The minute we entered the kitchen on our initial walk through, we both mentioned "this needs an island!" Kyle and I both love the idea of having a gathering spot in the kitchen! So, when we realized it would be our future home, we started plotting "operation kitchen island." This project alone had more exhaustive conversations than I can count. I'll attempt to sum it up for you, but hopefully you still have some of your morning coffee left, because this is a bit long-winded.

First, why we loved the idea:
It serves three central purposes for us:

1) A place for people to gather and sit in the kitchen
2) It filled a lot of empty space in the kitchen layout
3) More countertop space and one additional cabinet (which as been ammazzzinng!)

Space was the biggest issue for us. Our kitchen is L- shaped, forming a rectangle in the empty center space. The size of the island was determined by the need for space around it: standard is to have 3 feet minimum on each side of an island as a walk through, and 3.5ft - 4 ft if you need to open the stove or refrigerator. The last thing you want is to have to squeeeezzzze by another person when you're in the kitchen, it defeats the purpose of functionality. And, since we love hosting, we knew we wanted the island to be an asset, not an annoyance.

This is a "before" picture from the real estate listing:

Once we began sketching out the sizes and playing around with ideas, we realized there was much more to consider:

1) Leg room! The countertop has to be at minimum 10"overhang to give enough room to not hit your knees each time you sit down.
2) The location of where the island cabinets faced in the kitchen (towards the sink or stove)
3) The location of the bar stools and their practicality
4) Space between the island and range and island and refrigerator. We know we will be updating our appliances so there has to be space for them to be moved out and moved in, as well to simply open the stove & refrigerator doors.

The kitchen looked like this for a day as we continued to play around with ideas:

(please ignore the light fixtures and the random woman in the doorway)
That is a screen door that you see there, ironically, it was the same size as the granite would be. Perfect visual.

We envisioned having a "breakfast bar" the entire time, not realizing that it would severely limit the space between the far left wall and chairs (aka, defeating functionality)

The next idea:

A post-it drawing that turned into the real deal, sort of.
(Thank you Gallery Interiors for your help!!)

Essentially, the cabinet would be at one end, and chairs at the other. The granite would be held up by a pedestal in the center of the island, creating "nooks" for chairs to slide in while not in use.

After countless trips to Lowe's, calls to kitchen stores within a 50 mile radius and hours or research, we finally ended up going back to Lowe's.

We purchased an unfinished cabinet for $99.00 at Lowe's. Along with 2x4s, bead board and base board. (Just for reference, if we had had this custom made, it would have been around $2,000.00 just for the base.)
I won't get all technical on you with the exact measurements, specifically because every kitchen is different so no one would be able to follow this anyway. You can, however, easily follow the idea :)

Using the 2x4's, we (as in Kyle, his dad and my dad) built a pedestal out from the side of the cabinet. Because of its weight, granite has to be supported every 12 inches. Legs were another option, but we didn't want to continually hit our knees or stub our toes on them (even though they look nice). The other option was to have one solid cabinet for the entire base, but then there would be no leg space to sit under the island.

(Maizy really likes to find her way in front of the camera)

In order to FINISH the island, we covered it with bead board and the base board which matches the rest of the house. The bead board was put around each face except for the drawer and cabinet side. Once painted, it fit right in :)

Here she is folks!

We decided we wanted the cabinet drawers to face the sink, and I'm so glad we did. So functional!

 Side facing the stove:

Definitely one of the BEST updates we made!

PS. We still have to choose hardware, be patient with me.


  1. Wow!! It looks amazing. Such a good idea! I love the color of the granite.

  2. Wow, this looks like a huge project. Congrats on finishing it, it looks great!

    New follower from the Medical Mondays hop :)

    1. Hi Becky! Thanks for stopping by, excited to read your blog :)

  3. Beautiful- I'm jealous of all the carpenters in your family!!

  4. You two do great work together! Glad to have found your blog - I'm a med wife in the mitten too - we're on the other side of the state from you though I think! :)

    1. eee How exciting! Hope you are also enjoying the 50 degree weather right now ;)

  5. Fantastic! What a project - but well worth it, right?

    Ray Doc Wife

  6. That is amazing... it looks awesome and custom built just for you/by you. I love it.

  7. Hi! We just bought a house and I'm looking to add an island to my kitchen also. Did you drill it into the floor? That is one of my main concerns before I get to building one! :)
    BTW it turned out beautifully!

    1. Hi Lori! We did drill into the floors, into the support beams. We have a full basement that isn't finished, so it was easy to find the beams in order to measure and drill in. We also used 2x4's as support underneath the island (in the exact shape of the base of the cabinet, so the cabinet fit over it perfectly) to make sure it was secure and not wobbly when someone leaned against it. We haven't had any issues with it moving. Best of luck, looking forward to seeing the finished product :)!

  8. Love the marble top of your kitchen island. It fits the theme and color of the kitchen. You will surely love this addition to your kitchen.

  9. I love the seating at the end. What's the distance between the long side of the island and the cabinets and the wall on the other side?


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