Last week we had one of those triumphant moments. The kind where you feel like Mr. Rocky Balboa at the top of the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s lengthy stone stairs, fist pumping and whatnot, because you accomplished something monumental. I can hear Eye of the Tiger playing now as I think about that house project we crossed off the list for good, something that we’ve been working on since…oh…October! We finished (kind of) our kitchen island. I say kind of because now that it’s stained and polyed and hardware-ed, I kind of want to give it a cement top to break up all that wood. But don’t tell Colby! I already have enough projects on the to-do list! Although, I’ll probably wait until after I give the cabinets a coat of green paint.
I adore our island! Absolutely adore it! And it feels so great to have it finished up in the space. I started working on the full post this evening (how we built it, finished it, and organized it) and started to realize that just ain’t happening. It would have taken me a month to write and even longer to resize all 100+ photos that I couldn’t bear to part with for the tutorial’s sake (in truth…I could probably cut that number in half). So today I’m sharing the rustic wood kitchen island in all its finished glory and later this week we’ll get into a how-we-did-it tutorial (or maybe break it down into two or three tutorials if they get too long). It was a doozy of a build!
It’s been great having the extra kitchen storage space to put things we use often at our fingertips. I thought it might be fun to take a little tour of the island to see how we’re using it. I filled the drawers a few weeks ago and I haven’t changed anything around yet so I can’t deny that the organization system so far is working for us. AND we still have room to grow. I can hear Williams Sonoma calling my name now! Let’s start on the far side (opposite side of the sink and my usual work triangle) with drawers one and two:
Drawer one, the drawer closest to the door, holds all our grocery bags and the ever-important Target bags, making it oh-so-easy to grab a bag and dash to Target. And by “dash to Target” I mean to make the hour-and-a-half trek down the interstate to the closet red bullseye. Drawer two holds all our candle paraphernalia. Candle hoard much? Moving down the same side of the island towards the dining room:
Drawer three holds some mini pie plates and my soup crocks while drawer four holds the apple peeler, mango slicer, and gravy separator. In case you haven’t noticed, this side of the island holds the lesser-used kitchen items. The opposite side of the island, the side closest to the sink, dishwasher, and the rest of the counters hold more popular, everyday-type kitchen items.
Drawer five is my most used drawer holding all measuring utensils including a pair of oversized glass measuring cups I scored at a flea market this summer that I’m strangely obsessed with. Drawer six I dub the “baking drawer” as it houses my rolling pin, pastry blender, biscuit cutters, gnocchi tools, and pastry cutters. This is a drawer I can see getting a more sophisticated organizational system someday as my baking gadget collection grows. That Williams Sonoma voice is getting louder!
Drawers seven and eight hold all our food storage containers. Although, if all our food storage containers were clean and not in use at one time there’s no way we would be able to fit them all in these drawers. We can use some of the baskets underneath for overflow storage. But since we cook, refrigerate, and freeze food on a very regular basis, the two drawers have served as enough space.
Most of the baskets underneath the island are empty except for a few on the sink side of the island. That’s where I conceal my mixing bowls and strainers for quick and easy access. Before finishing up the island build, they lived on the open, metal shelves on the other side of the kitchen. It quickly became a royal pain in the butt to walk across the room to retrieve a measuring cup or a mixing bowl. It gave me a newfound appreciation for the work triangle although I miss the extra workout while baking pies.
I’ll get into our hardware choices for the island later this week but I did want to share this guy:
We received this mounted, metal bottle opener as a wedding gift from one of my best friends four years ago and we’re just now getting around to installing it somewhere. I can’t believe it’s taken us this long but we had always dreamed of attaching it to a chunky wood island. We never got around to island building in our first house so as soon as the last coat of poly dried on this guy, we attached the bottle opener to the island with honor. And naturally broke it in with a couple bottles of Long Trail IPA.
I would be lying if I said that I’m not itching to give the kitchen a bit of a “for now” makeover until we can get around to REALLY renovating the space. I know our dream kitchen reno is a way down the road so you just may find me painting the kitchen cabinets and adding a fun light fixture in here this summer (or fall because there’s some serious gardening going on here this summer!). All I can see when I look at the island is wood, wood, and more wood. But until that painting day rolls around, I’m loving the new, chunky wood island that Colby built, drawers and all. I always tell him after finishing a project that “this is the coolest thing we’ve ever built” but I dare say this just may be the coolest thing we ever built: a rugged, solid wood beast of a kitchen island.