I knew that this was going to be a piece of furniture that we would have to look at and use everyday, so it would have to be professional looking. Second, it needed to match the rest of our kitchen.
If you decide to give this a try, let me tell you, it is alot easier then you would think. The right tools, and a little planning go a long way.
Step 1: Materials
2 x 4's (this took 8, depends on size)
1/2" drywall (2 sheets)
Drywall patch compund
Decorative metal shelf brackets
Custom counter top
Step 2: Purpose, Design, Location
This island is solely for extra cabinet space and extra counter space. It will not have a sink or any outlets as my house is build on a post-tension concrete slab foundation and cutting into that for new plumbing and electrical is a big no-no. My wife and I decided how much cabinet space we wanted and that we wanted a little overhang for a breakfast bar type space.
The big home improvement stores sell kits with wood veneer that matches prefab, finished cabinets. You place the cabinets and slap the matching veneer on the back and sides then put the counter top on. This is not one of those instructables. Neither of us wanted to be able to see the cabinets from our living room. My wife and I decided how much cabinet space we wanted and that we wanted a little overhang for a breakfast bar type space. We settled on two 15" wide cabinets on each side and a 30" wide center cabinet. Put them all side by side and we had 60" of cabinet length. We went with unfinished cabinets because it would have been too expensive to order the same cabinets that were built into our house, and I could match the finish on my own.
It was important to buy the cabinets ahead of time to help visualize what the spacing would look like in the kitchen when it was finished. I needed to make sure someone could stand in between the island and the appliances and still use them.
Step 3: Framing
Depending on your type of flooring, securing the frame will differ. My flooring is super crappy linoleum that came with the house. It is glued directly to the slab and won't move. I placed the frame where it was going to go when finished and traced a line around it onto the floor. I then rolled the frame onto its back. Using liquid nails I filled in the footprint of the frame on the floor with a zig zag pattern...and little smiley faces. Then I rolled the frame back upright onto its footprint and the liquid nails. I then double checked that everything was aligned and square. Once the liquid nails cures, its not going anywhere so make sure you're happy with the placement.
After the liquid nails is completely cured, which took over night, I removed the temporary braces.
Step 4: Drywall
I didn't have any drywall sheets that butted up together so I didn't need to tape it. I just used draywall patch compound that comes in a premixed pint bucket to cover the screw holes and smooth out the corners. This kind has the handy feature of going on pink and drying white so you know when its ready to sand. Once the patch compund is dry, sand it down so you don't have any lumpy spots over the screws or corners.
After the drywall is sanded I went ahead and textured it. Since this is a pretty small wall I just used texture in a spray can. It took about 3 cans to get the depth to match the rest of my house. Its a good idea to lightly sand the texture after it's dry to make sure you don't have any sharp points.
I took this opprotunity to paint the wall before I put the cabinets in, or the baseboards on so that I wouldn't have to mask any thing off.
Step 5: Cabinets
I had never installed floor cabinets before so I took a second to look how my existing cabinets were attached to the floor, wall, and counter top. My kitchen cabinets are not physically attached to the floor. After the cabinets were stained I slid them in place. I purposely made the wall 1/2" taller then the cabinets to allow for a 1/2" piece of particle board to go on top of the cabinets below the counter top. I did this to give the counter top more support. Most premade cabinets come with some sort of metal or plastic brackets at the corners to screw the cabinets to the counter top from below.
Step 6: Counter Top
The counter top took about 2 weeks to arrive. I would recommend ordering your counter top in advance so as to avoid this delay, but be absolutely sure you know what the final dimensions of your cabinets will be.
Even though the counter top was quite large it was pretty light. I put some liquid nails on the particle board and layed the counter top in place. Then from underneath I screwed through the particle board into the bottom of the counter top. Be absolutely sure that you do not get screws that are too long or they will punch through your counter top.
Step 7: Braces and Finishes
Finally I added the white base board and the wood quarter round to the front bottom of the cabinets. Then I caulked all along the bottom so that when I mopped water wouldn't get underneather the island.
I consider this my first truly successful home improvement because it actually looks like it was built with the house.