Beef up that kitchen island and brighten up your kitchen

April 22, 2016

When we built our house about 4 years ago, we went with darker floors, darker cabinets, and darker blinds.  Looking back, that was probably a poor choice.  My wife had been wanting to brighten up the kitchen a little by painting the island white, sort of like an “accent” piece for your kitchen.  I thought about how I wanted to do it, and I’ll take you through my steps.  She not only wanted it brighter, but she wanted it “beefed up” so it wasn’t just that thin piece of veneer that the kids were bound to kick a hole in eventually.

First thing I did was take off all the trim around the island.  This included the shoe molding as well, which wasn’t easy as the builders, or whomever put in the cabinets used 3″ or 4″ brad nails into the subfloor.  NOT a fun removal.  That said, this is basically where I started.



Next, I removed the doors and drawers from the cabinet, and gave everything that was going to be left up, and not new material a good sanding with an oscillating sander.  Once you do this, you are DEFINITELY going to be refinishing things.  NOTE:  I left the hinges on the door frames as I wanted to make sure everything lined up.  If I did it all over again, I wouldn’t leave them up.  Too much hassle when painting and priming.


For the sides and back, to “beef them up” I installed 1/4″ MDF panels across each side.  I thought about going with hardwood, but MDF is still just as thick, much cheaper, and paints really well.  I tried to keep the nails where the wood trim would cover them, but I did pop a few in the middle.  You could definitely put some liquid nails on these as well, but I didn’t bother as the pretty much sat on the floor.


Next, I used select pine boards for the battens.  I went with 1″ x 8″ on the top and bottom, and 1″ x 6″ on the vertical pieces.  Put up your corners first or you will have way too many edges to deal with.  I made this mistake and ended up going back and redoing it.  Same thing for fastening here.  Used 1 1/2″ brads to fasten, keeping it to a minimum.  All seams were caulked and any deep nail holes were filled with wood filler and sanded prior to priming.



Because I had new surfaces, and some older shiny surfaces, I need to buy primer that was extra bonding so that it stuck to the surface, and had a decent base for the finishing coats of paint to adhere to.  I used Valspar Stainblocking sealer and primer.  This stuff is really thick, and went on well.  I went with two coats to make sure everything was covered well.

For a finishing coat, I used Sherwin Williams Harmony Acrylic Latex in semi-gloss.  I have used this stuff on almost all of the cabinets I have done, and it’s a great paint, covers well, self levels, and is very durable and washable when fully cured.



You can see the finished product turned out pretty well, and definitely brightens up the kitchen a bit.  If you have any questions, please let me know!


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