My Colorful New Island!

People often ask me if I've ever refinshed furniture before or taken on painting projects. Of course! Have I ever actually documented them, yes! But not very well or in depth with step by step explanation. So drum roll please! You are about to be shocked and amazed. Why? Because I actually finished a BIG project almost all by myself with lots of photographs!

The problem, a lack of kitchen storage for all my culinary toys! Solution, make it myself!

We went from this....

To this...

(Flat against the wall for more walking space)

 (Perpendicular to the wall for a galley kitchen flow)

Isn't it great. And if you ask my Father-in-Law (Big Papa), he'll tell you its great because its "so functional"! Ha. Well thanks to my Mum in law I have been reafirmed in my bold color choice, which I totally dig, as it appeared on the Nate Berkus Show recently!  Not to mention this color scheme has made its way to Pinterest a bunch!

This whole project started with the fact that  I have more kitchen items than some people have clothes. I love to cook, bake, decorate cakes, make homemade pastas, you name it and I like to try it!  So how was I going to solve my problem. Lucky for us we have a great sized kitchen which gave us a chance to have an Island. Not a huge one, but one big enough to offer more counter space and storage for my odds and ends. So let's begin.

Step 1: Find a piece to fit your needs and budget. At just $45 we found this beauty on craigslist. I was drawn to the price and the small bead boarding design on the doors that could make it more casual farm once painted. Plus the whimsey detail on the toe board.

Step 2: Use a paint thinner to clean off the grime and as many layers as possible. Or in our case the new and terribly done stain the seller put on the same day we said we were going to pick it up. STICKY pick up!  Then sand that bad boy down till it's nice and smooth, in my case by hand! My fingers hated me after!

2a. (optional) Add wainscot to match the details on the front doors and to give me the option of having the island rotate to show the back side and not be ashamed!

2b. (optional) Add support 2x4's. We planned on adding granite on top so we were going to need the support.

Step 3: Get a solid primer and prime all surfaces you're going to paint then sand till smooth. Repeat for good coverage. (note: don't leave your brush out like me! It might dry out if its super hot out)

Step 4: Paint it!! Yay. We use spray paint. Why? It's inexpensive, user friendly and you can change the color if you don't like it and you'd only have wasted $3.

 (Color: Rustoleum Satin Lagoon) 

Step 5: Distress. I just took a razor blade and some sand paper and had at it. I'd never done this technique before and from what I read there is no bad move. Just try and wear it down where you think it would have naturally been worn down. Or in my case...EVERYWHERE!!

(Before the distressing)

Note: sandpaper does leave some tracks of roughness if that matters to you. If it does then just stick to the razor blade.

Step 6: Add stain (Sorry no photo). Just pick your color, we chose Dark Walnut by Minwax, and wipe it all over the place with a clean rag. The longer you leave it the darker it gets. For this part I realized I liked the exposed wood alot since it shows nicely with the contrast of the teal color we picked. Also, if you live somewhere very warm then your stain will dry MUCH quicker so don't go have a lunch break or anything!

Step 7: Wipe off excess stain to reveal your new finish. You can always add more later if you think it's too light.

7a. (optional) Then add some casters to your bottom frame to make the island mobile. With lock option of course.

Step 8: Add hardware and admire your new Island.

Now we did want to add granite but it simply was not in the budget right now. So we cleaned and sanded the top down like we did the rest of the piece and got some wood conditioner that's for surfaces that need to be safe for food preparation.

Buffet (no tax)  $45
Paint (3 cans) $2.98/ea
Sandpaper $8.30
Wainscot (2 pks)  $10.79/ea
Wood Oil   $12.44
  *sandpaper  $3.97
Nail setter $1.98
Hammer  $0
Drill $0
Saw $0
Wood Filler $2.99
Stain $4.58
Hardware $22.61
Wood for Support $7.90
Castors** $21.48

+ Taxes $7.72

Total $169.49

* Not mentioned but needed this sand paper for the oil application.
**Hub retured original hardware for different and cheaper ones and lost the receipt so I'm keeping this for the sake of adding a total

This was a bit more expensive for us since we just moved and down sized on our supplies and ended up needing to buy some more stuff we use to have. If you have some basics on hand it would be cheaper. Especially if you already have the piece you want to make over. 

Overall I love it!! The optional steps I mentioned made the piece so great for us. It gave it the diversity I wanted and made it mobile with the chance of a granite upgrade later. I must add a big thanks though to the Hubby. You know men, there are just certain things they're better at and won't let you do anyway with a their power tool. So he really gets the credit for the support, castors and wainscot application. And considering I tried for months to find an island this was worth the money. The best I ever found was for about $150 for an island half this size and no personality or color. For something that would truly have met MY needs it would have been about $400-$450. So that made for a $200+ savings.

And my problem or issue with my many spices is now obsolete! Silverware drawer turned Spiceville!

And just enough room for my rolling pin which was an issue too! An unplanned bonus!

Now I have a great new piece in the kitchen to give me just the extra space I needed to make my culinary adventures a bit more cozy and "funtional"! Love you Big Papa!


  1. Cute!! I love it! I wish you and I had a chance to be more crafty together whilst in Oakland. :) Hope you're doing well!

  2. I love it! I actually really like the wood top...gives it the butcher block look. What color granite you thinking?

    For heaven's sake buy a palm sander! One that takes quarter sheets of any brand sandpaper. Mine was about $25 and I use it all the time. I think mine is a skil brand. Your hands will thank you!

    And not that I really know much about the subject (cause I don't) but consider adding a few coats of polyurethane to the turquoise. I only do this on pieces that get a lot of use but I would for sure on this because you don't want food splatters, dirt and scrubbing to ruin your pretty paint job. If you do this you need a good paintbrush or you will see brush strokes. I learned that lesson!

  3. looks so cute and fun, maybe one day I'll be creative enought to try on some projects... maybe!

  4. WOW!! You guys did an amazing job! Seriously I'm super impressed. It looks just so darling and fits perfect in your kitchen. Great job Angel!! You should make and sell them :) Hope all is well

  5. Looks nice! I'd love to see how the overall picture of it with your kitchen looks. I actually just bought a piece of furniture I need to refinish, but have yet to start. I'm trying to decide on a color as it's for our bedroom (right now - who knows later!).

  6. remember when you were over at my house, and a package came for Mike in the mail from Joseph A. Banks and we decided to open it, and when I pulled back the tissue paper we both gasped at the sight of a sleek black shirt with a slight pinstrip? We both agreed it was one sexy shirt! Well my dear, this island gets the same gasp. How Gorgeous! I even showed it to mike--and you'll love this-- he gasped at how awesome it was! We both 1,000% agree that your color choice is right on, and the distressed look is killer. You could probably sell it for over $500! So proud my dear, so very very proud! oh, and you need to send me the picture of it, since it's now my desktop background and it didn't blow up that very well. Love you!

  7. Love it! A lot of work and with two little ones. You're good.

  8. I love love love it! So beautiful and very inspiring!

  9. wow, that is amazing!!! Knowing myself, I would have definitely just throw the original piece away and then went out and spent hundreds on buying something I liked. But with your very helpful explanations, maybe one day I will try to tackle a project like this myself. It will help me save some money but also have a blast doing it (hopefully I have fun!). Great Job


  10. You did an amazing job!
    Kristy @ 4 the love of WOOD


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