DIY kitchen island remodel


DIY kitchen island remodel

We took a stock builder grade island and turned it into this by adding trim, paint, hardware and a homemade black walnut top.



Wrapped the island with 1/2″ x 4″ Poplar wood from Home Depot.  You can use the same dimension wood in clear pine from Lowes and it will be cheaper, but we don’t have a Lowes close by. 


We then wrapped the bottom with 5 1/4″ base molding.  I cut a scalloped toe kick in the base molding for the front of the island with a jigsaw.  If the base molding is too tall (the doors won’t close) you can rip the proper amount from the bottom of the base molding all the way around so that your doors will shut.  We were lucky enough that the base molding fit without ripping it down. We used Liquid nails to attach all of the poplar 1/2″ x 4’s and then a trim nailer for the base molding.


I then added panel molding inside the 1/2″x4 poplar for a bit more detail.


Then added primer and paint.  We also switched out the outlets with black ones


Put on some new hardware (Pottery Barn) and added some glazing to the entire island to give it an old world look.  One door shows with glaze, and one without.


We had a friend make the black walnut top from old planks.  And done!  It made such a big difference and we have had a ton of compliments from friends and family.







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20 Responses to DIY kitchen island remodel

  1. acmwheatley says:

    Please feel free to leave comments or questions.

  2. Robin says:

    do you have a post about how you did this? i got a large kitchen island from my uncle when he did a remodel on a house and it actually came out intact. this is exactly what i have been wanting to do to it and would love a tutorial.

    • acmwheatley says:

      Thanks – the island turned out great. We have had neighbors do the same thing after seeing ours. I AM SO SORRY I have not posted the tutorial. I keep meaning to write it and post it. I have the pics already of before, during and after but have not had the time to write the instructions. I plan to post it though….soon.

  3. Jason says:

    Excellent job. People pay top dollar for islands like this. It looks awesome!

    • acmwheatley says:

      THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!! It was so cheap and makes it look custom. We just finished the entire kitchen just like the island. Upper and lower cabinets all trimmed out and a new white subway tile backsplash and under cabinet lighting. I fabricated the light rail for the bottom of the upper cabinets with some pine 5/4″ stock and a Roman OG edge. Will have to post some pics. It was a LONG process…

  4. Kirk says:

    How did you deal with the 1/4″ lip that is on the front of the island? This is the lip that you see when looking at the side view. Thanks!!!

    • acmwheatley says:

      Great question! If you look at the pics on the “kitchen remodel” section on our blog you will see there is one showing the side of one of our upper cabinets before the 1×3 trim is on. I did the same thing on the island. You will notice shims all the way around the side of the cabinet and a picture next to it shows the 1x3s attached. I made the shims from cut pieces of luan (very thin plywood type material you can buy in 4×8 sheets). I found the luan is the same thickness of the face frame lip and i had some scrap sitting around in my garage. By putting the luan strips all the way around the side of the cabinet provided me with a level nailing surface for the 1x3s. After installing the 1×3 there will be a gap all the way around the inside of the 1×3 (or 1×4 depending on which one you use) trim that I covered with cove molding.

  5. Kirk says:

    One more question….how did you do the cutout of the base molding on the front of the island? Thanks!!

    • acmwheatley says:

      I used my kids school compass and drew and arch about 5 inches in from the each end. Just eyeballed it. Then I took my jigsaw and cut it out (took only a few minutes). I will try to take some pics of the process using a scrap piece of base and post them.

  6. Pingback: Kitchen Floor Molding 2016 - Kitchen Floor Plans

  7. Vanessa says:

    I know this is an old post but hoping you’ll still answer……
    Did you install the baseboard after all the side pieces were on and then add the horizontal 1/2 x 4?? I’ve decided this is what I want to do with my island but think I’m going to use 1×4 instead. Thanks!! Your kitchen is beautiful!

    • acmwheatley says:

      I installed the baseboards before the horizontal 1/2×4, but you can do it either way. In the pics you will see that I ran the vertical 1/2×4 all the way to the floor. I then installed the baseboards. When i installed the horizontal lower 1/2x4s i had to cut some scrap 1/2x4s to put behind the baseboards to the lower horizontal 1/2x4s would not fall behind the baseboard….does that make sense? Hope this helps and does not make it more confusing. ha ha Good luck!

      • Vanessa says:

        Yes!! That’s what I’ve been playing with….. Getting my horizontal board to line up with the baseboard. Last question – are your sides and back of the island a mdf type of board? Mine are just cheap stuff builder grade (that’s why the update!!) and I was worried about how paint would stick and if i should cut plywood to fit inside the 1×4. My cabinets are wood but the back and sides of the island are not. Thanks so
        much for answering my questions!!

  8. acmwheatley says:

    The sides i used thin luan board (cheap and paints up nice). For the back i just primed and painted and to be honest…it has not chipped or peeled.

  9. acmwheatley says:

    Forgot to add that i used the thin luan on the sides due to the lip you have from the cabinet. it is the same thickness so the 1/2x4s are flush.

    • Vanessa says:

      Yeah that threw me for a long time but finally realized it’s the same thickness as 1/4 plywood and think we have some of that in the garage so thought I would just cut that in some strip like shims

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