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From Dresser To Kitchen Island

27 January 2011

From Dresser To Kitchen Island
contributed by Binkies and Briefcases

Remember this u.g.l.y dresser? (Ok, not this actual one, I stole this picture from ebay, but it's the exact same dresser I bought from ReSource York, except mine didn't come with the hutch.)

This was the best before picture I could get of our actual dresser in the awful light in our garage.

I wanted to turn it into a kitchen island like I saw Jonni do at House of Johns.

Eddie wanted to make it a little more elaborate so that it looked as much like a piece of kitchen cabinetry as possible.

That's my handy man at work :)

He added bead board to the back and a little overhang/bar area (The top is two pine board panels from Lowes glued together with liquid nails and trimmed out with decorative molding, doing it that way was half the price of buying butcher block from Ikea plus we didn't have to rip it down like we would have the Ikea top.) and I sanded and stained and primed and painted my little heart out and a month later we now have...

Still sitting in the garage waiting for the last few steps to be completed, but once we break out the drill for new holes for hardware in the top drawers (they are spaced differently than the lower drawers, bummer) and put a coat of polyurethane on top, she is done!!

The total came in around $300, which is more than I thought I would spend (and was due in large part to the fact that I splurged on really expensive hardware) but totally worth it.

Estimated costs break down:
dresser & delivery fee: $75
paint: $30 (I bought a gallon because I'm going to use the rest for something else, you really only need a quart. You can get a quart of Oops paint for $2.50)
beadboard: $20
decorative posts: $60 (not really necessary, but I love them)
Top:$70 (You could cut that in half by just buying one panel, but I wanted the height)
Hardware: $65 (again, not really necessary, I could have spray painted the old ones, but I splurged and I LOVE the new ones)
Stain, sandpaper, nails, trim, caulk, primer: already on hand $0

Total: $315 (ish)

Best of all, I actually like it better than this one that JC Penny's sells for $900.

I'm SO excited to get it into the kitchen this weekend!!

Expect glamor shots once I get everything in place. :)

Update: DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Click here to see it in the kitchen.

Tips if you want to try this yourself:
1. Try to find a dresser with a combination of wide and narrow drawers. The wide ones are great for things like baking sheets and table linens. The narrow ones are good for cookbooks and cooking utensils.
2. Check the height of your counters. I know that my counters hit me right at my hip bone so when I was out looking for dressers it was easy to tell if they were going to be a good counter top height even if I didn't have a tape measure.
3. Paint. Don't try to stain anything but the top because it is made of so many different kinds of materials by the time it all comes together paint is the best bet. 2 coats of primer and 3 or 4 coats of a semi-gloss. Maybe even a clear coat on top of that. (Don't forget to sand first!)
4. If you can find a dresser with a door in it scoop it up! I really think this helps it look less like a dresser and more like a piece intended for a kitchen. That was the main reason I chose this piece. (plus it's a great place to keep a mixer or a bread machine)

I hope you try this for yourself because it's a very rewarding project plus it actually adds to the resale value of your house to have a kitchen island. :)


Lisa January 27, 2011 at 5:11 PM  

Seriously - that is an amazing transformation! I had a china cabinet just like that - I so wish I didn't sell it now.

stephaniegiese January 27, 2011 at 5:12 PM  

Thank you so much for featuring our island! I hope this technique is useful to others who need an island. Good luck with the award! You deserve it. :)

paisley penguin January 27, 2011 at 5:21 PM  

That is BEYOND FABULOUS! I wish I had a place for an island in my condo. I will have to file this away for my next place which I want to be much more open floor plan and an island would be ideal to seperate the kitchen from the living space.

banclothing January 27, 2011 at 5:34 PM  

Wow, am I ever happy to see this post!!! This is exactly what I am planning on doing in my kitchen. Great advice about the cheaper alternative to butcher block; that was what I was planning on purchasing from ikea as well.

Erin R. January 27, 2011 at 6:35 PM  

OH. MY. GOODNESS! That is Amazing! What a creative mind. Great work, definitely printing this and putting your post in my inspiration folder!

Shelia January 27, 2011 at 6:39 PM  

What a fantastic transformation! I love it and what a beautiful job they did!
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Anne Magee January 27, 2011 at 8:35 PM  

Wow, that is beautiful! So inspiring!!!! I love the hardware you chose... it really makes the piece!

In Awe of Applique January 27, 2011 at 10:00 PM  

Oh my gosh, how genius!!! I want one, but alas no room in my kitchen for it...you did a great job!

Heather January 27, 2011 at 11:07 PM  

This is a fantastic idea! I bet someone could pick up a old dresser for a song, especially if the top is scratched and dinged. I'm going to start cruising Craigslist now.

3krazychics January 28, 2011 at 12:22 AM  

O....M....G.....My mother has that same dresser in her bedroom as I type! I'll have to show her this, maybe she'll give it up, and when I do my kitchen remodel, I'll add it as an island. What a fantastic idea!

Rachel Murphy January 28, 2011 at 1:09 AM  

Looks amazing! Now you have me trying to figure out which dresser me and the hubby can do this too. :)

Anonymous,  January 29, 2011 at 3:09 PM  

This is one of the most shocking and beautiful transformations I have ever seen! I absolutely love it!

RitaB September 6, 2011 at 10:00 AM  

Thanks for the wonderful ideas! I finished our island yesterday using just an old bedroom dresser. Well, I still have to paint the drawers and put them back in. I used 3/4" plywood on the top, then cement backer board, then tiled the top. Used a trim on the edges similar to yours. Our top is bigger at 3'x6', but we needed something bigger to accommodate the empty space in our kitchen. Give ours a look when you get a chance. The legs were the most costly part of the project, but too pretty to omit. Again, thanks for the ideas. Totally awesome!!


Colleen September 28, 2011 at 11:41 AM  

I love the Internet! I had an idea for this over the weekend, went online to look for instructions, and found yours. And it turned out so great! I used a dresser with cool carved handles that had been languishing in my mom's basement since the late 1970s, when she picked it up off the curb somewhere. So that plus using supplies from the garage means I'm only out around $25 for the new wood top. It somehow makes my little 1940s Cape Cod kitchen seem bigger (something about traffic patterns?) Thanks so much - and love your blog!

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