I’m on (Kitchen) Island Time!

January beware! We are kickin’ kitchen booty and we are almost going to meet our goal of having the kitchen finished by the end of the month! (Knock on wood!)

In the process of kicking kitchen booty, I think I have lost approximately 12,857 brain cells. But it was all worth it.

Yes! We refinished our sideboard and kitchen island!

We purchased both pieces as raw furniture from the Mill Store.

We took the following steps to paint the bottoms:

  1. Break out the wood filler and fill any holes. (The island actually came with towel hooks on the side and 2 shelves installed in the bottom, but we want to put stools under the island so we took them all down. Hence all the holes.)
  2. Sand ‘er down with a fine grit sandpaper. I used 220 grit paper.
  3. Prime the furniture. I used regular primer on the sideboard and a few of the dark knots ended up showing through after a few months. I ended up going back and priming them with Killz primer.
  4. Paint the furniture. I used a small cabinet roller and our Valspar semi-gloss paint in Swiss Coffee to match all the trim in our house as well as our kitchen cabinet and pantry. I did four coats of paint letting it dry in-between coats.

Letting the stain sit.

We took the following steps to stain the tops:

1. Sand ‘er down one more time with a fine grit sandpaper.

2. Stain away! We had initially decided on Minwax Golden Pecan stain. This was the same color stain I used on my desk upstairs. I stained the top of the sideboard and we looked at it for a few days. Unfortunately, due to the different lighting and paint color in the kitchen the stain looked too orange. So we sanded ‘er down again. Getting most (but not all) of the stain off. I had given it 3 coats of stain, so we probably took off at least two coats. We picked out a secondary stain color, this time Minwax Special Walnut.

We then stained the Special Walnut stain on TOP of the Golden Pecan stain (we also stained a based layer of Golden Pecan stain on the island top to ensure they would match).

Once we knew we were happy with it we proceeded to give the tops each four coats of stain. We left some layers of stain on for as long as 30 minutes to get a dark and rich tone.

3. We lightly sanded with a fine grit steel wool sponge.

Post-Stain, Pre-Poly

4. Polyurethane time! We used Minwax Clear Poly in Satin finish.We applied four coats of poly, waiting 4 hours in between each coat and lightly sanding with a fine grit steel wool in-between coats.

Staining and Poly tips:

  • We used only the cheap foam brushes.
  • STIR both thoroughly. We used plastic spoons.
  • To wipe the stain I used a variety of clean, old socks and promptly threw them away.
  • Do NOT shake the poly. It will be full of bubbles and your finish will feel like sandpaper.
  • Wait the full 3-4 hours between coats of poly. Otherwise it will get gunky.
  • Make sure you have the airflow fully circulating. I wish we could have done this project in the summer with all the windows open. We left our microwave vent on all day to help get rid of the fumes.

We are in LOVE with how it turned out.

I love having the dual countertops and the contrast between the cool granite and the warm butcherblock.

I just ordered stools this week!

We love how they turned out and we love being able to finally use our island space!

Today we celebrated and we cooked and baked and ate! And I’m officially on island time. Woot!


68 thoughts on “I’m on (Kitchen) Island Time!

  1. You’ve done a fantastic job! Know all too well the effort and time it takes to complete such a task. If the project itself doesn’t kill some brain cells, the fumes will. LOVE the deep, richness of the wood that contrasts with the brilliant white. Well done!

  2. awesome job!
    looks reallly good, and the Mill Store … would never have thought of that.
    I wonder whats harder, buying and buiolding from ikea, or buying from the Millstore and adding the finishing



  3. Beautiful pieces! I bought some cheap wood furniture from Ikea a few years ago and made it look so much nicer by sanding it down and staining it. I bet your furniture could sell for at least twice the cost now just with the new paint job.

  4. That is so cool! I love that you found separate pieces and made them look like a set. How long did the entire process take from start to finish?

  5. Beautiful! I love it. You guys did a fabulous job. I’m sure you cannot wait to get your kitchen done. We’ve been working on our for two years and I can’t wait till it’s 100% done. Best wishes on the rest of your projects.

  6. We’re remodeling as well. I hear ya about those lost brain cells. πŸ˜‰ Love your do-it-yourself projects!

  7. Nice job on the finish. I have used stain and a wax finish for the last two countertops I have done – one in Toronto and this one in France! I am currently on Kitchen time too (perhaps I should post pictures of the temporary one just for fun)

  8. Beautiful work. And I know how much work that was, as I am still doing some of mine. I have not chronicled mine though so you won’t be seeing it in here. Congrats on finishing those pieces. And on being Freshly Pressed.

  9. Eat lots of blueberries in your lovely kitchen & your brain cells will regrow in no time! Beautiful work and nicely spelled out for the not-so-easy-to-do-it-your-self-ers like me! Enjoyed your post & congrats on being freshly pressed!

  10. Oh those are gorgeous! I love the contrast of the wood grain against the white. It looks so clean and professional. I miss my little island so much, but I’m living in a place with a kitchen where there’s just room for me and my hips. I cook by piling things on top of things that are piled on top of things!

  11. I just got my own place and I have always dreamed of adding a personal touch to all of my furniture. Thanks so much for sharing this! The pieces are B-E-A-UTIFUL! Totally inspired : )

  12. Suggest that on wooden surfaces in a Kitch, use varnish, or other clear coating designed to withstand water. Polyurethane will become hazy with water, especially hot water, easily. Also, a quick sand between coats with 220 grit sand paper will remove any bubbles or flyspecs. To remove the fine dust after sanding, put a little clear coat on a clean rag (cotton, not paper) and wipe the surface immediately prior to re-finishing.

  13. That’s a great finishing job. We’re am unfinished furniture store in Durham, NC and this the kind of thing we help people do. Find an unfinished piece of furniture and transform it into a beautiful piece for your home. Great how-to resource.


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