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Now that the appliances are in the laundry room, it’s time to hop back into the kitchen project and get a few more things finished. Or, I suppose – at the very least – put my dishes away. Hunting for a fork in my living room is just weird. And reminds me way too much of college.

kitchen 2013

First item on the list is to finish painting the upper cabinets. I’ve got at least one more coat; coverage has been pretty good so far, so I’m staying optimistic and can probably knock this out in the next week (before Christmas, I hope).

Second on the list is finding some backsplash tile to cover the nasty walls (more on those later). I absolutely love my new countertops, but I still can’t cook in here if I have to see that. I’ve scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed without much luck of getting rid of the stains left behind on the walls (that section under the wallpaper is what was hiding behind the previous countertop). But until those stains are covered, all I can think of is BIO HAZARD. Blech.

And third – also today’s topic – is the kitchen island. My kitchen is plenty big enough to add an island to the middle; but because I have butcher block on all of the other counters in this space, I’m thinking of going more industrial (which will also match the new hardware). I have enough butcher block from the installation to build a center island, but I think I want to go with a different material on the surface in the middle to keep things interesting.

I’ve eliminated most of the closed-in options; my kitchen is one of the bigger rooms in the house, so I want to keep the open feel. Putting an island with cabinetry on the bottom will just make the space look smaller, so I’m on the hunt for more of a prep table with open shelving – possibly with locking casters on the bottom, too. Most prep tables are either surprisingly inexpensive (aka “within my price range”) or way over the top. I’m not exactly sure why there’s such a gap in pricing, but as long as there’s something that will fit both my tastes and my wallet, I’m a happy camper. Just for the sake of inspiration, check this lovely drool-inducing setup (from House and Home):

White Kitchen 1

I’ve been trying to find something similar. Here are my top three choices so far:

prep table

1 / 2 / 3

Ideally, I’d love to have the same square legs as the inspiration pic and three shelves, but I can live with two if necessary. I just can’t have it looking wimpy, and the thinner legs of the Ikea version (#2) aren’t quite right. But I love the additional middle shelf and the towel bars on either side. The best part about any of these is that they’ll likely come flat-packed, which means I can try to hack the legs with other materials. Maybe even a mix of wood/stainless would look even better :)

How about you? What were your decision factors when choosing a kitchen island?

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  1. Since you have enough butcher block left over, could you add a middle shelf of butcher block to option 1 or 3 to create an extra shelf and tie in the island to the rest of the kitchen and get the blend of wood and stainless you mentioned?

    1. I was thinking of trying the Habitat Restore in Atlanta – they seem to always have some restaurant surplus, and I may just get lucky. And believe it or not, I actually DID have a look at that island a few days ago. And you’re right, ultimately I decided it wasn’t really the right look. Nor would it fit my budget, but it’s still really nice-looking (every time I see a marble top like that, I think about all of the pastry I’d make in some other life that only exists in my head).

      1. How funny – I didn’t see this on my phone when I originally commented! We don’t have any good island choices right now. :(

  2. Immediately I go to #1. Looks way more substantial than the other two. Originally when reading the post I thought your may build one and my tip there would be to have a hangover for chairs. We got this in our house #4 and I love it. When my husband is not home I just throw dinner accross the counter to the kids and I stand up–yeah, I love to cook–not. But I think you would have liked it for yourself and friends. However, that is not the route you are going, so #1 looks substantial and nice. You don’t want to have a wimpy little thing in there if you have space. That would look really awkward. And I feel like with wheels they would never stay put–even with locks. My daughters have “locking” desks and they stay but just something about it. Anywho…my two cents!

    1. I just saw the price of #1 (nice!) and size. Seems smaller. Just be sure to tape it out on the floor to get ideas. I know, so smart, like you wouldn’t think of that. Size is funny though–I ordered a round table from BD and knew the dimensions but when I got it, it seemed huge. And I had even taped it out. It fits, I love it, and all good. But always tape out. :)

  3. I see I’m not the only ken to suggest this, but google “restaurant supply store” in your area, it looks like maybe the first one turned up from such a search….you’ll be shocked at how much cheaper and more durable things are from supply stores (that goes for cookware, too!). Have you thought about calling for more info about the first cart to see if it’s possible to put casters on it? Love the look you’re going for here!

  4. I used to work in restaurants and I love stainless work tables. They’re great!

    I work for the ATL ReStore and we should be getting tile today – I heard 2×12, glass mosaic, and travertine. Let me know if you’re interested!

    1. Wow, so I might have the inside scoop on ReStore items? Sweet!!!! Thanks, and yes – I’d love to see about that tile :)

  5. Love it! As soon I read “kitchen island” I was hoping you’d go with a stainless prep table on casters. They just seem more versatile to me.

    I also vote for checking out restaurant suppliers – they are likely to be more substantial than residential versions. And I would want to check any contender in person – it is hard to gauge if too wimpy in a picture and you can test how well casters lock.

  6. i have a reallllly tiny kitchen with about two feet of counter space (next to the stove).

    oh and there is NO wall without an opening (window, window/door, bathroom door, door to den)
    so i have had to create all my work space – i finally had to give up the wall with the window (it looks out to an alleyway with a fence and lots of evergreens – there is no view). i use a set of gray industrial shelves that i have had since forever and have been various things in various apts. with marble tile on top and a set of shelves – i basically created a huge hutch.

    i searched forever for an island – and settled on the STENSTORP cart at Ikea – it works for my space it has two shelves and a butcher top and comes in two colors. there is a longer model that may be better for you space… http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/30219832/ the island in black…

    anyway i like the IKEA steel island in your post.. i think the extra shelf makes sense .. otherwise you cant use most of the space below with just one shelf.

  7. Looks like I may be in the minority here, but I don’t like the look of the casters. It just reminds me of something that belongs in the garage or even the serving carts at hospitals that they use to deliver food to all the patients. I love the one in the inspiration pic!

  8. My opinion doesn’t carry much weight, but I love the legs on your #1, it just looks so clean. And I love the previous poster’s idea of adding a shelf of butcher block to get you to your 3 shelves! That’d be a so cool.

  9. I’m SOLD on #2, for a few reasons. WHEELS to move when parties occur, or you just plan need that mixing bowl closer to the dang countertop. BRAKES to keep it where it lies. The shelf BUMPER on the lower shelf to prevent kangaroo hybrid animals from knocking off my wares. :) Lookin good in there!

  10. The island in your inspiration picture is really similar to the Utby stainless steel bar table from IKEA: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S89843460/
    Stainless steel countertop, square legs, placement of the bottom support…

    Maybe you could have some steel cut to fit on the bottom support, and then add the butcher block you have left as a middle shelf using some cut to fit steel as support as in your inspiration picture?

    1. Yes, those legs are much more like the inspiration pic. I didn’t see that table before – thanks for the link!

  11. Hi, I just found your site. I love all the projects. I am planning a kitchen project with a very similar design. I wanted to know how you cut the hole in the countertop for the under mount sink. Did you do it yourself? Do you have any photos of that step? Or hire a contractor? If it was a contractor, details would be helpful, I’m located in Atlanta. Thanks!