How to Build a Kitchen Island

The original kitchen island was made of 2″x3″ lumber wrapped in very thin MDF paneling that you could make a hole in with your hand.  Also, the cabinet boxes were made with MDF and had the electrical boxes held in by the thin paneling.  The kitchen floor was covered in vinyl flooring that had a somewhat wood looking picture imprinted on it.  So…out with the old and in with the new!
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We built our new island frame with 2″x4″ lumber set on 16″ centers, and doubled up the 2″x4″s on the ends.

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We attached each framed piece to the sub-floor and each other using 3″ screws and a level.   We then wrapped the inside of the framing with 7/16″ OSB and the final wood grain exterior panels.

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We also added 2″x4″ braces at the inside edges of the walls to keep them from moving until we could finish assembling and stiffening the island.  Next, we cut out where the electrical boxes would go and then installed them along with the wiring and receptacles.

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From the inside of the island, we held the electrical boxes where we wanted them to go and then using a black sharpie, outlined the boxes.  After that, drilled a couple pilot holes big enough for our jig saw blade to fit into and cut the electrical box holes.

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After all three receptacles were installed and the wiring was secured to the frame using cable staples, we began installing the exterior panels using 2″ nails to the outside of the island.

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Once the exterior panels were installed, we began the “fun” of staining.

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And since we already had the old cabinets and dishwasher moved out, we decided to replace the flooring, add new all-wood cabinets (we had those made), and re-structure the plumbing at the same time (new shut-off valves and flex lines, along with changing out the drain design to fit the new sink depth).

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Next we added the 1″x4″ and 1″x6″ pine trim to the island to give it a finished look. Remember when meeting up two pieces of trim to create a 45 degree angle, each trim piece should be cut at a 22.5 degree angle so the two of them together will total 45 degrees.  We used a table saw with the blade angle set at 22.5 degrees to cut the trim lengthwise.

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We stained the 1 by trim to match the wood beams in the ceiling, had granite counter-tops installed with an under-mount sink (we used shelf corbels for bracing), installed a new dishwasher, and then installed the new plumbing hardware and fixture.

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We’ll probably end up adding drawer hardware eventually, but for now, we’re just grateful to have counter-tops again!