After we moved into our house, we had a small housewarming party. All the guests stood awkwardly around our low kitchen table. In addition, the size and shape of our house didn't give us very good options for storage.

So, we decided to do away with a dining table entirely and instead make a standing-height kitchen island and maximize our storage inside it.

A kitchen island can be a great way to organize pots, pans, utensils, flatware, and small kitchen appliances AND provide you with a nice countertop, eating area, and workspace.

In this Instructable, I'll show you what went into designing a kitchen island to make it into the centerpiece of our home. In fact, if you follow any of my Instructables, you've probably already seen my kitchen island, as it doubles as my photography and video studio.

Step 1: General Design

To start with, you need to ask yourself some questions.
What do you want this furniture to do? What specific items to you want to store? How do you want to access them? Anything special or unusual you want to include?

We decided that we wanted a large counter-top work area which could be used for cooking, meals, and entertaining. The island specifically would have an organized spice drawer, a bread drawer (no room for a breadbox on our counter) and a LARGE utensil drawer. I've lived in too many places where flat or narrow drawers jam because a potato masher doesn't quite fit right. We wanted space for lots of pots, pans, and baking sheets, silverware, utensils, and storage containers.

We needed space for a trash can and recycling bin.

We also wanted to seat two people, with flexibility for many more.

We wanted storage space for books and videos. (The kitchen and living room are one space open to each other. The island also acts as a divider.)

We wanted to be able to use electric kitchen appliances on that counter.

We also wanted something that would match our existing kitchen and bathroom cabinets.

Once we decided what we wanted, we looked through books and magazines to get style ideas. We also started noticing the details of other people's kitchen islands - how tall, how wide, what materials, how big was the overhang.

From there, we made a collage from magazine clippings of the features and styles we would like for the island, and I made sketches showing what I would want included.

One of the key components of the kitchen island would be the butcher-block top. I've always liked the look and feel of wood counter-tops. Although granite has been popular for a while, it has always felt too cold and hard for a kitchen. Wood naturally seems to have a warmth and glow to it. My father had a very large, very beat up, butcher block top in the corner of his shop. He gave it to us, and we designed the entire kitchen island to make the best use of the size of the top without cutting it.

I also took photos of our kitchen and bathroom cabinets and some other woodwork. We provided the collage, sketch, butcher block top dimensions, and photos to our friend-of-the-family cabinet-maker, and allowed him to design the exact dimensions of the kitchen island.

He returned to us two drawings and estimates, one for a simpler style, and one for a more ornate one. We chose the simpler style, which we liked, and it would be more affordable.

I am not much of a wood-worker, and on a large and complicated piece of furniture like this, it made sense to leave much of it to a professional. That said, I installed all the brass knobs, painted the cabinet, papered the shelves, installed the electrical, and oiled the wood butcher block.

<p>This is one of the best instructables I've seen in a long time. Well done.</p>
<p>Very Cool! Would love to build something like this one day (and have a kitchen to match it). No jokes about the DVD collection (Office Space makes up for any negative comments that any may make).<br><br>Something that I would have considered adding would have been a dimmable LED down-light under the overhanging shelf, but as you have so much light there anyway, it may have been overkill.</p>
<p>This is pretty cool. Good guide to start with in building mine. One of the many reasons I want an island is because there is not a lot of cabinet space but the most important reason is because there is no dishwasher. I have had portable ones before and they suck. Do you think it would be pretty easy to make an island with a dishwasher spot and have someone run water hookup in the crawl space? Thanks for the ideas!</p>
If you've got timber flooring that can be taken up with not too much disturbance you could put in the plumping and electric all at the same time. I've seen some of those fabulous pop up multi-plugs in a kitchen island, such a fab idea if you wanted to WIP out an electric wok or have Lamps or whatever on the island.
As long as there is easy access to a basement or crawlspace directly below, there's no reason why a dishwasher in a kitchen island would be any different than one under the counter. That should be pretty straight-forward.
Cool. Thanks, again.
I freaking love this idea! been looking at this concept for years for my small kitchen. One modification I would make for my home is to put it on casters for easy movement. Bravo!
The maker did mention casters in their follow up description. ;-)
<p>To get a similar look if you don't have advanced woodworking skills or the money to hire a professional you can buy a lower cabinet with drawers from Ikea in the size you want. This will be about 23&quot; deep. If you want narrower then just buy an UPPER cabinet with doors (no drawers)... this is about 11&quot; deep. Then buy a bookcase -- usually they are 11&quot; deep. If you can't find a bookcase that matches height and width of cabinets you will either have to modify it, or if you are lacking the skills to do so, then buy two IDENTICAL cabinets or two IDENTICAL bookcases (one or the other) and put them back to back. Whichever you choose, they will exactly match each other with no modification necessary.</p><p>Also, keep in mind that islands are no more than 36&quot; tall INCLUDING the top you put on it. This is standard kitchen counter height in U.S.A. Sometimes islands are 3&quot; shorter which is acceptable. </p><p> Place cabinet and bookcase back-to-back on plywood platform (that Home Depot will cut to size for you) for both to sit on. I would put casters on this platform so I can roll this island around when I want.</p><p>Then, buy some beadboard from Home Depot and glue them to each side to cover seams and give them a unified look. Add trim moulding as needed to cover raw edges and as desired to just to gussie it up to your liking.</p><p>You can make a DIY top by attaching many boards together until desired depth is achieved, then cut whole thing to desired length, attach to base, sand, and seal with a butcher block oil.</p><p>P.S. if you want an even easier project, buy only the lower 23&quot; deep kitchen cabinets from ikea, then buy their already finished side panels and apply. On the back unfinished side buy an even larger matching panel or cover with beadboard and then paint. Ikea also sells standard butcher block tops that you can cut to length. You could get away with having to do very little woodworking this way.</p>
<p>fantastic </p>
I love the cabinet. I don't think I could built one as nice but this is awesome! I don't remember seeing it anywhere but what was the cost of the project vs buying already built
<p>That is so beautiful and functional - I want one! Favoriting this one so that I can come back to it one of these days when I have a decent sized kitchen. :D</p>

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Bio: Ordinary guy with no special skills, just trying to change the world one backyard invention at a time. See more at: http://300mpg.org/ On ... More »
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