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Birth of an island

Now that the floor is finally laid and finished, it's time to build the new (and improved!) island! Components from the previous island will be used to create the new island- reuse, recycle, rehabilitate! Some of the base cabinets, studs, electrical outlet boxes and wire will all be part of the new island, saving me time and moolah- I am, after all, uber practical and frugal. Really- don't we all enjoy saving money AND getting just what we want?

The island will need to be anchored to the floor because, you know- electricity. I had, briefly considered a floating (rolling) island but quickly nixed that as I didn't want to lose the outlets I had in the old island.

Sadly, I didn't take many pictures as I was building the island- here are two that I took before I lugged the whole thing outside so the floors could be done. The first one shows the framing along the back of the island- there will be one electrical outlet in the middle of the back. The side frame isn't complete, there's only the bottom stud there. (Those tools really make it seem I know what I'm doing, yeah?)

This photo shows the side framing. Two outlets situated high on the side will also support USB plugs- very handy for charging all sorts of things nowadays! The back and side will be covered in 1/2" plywood for durability, especially since people will be sitting at the island. Because the base cabinets had to be raised to get the countertop high enough for seating, new, larger base moulding will be used to finish the bottom.

Before anchoring the elevated base to the finished floor, I carefully measured the distance between the existing cabinets and the new island footprint. Recommendations for the distance vary and you need to take into considerations like appliances and traffic patterns- I went with a 33 inch distance between the stove and sink legs, countertop to countertop. Because there's a main traffic pattern on the far side of the island, 36 inches is the minimum distance from the wall to the edge of the new countertop.

Screws were then drilled through the base into the subfloor and then the surround and cabinets where anchored to the base- that thing isn't going anywhere! I then drilled a hole to thread the main electrical wires through the floor and the base stud and rewired the outlets in the island- the circuit was flipped to check the connections and voila- the new island had power! 1/2" birch panels were cut and nailed to the sides along with 1" trim. I slapped a piece of plywood on top and had a great temporary countertop. Good timing, too- it's the holidays and we need somewhere to prep and eat.

There's a 4" area along the right base cabinet that needed to be finished but I didn't want it to be plain so I decided to do some wood carving to use as filler and detail. Taking a break from the island build and with inspiration from Fran Wood designs ( , I carved this :

The carved areas were painted white, the rest of the board lightly stained and then liberally poly-ed for protection. It will be placed just so when finished:

I love how simple yet intricate Fran's designs are and how they were easily incorporated into this island feature. The carving was done using my Dremel and three different carving bits. Plywood isn't the best wood to carve- I hit a couple of areas in the horse portion that had gaps below the top layer but I was able to fix them will some wood filler.

Time to paint all the kitchen cabinets!

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