in color prior to staining? Has it held up well?
    Thank you!

    Reply

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