Yesterday I mentioned having a little trouble with commissions, and this kitchen island was a bit of trouble as well. A friend of mine showed her coworker the Simple Kitchen Island I built when we lived at G-Ma’s house (plans here). He decided it would be perfect for his kitchen, with a few tweaks. We spoke on the phone, and that’s where things got a little fuzzy. He wanted the shorter ends to have an “overhang” for stools, which I took to mean having less slats so there’s leg room. In his mind, he wanted the aprons, legs, and slats to be shorter as well, all being the same width as those slats below. I should have explained it better, because if I built it how he saw it in his head, it would have been very “tippy” and easily knocked over. Not good for a kitchen island. It also started out a little short. He mentioned wanting it counter height, but I guess G-Ma’s 60 year old counters were a bit shorter (she was only about 5 feet tall herself). And though he said he wanted the same finish I used on mine in the photo, it was a bit too bright for his taste. Here was the first image I sent over, with a coke can for color comparison.
This is where the height questions cropped up, and I offered to do a brown glaze to tone it down as I knew the color was very strong. This version (the original) measures 33″ high. He decided he wanted 36″, and asked if it would be too much trouble to remove the legs and add new ones. Um, yes. This is why I asked for a measurement in the first place! So I scrambled to find a solution. Which was to use a couple of stair spindles to create three inch tall feet. I think it takes the whole island up a notch.
I painted and glazed them to match and then attached them with glue and nails. So easy! I’m actually glad we had this little snafu, because the island looks so much more polished with these adorable feet.
The top turned out quite nicely. I used a layered paint finish, and the grain still pulls through which I think is a nice touch. This is a solid wood piece, and I like that it shows, even if it is painted. I do wish, however, that I had filled in the sides of the plywood with DAP. I hate seeing those cracks. I thought I sanded it down smoothly enough, but plywood edges are a nightmare to work with. Next time I’ll be sure to remember that.
Here’s that coke can again, for color reference. I took photos of the process so I could post a new finishing tutorial, but the photos got lost somewhere in iPhoto and I can’t find them. But I started by dry brushing on a plum color (that’s the dark streaking you see) then a coat of Colonial red, followed by a glaze of brown stain mixed with glazing medium. I then topped it off with three coats of polycrylic, since it’s going to need a lot of cleaning as an island. Final measurements are 24″ wide x 48″ long and 36″ high. Perfect for stools! I really do like how it turned out, and will need to remember these feet in the future. Considering I only paid a quarter for each spindle which gives me two feet, that’s just over a dime each! Much more affordable than buying new ones, and they’re just as solid.
Have you ever had a project where it didn’t turn out quite right the first time, but a surprise fix made it even better than the original?