Island Journey Part 1

Journey is the perfect word for this adventure we’ve been on with our kitchen island.  It’s been one of those experiences in home ownership where I knew we wanted to renovate it, but didn’t quite make up my mind until later….basically I was Taylor Swift and this island was all the men of Hollywood under the age of 25.  

The island started off in the warm wood that the rest of the kitchen cabinets were…


…then it got primed white (but never fully painted white because I thought an accent color would look nice)…

…turns out that the dark accent color was nice…but not for me.  The undertones were slightly off and distracting me from our beautiful kitchen wall color (aka the other man).  Plus, it was broke up the kitchen to make if feel more cramped.  We have a house that is roomy and feels open and spacious…but the kitchen is probably the one room that has a lot of wasted space and weird layout.  By painting the island dark, it made the space feel tight.

I knew that we were gonna redo the details of the island from the get-go.  The corbels were very ornate for my taste and I wanted the ones on our shelves to match the island corbels in design.  Plus, I wanted the little overhang on the left hand side of the island to be changed into narrow shelves.     

Right before our Tile Shop photoshoot, we decided that it was high time to get this bad boy done.  We immediately put Will to work. 

Not too shabby, huh?!  He’ll be building his mama a chicken coop before I know it :)  Seriously kid…get on that.

Jeremy finished off the job…he just used a mud knife and a hammer to separate the glue on the corbel from the granite.

Then it came out with a gentle tug.  The only thing besides the glue that was holding the piece in was a couple finish nails. 


Demo was complete when we removed the quarter round around the base, some trim around the corners and the decorating mini trim on the backside. 

Most of the lumber that we used for this project was 1×6’s.  We didn’t do a ton of planning…just knew we wanted something clean and I had a little sketch on a napkin.  Jeremy was really patient with me with this one because I had to use words like “then the wood goes here to here and then the other wood goes on top of the wood and meets the wood here.”  real nice Katie.  way to be clear and concise. 

Here are our compressor settings just in case you wanna tackle this project.   

We love our air compressor for projects like this.  I would definitely recommend it as a top tool for DIYers.  It’s just so stinking versatile.

Okay…so building.  Here we go with the hundred photos.  Try to keep up….this is a crazy post.

So the first thing I wanted was to change the front of the island so that it looked more like a piece of furniture.  To me that meant removing the toe kick area.  I thought it would look better just straight down. 

So Jer ripped some scrap wood to build out the toe kick and screwed them in.

Then we used two 1×4’s sandwiched together attached the the scrap wood. 

The end of the cabinet needed to be built out to accomodate my narrow shelves.  So we cut four 1×6’s to length and attached two of them together for each side.  The right hand side had to stick out…so the backside of the island would line up directly in the middle of our sandwiched boards.  This will make sense later.

After they were attached together, it was time to attach them to the end of the island.  Jer clamped…

…he drilled pilot holes…

…then used long screws to attach it. 

The bottom of the shelf area needed to built up to account for trim work so the base was built up like so…and yes, it did sit up off the floor because the trim that would wrap around the entire island would need an additional inch or so above it to look right.  Again…it’s gonna make sense later.

The top of the shelving unit was attached with glue directly to the granite and then clamped in place. 

The right hand side of the shelving unit was then attached to the bottom and top with the nail gun.

The bottom of the backside also needed to be built up…it’ll make sense later.  We attached a 1×6 as a “build-up board”.  See how the bottom board runs directly into the side of the shelf wood?  Need that. 

Then wanted to continue it along the other side (the one that is closest to the stove).  In order to continue the “build-up board”, we had to remove a little piece of wood that extended along the toe kick.  We used our Roto-Zip.  It was done in like two seconds.

Jer did a little fancy wood working to make the build up board fit nicely around the facade of the cabinet. 

Here’s the whole shot…

As you can see, we had to remove the outlet.  It was too close to the edge of the island and doesn’t ever get used.  Since we have an outlet on the other side, this one (closest to the mini sink) was overkill.  So Jer switched off the electrical power and boxed the outlet to the inside of the island.   

Then came time for vertical boards.  Since the backside already had one vertical board (the side of the shelf area), we added another vertical board to balance out the trim.

Then we added a vertical board on the stove side (see how it covers the hole where the outlet was located?)

and another on the other side butting it right up to the facade.  This meant that we would later come back and add a tiny strip of wood so that the width of the left vertical trim would match the width of the right vertical trim.  (get all that?!)

Here’s how it looks before we added that tiny piece…

Now back to the backside that looked like this…

Then we added another vertical piece directly in the center and two lower trim pieces directly over our build-up boards.  It looks cray-cray…trust me…it works out in the end.

After marking the centers of both sections on the backside, it was time to attach the corbels.  First we glued the corbels into place.


You have to hold them in…or be able to drill through the back of the cabinet.  We added a few finishing nails too….you know…so that it can support an elephant and pass my boyfriends sturdy test :)

Then we added two horizontal pieces on either side.

