To wit, I was transforming this:
I bought this kitchen island from Walmart.com a few weeks ago, intending to use it as my “cash wrap” for the upcoming Holiday Market and future events. I need an effective and efficient way to transport the rather bulky technology I use and thought this might do the trick.
The island is very portable, sturdy and secure enough for me to not be in constant panic about my equipment getting broken or pilfered. But it’s so… vanilla. Knowing that the island will be stored somewhere in my house for the other 361 days of the year, I had to spruce it up.
I used a couple panels of beadboard MDF brad-nailed to the sides and back, and then covered the top and bottom edges with a 1 3/4″ base cap. (I had two 12′ lengths of base cap as a souvenir from the previous owners of our house, so that isn’t reflected in the budget below.) I also covered the corners with corner trim and put another strip of base cap across the front underneath the drawer.
After using wood filler to repair all the little brad holes, I broke out a “new” toy that’s been sitting in my house unused since April:
It was my first time using it and I’m pretty pleased with the ease of use and the result. Apparently, I didn’t thin the paint adequately, because the texture of the finish is rougher than I would like. After a little post-painting research online, it seems that an 80/20 ratio of paint to water is the way to go; I wasn’t even close. (The paint is “Swiss Coffee” by Valspar, in case you’re a color-junky. I think it’s my new favorite white.)
I also added some new hardware (Davis by Allen + Roth) and a keyed lock to the drawer.
Last but not least, I stained the butcher block top. If I had known in advance this seemingly simple task was on order of magnitude with the labors of Hercules, I would have passed.
The innocent-looking blond wood in the before photo belied its sinister strength; there was some kind finish on it that did not want to come off. After two aborted stainings and as many attempts with an orbital sander, my sweet husband attacked it with a RapidStrip disc. The RapidStrip worked fine in removing the finish but left quite a bit of “character” in the way of gouges and visible lines.
Another sanding spree (using 80 grit, then 100 grit, then 150 grit, on the orbital sander and then 220 grit by hand) didn’t completely remove the “character,” but in the end, I managed to get the butcher block to absorb the stain. I used three coats of Minwax Walnut stain followed by two coats of a satin polyurethane.
By The Numbers [1. In the interests of full disclosure, I should mention this island cost my husband quite a bit more than $152. Due to an oversight brought on by utter exhaustion, “someone” left the garage door open and the garage light on all night after finishing the trim work on said island. The unfortunate result — that an opportunistic and not very savvy thief made off with my husband’s combo set including a cordless drill, circular saw, reciprocating saw and flashlight (while leaving behind the battery charger and several more valuable tools) — should actually add several hundred dollars to the overall cost of the island rehab. But since you are more likely than I to keep your wits about you and close the stinkin’ garage door, the replacement cost of these tools is not endemic to the project and as such is not reflected in its bottom line.]:
- Kitchen Island – $99
- Beadboard Panels & Trim – $26
- Paint – $12
- New Hardware – $9
- Drawer Lock – $6
- TOTAL: $152
Not a perfect job by any means, but it’s done — for better or worse. I’m satisfied with the end result and I think it will be very functional without looking utilitarian. Plus it gave me an excuse to reacquaint myself with power tools. I’ve got wheels turning again…