I wanted an industrial looking, durable kitchen island on the cheap. Where better to go than starting with Ikea parts?
Steps 1-3 walk you through my design process, or you can skip directly to step 4 for the parts list and construction details.
Step 1: Test fit
Test that everything fits and feels comfortable before you get too far into planning. Use some masking tape to mark where the cabinet and appliance doors swing and where the island will go. Grab a friend and see if you can comfortably perform the kitchen dance. For example, try to unload the dish washer while someone walks from the oven to the sink.
Step 2: Design
Find a design you like.
I visited a lot of stores and websites looking for inspiration. Ultimately, I accidentally stumbled across the "A La Cart" when I was flipping through a magazine. I snapped this picture on my phone and a week later, long after I had forgotten which magazine it was, I was really glad I had done that.
Iterate. Iterate. Iterate. Now is the time to experiment with different materials, shapes, sizes, and features; not after you have bought the materials.
Step 3: Prototype
I had never played with Google Sketch-Up before, so I figured this would be a good first project to try it out. It turned out to be very helpful. Sketch-up allowed me to visualize the object which helped me to start thinking about how I would need to join various pieces. It also has a nifty measure feature so you can measure distances accurately and quickly.