The after reveal of the finished kitchen island

You know how when the Superbowl is on and there are millions of television sets tuned in to see the game and the commercials and the half-time show.  And at the same time, Masterpiece plays a Downton Abbey marathon for the five people who aren’t watching the game?

It’s called alternative programming.

I know it’s Black Friday.  And today online and blogs are all about gift guides and bargains and deals and coupons and specials.

I understand.

My bobby pin and I shopped until we dropped.

But I just got the pictures from the kitchen of the amazing show house (you can read all about the journey here) that we worked on down in Alabama and the before and after photos of a kitchen cabinet turned kitchen island that we built in 24 hours and I couldn’t wait one more day to share.

How to make a kitchen island from a cabinet

Here’s where we started.

This is what the cabinet looked like when we arrived at the house.

It’s one of the original cabinets from the house and Esther saved it and asked me what I thought about transforming it into a kitchen island.  I took one look at it told her she was brilliant and I wish I would have thought about it and all we needed was a little plywood, some power tools and a pair of twinkling brown eyes.

A look at the back of the cabinet for the kitchen island

Here’s the back to you can see where we started.

The back was plywood that didn’t really look finished and the front had molding that didn’t match on both sides and it needed a top.

Minor issues.

The kitchen island in progress

We started by adding the top.

The top of the island is a piece of 1/2″ plywood topped with 1 x 5 planks of pine.

When picking out pine, you want to make sure the wood isn’t warped and each of the pieces has a nice grain that shows up when you stain it.

Here's a detail look at the top of the cabinet

Here’s a close-up view of the top of the island.

We glued and nailed the plywood top onto the island and then glued and nailed the boards length-wise onto the plywood top.

It was a little heavy on one side (you can kind of see it leaning).

No worries.

We fixed that a little later in the process.

The kitchen island in progress

Next we added thin luan board to the sides and back of the cabinets to provide a smooth surface for painting.

We added molding to hide the seams

And added molding to the corners and the sides to hide the seams.

This was almost like a puzzle.

We added the base molding first and then added the piece at the corners.

The edges after they've been added to the island

You can see all the molding in place here.

The last step before painting was adding wood filler.

We let it dry and sanded it smooth.

Supports for the counter

And the leaning kitchen top?

The original plan was to add corbels.

But corbels are heavy and usually feature heavy carving and are expensive and hard to find in a 24 hour period.

So we added these instead.

Guess what they are?

All the supports added to the island

The legs from the bottom of a table.

I know, right?

I wish I would have thought that idea up before Esther did.  It would have made such a better story.


We braced the top with table legs and then the piece was ready to prime and paint.

A final look at the finished kitchen island

Here it is one more time in all its glory.

A little trash to treasure project that looks like it came with the house.

Can’t wait to show you the rest of the house soon.

But in the meantime….

…..we return you to your regularly scheduled Black Friday bargains.

Happy shopping. 🙂

PS  You can follow along with Esther and her house adventures….here.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Stephanie Ray Brown Stephanie Ray Brown

    So love this!!! As well as your previous posts about making holidays less stressful! So funny looking at my notes and noticed ideas to try this Christmas.. Kari's magnolia things and advent w votive candles. I so try to be you! Remember my dropping dead hydrangeas into vases as I said I was playing Keri? No my things do not look like yours... But you do inspire even Kari wannabe but more like Lucy friend of yours. Hope to see you soon!

  2. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    I love it!! I even emailed this post to my daughter. She is going to love the idea. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and your turkey turned out tasty!! You rock!! I can't believe the ideas you come up with. It is truly amazing.

  3. Image for Mimi - 247 Mulberry Lane Mimi - 247 Mulberry Lane

    I’ll take alternative programming any day! No lines, no stress, no cold, tired feet….and the final product is far better than I ever could have imagined! Wow! I can’t wait to see what you have planned for Superbowl Sunday! ;-)

  4. Image for Linda Linda

    I wish I had a pair of twinkling brown eyes!! This island is divine. And I guessed it was table legs for the corbels!! I'm getting good..I love the kitchen..can't wait to see the rest..I could live in the kitchen. Linda

  5. Image for Debbie W Debbie W

    Awesome!! Would definitely rather be drooling over lovely kitchen photos than shopping Black Friday deals any day! Your cabinet is amazing by the way :-)

  6. Image for Leona Leona

    Beautiful Island......But best part was I was going thru Kari withdrawal today. Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving!

  7. Image for Sue Sue

    Love, love, LOVE this KariAnne! I have so many visions of how things could be, but my DIY skills are non-existent. I have decided 2016 is the year I'm going to get me some tutorage, so I can feel more confident about attempting projects like this. Thank you! Sue

  8. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    Sigh. I want one! That is really amazing! No Black Friday shopping...oh wait. I did go buy a new tree but long after the crazy sales were done. Guess that counts. Ha! Can't wait to see more! Happy weekend, KariAnne!

  9. Image for Joe Joe

    Love this. Question, did you attach this to the floor or is this free standing and moveable? If you attached it can you add how you did that?

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