I am living in an apartment off campus this year. In preparation I have been scouring facebook marketplace and letgo, to find deals to furnish this apartment. I got a kitchen table and chairs, a comfy chair, an ottoman, a rug, and a toaster oven for dirt cheap. It was very satisfying to find these deals. All throughout my search I was keeping an eye out for one item: a kitchen island. My apartment is nice, but has absolutely no counters, so I knew we would need an island for prep and what not. I had seen one I really liked online for 120ish dollars new. And while it’s not that bad, and I did save a ton on other things, I was hesitant to buy it. The thought that always runs through my head in these situations is: “I could make that”.
Grandiose ideas like this are constantly running through my head, I could make that skirt, which I did, I could bake that, done, or I could make it for waaay cheaper, questionable. And the results usually always turn out good, but usually “good” comes only after a couple failures and wasted flour. So after one trip to home depo early in the summer with my brother, I said, “No it’s almost as expensive, I’ll buy the premade one”.
Welp, after holding off for a while, I looked last week into actually buying said island aaaanddd it was sold out. Like sold out everywhere: homedepot, lowes, wayfair, and amazon. Now I was in a corner, either buy a more expensive one, keep waiting for something on the online marketplaces, or make it. I started blueprints that night.
I got the tabletop from the marketplace because I knew I didn’t have the equipment to make a flush and flat top. So I first sanded that down to get the finish off (I regret not doing a chemical stripper), then sanded to get it smoother, then started applying the polyurethane. At the time I was disappointed because it was such a thin coating and I thought it was the wrong finish. Many youtube videos later, I knew I just had to do a boat load of coats and sanding. After I got in the swing of applying finish, I went to Homedepot to get the rest of my supplies. My plan was to do removable legs and plank boards sitting on a brace attached to the legs. The goal was easy transport, have everything be able to be taken apart and put back together many times.
I got all the boards cut to size at the store to save me the hassle. And went home to start sanding and painting. Major downside was that the hand sander that my dad had was the really old type. The sand paper wasn’t velcroed in but held into place with latches. It worked for about 1 minute at a time until it fell off. I tried hand sanding ( fail ) then decided to just move on and lather it all with paint. So I did.
After sanding and painting it all was a lot less stressful. Putting it together I used hanger bolts, pocket holes, and corner braces. Not the simplest construction, but I wanted it easy to take apart and put back, without wrecking the wood. In the end it turned out pretty good, a tiny bit wiggly, but otherwise standing tall. I spent pretty much all this week working on it, and I am glad that I decided to make it. Getting actual physical labor done in the terribly hot weather was a good thing. I really enjoyed this experience and can’t wait to actually use it.