Then it came time to trim out the entire thing.  I wanted the trim to wrap completely around the entire piece – giving it a really nice finished look.  The only problem was that we had cabinet doors that were lower than six inches.  So we formulated a plan to use two pieces of trim…and then just one on the front.  What we ended up choosing was a flat chair rail and a door casing. 

Eskimo baby (complete with facial hair) slept through the entire shopping experience. 

So when we got home, it was time to attach the trim. First the casing. That went around the island completely.

Now do you see why we had those build up boards?  If we omitted them, then the trim would have gone under the horizontal pieces….looking wonky.

This is the opposite corner.  The casing went completely around…and fits nicely under the cabinet doors. 

Oh and you can see, we added one tiny little strip of wood to balance out the widths on the stove side.  Now those vertical pieces are nice and even.

Right about then is when we decided to add a little letter.  It’s cheesy.  It’s done by everyone and their brother since 1950…but we figured that even if we were the ones to find it (which is very likely), it’ll be a funny way to remember where we were and what we were doing in 2013.  I included just a handwritten note and a copy of our christmas card (it’s the only photo we have of all four of us). 

Jer secured the board on top…forever encapsulating our package.


This was also our first little shelf!  Horray!

Now it came time for our other trim.  This would sit directly on top of the casing. 

The trickiest part is the front of the island…because of the doors and you want a clean transition.

We went back and forth deciding whether to miter the little tiny corner pieces or not.  In the end, we liked the clean cross cut look the best.  And you can see how it looks when the door is open too…


The other end had a little bit of a longer corner piece…but still the same effect. 

 WHEW!  Now it’s time for wood filler, sanding and painting!  Sorry about the WAY too many photos but I know that a lot of you will want to build out your own island…and pictures speak a million words.  Hey, it’s a lot better than me saying “attach the wood to the wood above the other wood”, right?!



  1. Kellie says

    No wonder you can bribe/coerse Jeremy into doing jobs, look at that photo of you and the twins! ; ) You look great post baby and the island is gonna turn out amazing! looks great already

  2. Laura says

    Omg you are the worst with the cliff hangers!!! And by “the worst” I mean “the best”! Of course, you did say ‘part 1′ in the title, suggesting there would be more parts to come. I can’t wait to see how this turns out.

  3. Brooke says

    Two thumbs up for the gorgeous island and looking great post baby! Congrats on the baby wearing, too. Your boyfriend should stick to the wrap, though. The Bjorn is not at all ergonomic for little ones because they are literally hanging by their genitals :( Few people know this, though, so spread the word! Wraps, on the other hand, are a fantastic choice when properly tied, as is the Ergobaby (often more popular with men because of the easy backpack-style straps and snaps).

    • says

      We asked our pediatrician about it and even though there is a lot of rumors about it being bad, she said that she has yet to find a valid study that proves the Bjorn is bad for the facing out baby. She did say that certain designs have been proven to be hard on mommy…that’s why I go with the wrap. If I could get Jer to go with the wrap I would but he actually really likes the Bjorn and is comfortable in it. Oh and just to be clear – he wears Weston for maybe ten to twenty minutes a couple times a week…so it’s very infrequent. He tried the Ergobaby but said that it was just too hot and complicated. I’m sure that different carriers are like different jeans…they are gonna fit different people differently.
      xo – kb

  4. Angela R says

    Amazing!! I am slooowwwwllllyyy learning to think my projects through to get more of the details ironed out- it really frustrates my husband when I’m wishy-washy in the middle of a project!

    Anyways~I know lots of other will probably comment- but HOLY BOOBS BATMAN! You look amazing! I’m sure your husband was smirking the whole time he took that pic (if he did… maybe you’ve trained Will already?) “Katie- just bend this way- no, a little more to the left… now downa little… JUUUUSSSTT right!” hahahaha My hubby would ;)

    Can’t wait to see the finished product- loving it!

    • says

      Yes he did take that photo…and yes, when I posted it, he said “man I am good!”
      I guess I deserve to have the breastfeeding boobs hanging out there when his booty is all over the place :)
      xo – kb

  5. says

    I haven’t looked at your blog in a couple of weeks (long-time reader, infrequent–if ever–commenter) but Katie, you do not look like you just had a baby. Go you!

    I love the direction your island is headed. I can tell it’s going to be amazing. And, cheesy or not, I think it’s awesome that you left a little time capsule. :)

    • says

      Oh gosh – SPANX! And breastfeeding. I am not where I need to be yet (still 15 more to go till my prepregnancy weight and 30 till I’m my ideal weight!)
      xo – kb

  6. Constance says

    Wow – all around! I am seriously impressed and looking forward to seeing the finished project! Innocent question – are they island drawer crooked (or just the door fronts)? I might be seeing something not there, but if they are do you have plans to fix those or not too noticeable?

  7. says

    I love this post :) Seriously, through the whole thing I was like, what…the heck…are they doing?! And, of course, at the end I loved it! Great job you guys! I’m glad Will had a front row seat to the action, too!

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