Sweat equity is a precious commodity when you are a dedicated recycler and a frugal soul in need of a kitchen island. Invest yours in one or more lower cabinets, salvaged from the own kitchen renovation or claimed from a trash-day curbside “market” or a friend’s junk pile. Clean, repair, buff and improve the cabinet for a custom made kitchen center that suits your space, mirrors your style and shows your skill. Give that dumpy old cabinet some legs for an extended run as your new kitchen island.
Clean the salvaged lower cabinet from a kitchen renovation, wiping it down, washing away dirt or mold, and removing any drawer pulls and lining paper. Take the drawer out, if there is one. Brace or stabilize any loose frame so that the cabinet is strong.
Measure the height of the cabinet and subtract that in the planned height to your kitchen island. This will decide the height of the legs you add to the base along with a brand new countertop.
Choose countertop material to get a brand new top that will cover the present cabinet and stretch approximately 3 feet beyond it. Select from slabs of butcher block, granite, laminated hardwood or even reclaimed barn wood. Factor the thickness of the counter material into your height calculations to your island that is finished.
Sand the cabinet all over to eliminate layered paint or varnish and to supply a “grabby” surface for paint. Sand the drawer front.
Prime and paint the cabinet and drawer, inside and outside. After the primer dries, apply the first coat of paint. Milk paint has an old quality and can be encouraged to chip if you’d like a classic- or even shabby chic-style look to your finished piece. Apply a second coat, waiting for the manufacturer-recommended time for your first coat to harden. Remember that dry or humidity heat will influence drying times.
Paint the turned legs and any block or bun feet to your cabinet to match the new closet finish.
Cut a piece of 3/4-inch plywood the size of the cabinet top and the end overhang you need — the overhang provides a “table” for snackers to sit on stools and gnosh while the chef prepares a fancy repast — or even Mom rolls out the cookie dough. Sand and paint the borders and a 4-inch border around the bottom and top of the plywood to match the closet.
Secure the bun or block feet — if you are adding them to raise the cabinet height — along with the counter base to the cabinet with wood screws, countersunk so that they do not stick up beyond the plywood layer. Attach the separate turned legs to the plywood overhang.
Drill one hole for a wood screw at each end of the cabinet, right throughout the plywood base along with also the old closet leading, for attaching a slab of butcher block or a different wood counter.
Spread epoxy or construction cement on the plywood counter base and lay the granite or wood counter on the foundation. Allow the adhesive to set. Secure wood screws into a wood counter from underneath, in the pre-drilled holes, to further secure a timber counter. Use screws only long enough to connect all 3 top layers without breaking through the surface of the butcher block or timber slab. The granite top is heavy enough to be secure once glued down.
Alter the drawer and drawer pulls. Petroleum the timber top or seal the granite to defend the surface of the kitchen island.