Monday, March 21, 2016

Kitchen island, take 2

This was our first try at a kitchen island.  It replaced a higher half wall with a higher laminate table that jutted out into the kitchen.  So we my dad cut the wall down and attached a plywood top (very well, with lots and lots of screws) which he then tiled.  It was a massive improvement and served us very well for many years. 

Buuuuuut then I got all kinds of ideas about my perfect kitchen island and I convinced myself that I needed to change things up.  For one thing, we had a ton of empty space in our kitchen between the fridge and the island.  It was wasted space and I knew it could be used better.  Plus, I needed some more storage and drawers so it just made sense to enlarge the island top and incorporate some cabinets.  Also, a friend of my parents' gave us a wine fridge and why not throw that in the mix, too?

So, my dear parents loaded up their car with tools and a cabinet and wood and headed down to help us revamp our kitchen island.

First, the trim and old island top had to come off.  The only way to get it off without destroying the half wall was to cut through all those screws holding it on.  This was the tough part.

The night before, we prepped the butcher block top.  I could not find any that were in the exact size I needed (about 4'X5') or even close to it.  So I ended up ordering 2 25"X8' tops from Menards.  They were delivered free to the store and we picked them up and brought them home.  Unfortunately, there was a bit of a bevel to them so we could not just slap them together.  My dad had to cut about an inch off one and plane it.  He decided just to plane one edge of the other one because we did not have a table saw at our house and it is really hard to cut a super straight line with a circular saw.  Once that was done, he used biscuits and glue to join them.  I don't have a pic of this process, but he actually put 2 biscuits instead of 1 about every foot or so.  Then we used some giant clamps from my uncle to clamp them together overnight.  We did have to use a bit of wood putty to fill any gaps between the two slabs.

The next day, my dad cut it to the length I wanted, just over 5', sanded it and routed the edges so there was no sharp edges.

Back inside, we had the half wall.  We added a 36" cabinet unit that my parents removed from a rental property.  They primed it and removed the doors and drawer fronts in anticipation of paint and hardware.  Then, I had the cutest little wine fridge I wanted to incorporate so my dad built a base to put it on so it was raised up to the level of the bottom of the cabinets.  He also had to build a few structures to place between the cabinet and the half wall as we were going to have some empty space there.  Sorry but I don't have a very good pic of that.

The wine fridge was black but I spray painted the black area on the face of the fridge silver to match our other stainless appliances.

Once the frame was in place, it was time to secure the butcher block to the base with screws from the bottom of the cabinet and through the 2X4 that was the frame for a wall next to where the wine fridge would be.

Then, we added some 1X4 base trim and some 7" planking with 1/4" sanded plywood.

In addition, we removed the trim around the opening between the kitchen and the dining room and replaced it with 1X6 painted boards.  It went a LONG way to completely updating the space and it the first step in pushing me to changing all my trim to white painted 1X4 boards.

Once all the wood and new light was installed, my parents left and I painted the planking and trim with Behr Pure White.  The next day, I attached the hardware to the drawer fronts and cabinet doors and attached them to the cabinet base unit.

Then I cleaned up the mess off the top.

 This was before I oiled the top.  I had to use a ton of oil.  Almost a whole bottle.

Then I stood back and admired...

 One drawer is my tool drawer, the other is for loose papers.  The cabinet houses our printer/copier machine, along with paper, crayons, writing sets for the kids and kinetic sand bucket (which I had NO IDEA where to put previously).

 The light was free from my parents, who had it laying around.  It was white and they spray painted it silver and added a light kit.

I wanted to make the island look like a piece of furniture, not like there was a half wall there.  That is why I choose to use planking around 3 sides of it.

One last comparison...

I scoured Pinterest for ideas for my kitchen island and in the end, it was almost too overwhelming as the options were endless.  It came to me deciding what I needed the island to do for me and then picking the materials that made the most sense.  The only money I spent was on the butcher block, planks, boards for trim, cup pulls for the drawers and spray paint.  I got the light, cabinet and wine fridge for free.  I already had the paint on hand as well as the cabinet door pulls.  My parents supplied the labor, light kit and brought some planks as well, along with screws and nails (Thanks Mom and Dad!!).  My uncle let us borrow the clamps and the device that makes the biscuit holes and even sent me some oil for the butcher block (Thanks Uncle Steve!!).  It changed the look of the entire kitchen and it turned out even better than I thought!

Linking up to

Monday, March 14, 2016



That is the perfect word to describe me and my life right now.  Full to the max, plus just a wee bit more.  Life just seems to be dripping off of me.   I leave puddles of it all over the place.

It's a daily struggle to keep it all together.  Just to not lose too much throughout the day.  I do my best to make sure the kids are picked up, the house is sanitary and not a disaster, we go on a vacation every once in a while, the bills are paid, I am on time to work and give enough of myself to a career I do enjoy but which carries so much responsibility, but not giving all of myself so that I have none to give to my true joys and reasons for living, all while not completely ignoring and becoming a stranger to my partner in crime.

It's a lot.

This saturation right now, I realize this is what I have always hoped for.  What I have worked so hard to get to someday.  All those years going to college, working several jobs at a time, scraping by.  All the decisions that I have made was to get here.

I feel like I finally made it.  I am a real adult.  As I went through life, checking boxes off my list, I still felt like I was a kid just trying to figure it all out.  As if all my life decisions didn't really affect anyone else but me.  It sounds silly but I didn't feel like a true adult until I had my second kid.  Then it all hit me.  Holy crap, I am responsible for other humans who are completely vulnerable and have no choice.  I have to say yes or no to sugar, screens, spanking and a million other big and small decisions.  It was exciting and scary and overwhelming.

I kinda sorta want time to stop.  I would be lying if I said I am a little scared to keep moving forward beyond this time in my life.  Will having older kids and being older myself be just as great?  I cringe a little when I hear, "You will look back on these days and wish they were still little" or "once this stage is done, you will so miss it."  Does that mean I will be miserable and sad in a few years, knowing that the "best days" are gone?  Will I forever view parents of little kids through a lens of green envy?  Is it all downhill from here?

I hope not.  I hope that seeing these kids grow into adults and growing older myself will be just as interesting and fun as it was getting here.