Hey there! I’m back with an update for the plan in the kitchen and I am SO EXCITED because I think I finally have the island figured out. It takes me awhile to get the look of certain things nailed down, and I don’t move on them till I have it all figured out. When I do I move forward fast. :)

Right now our island is four by three feet, a standard builder size. I’ve spruced it up over the years, including adding a butcher block top from IKEA. It actually came in a larger size and I had it cut down and a pretty edge added to it:

board and batten kitchen island

When we had the floors patched during our reno last year, I went ahead and had the area under the island patched as well. When we got new floors years ago we had them installed around the island, which I knew right away was a mistake. Trust your gut people!

I had them patch underneath so we could move the island out into the room just a bit. Unfortunately, they had to take all of the pretty trim off in the process. It was a sad day, and our island has looked like an art project gone wrong since. :)

It’s not a big deal – since I knew I wanted to extend it anyway. We’ve hosted friends and parties over the past four months with it looking goofy and it’s not made me twitch too much. But I’m hosting two baby showers in the next month so I really want to get this thing looking good again!

So…the original plan was to double the size from four feet long to eight feet. I also wanted to make it a bit wider too, so the overhang would go over the chairs a little more. The plan included adding a base cabinet for more storage and then building on a bookcase at the end to house a microwave:

microwave at end of island


The microwave part is still happening. But I realized two things after doing some more research – one, we’d have to order the cabinet since it would need to match the current ones in our kitchen. We upgraded a little bit when we built, not a lot, but they’re still not cheap. And we’d have to wait weeks to get it in.

The other biggie was the countertop – I was planning to do stone on the island and wood countertops everywhere else originally. But after doing some research I decided I didn’t want to worry about the wood counters around our sink and over the dishwasher. I read some reviews from folks who loved the wood but all (that I read) said they would not do wood again, just because of the stress factor.

And the huge slab of stone for the island was going to cost close to what it will just cost to do the countertops – so now…we’re going stone around the room and sticking with wood on the island. I’m used to the wood there and love it.

Problem is – the only island butcher block I can find is six feet long. I found one that is eight feet but is more expensive. We considered adding a wine fridge to add the length (instead of ordering a cabinet), but then when we thought about it and realized we really only drink red wine. I think you can still put those in there but we just wouldn’t use it.

SO…you with me here? I’m trying to think about how we’ll really use this thing and save some money. So the new plan is to do a six foot countertop. No new cabinet, no wine fridge, just a built in at the end.

I also had to adjust how I want it to look a bit. I got these stools last year and then months later found a third one and grabbed it up:

extending kitchen island

My first plan was to build out the sides with skinny bookcases. So out from the current island on each side of the three stools:

extending kitchen island

But as you can see with the six foot island there’s not enough room. (Edited to add that yes, the stools are bar height. I’ll be cutting them down like I did our last set, I just didn’t want to do it until I was positive we were using them.)

I still want that custom look so I am going with even skinnier sides like Jen’s island I’ve shown you before:

It still gives the island a more substantial feel and we’ll have additional storage at the end.

These are little adjustments that I honestly think will look better in the end – simpler and more streamlined. And I think it’s a good thing that the larger island top was going to be too expensive because when I taped things off I realized eight feet was going to be REALLY big:

bay window kitchen

The tape on the floor next to the island (sorry it’s hard to see) is measured at six feet out. The window seat tape shows where that will go. Funny how I thought having that open space where the table used to sit would be too open – now we love it! Many of you mentioned living with it for awhile and it’s so true. We got used to it pretty fast.

So, it’s not the original plan but it will still be super functional, wayyyy cheaper and really beautiful when it’s done!

Now…our final decision is the countertop. I can go with a basic maple, in a similar tone to what we have now. It’s at a local lumber store and the prices is OK, but more than I spent at IKEA for sure. I also found a few options at Lumber Liquidators. When I called they said they had a basic maple for a GREAT price -- $200! But when I got there to check it out this is the maple:

maple butcher block with knots

It’s considered their basic version and it includes the knots which I don’t like. (This is the look with oil on it.)

They also have walnut that’s beautiful but my husband didn’t like it as much:

walnut butcher block

Of course the one we both love, an acacia wood, is the most expensive:

acacia butcher block

But I don’t mind paying a bit more for this considering we’re “saving” by not doing so many of the updates we originally planned.

Here’s the deal though – all this time I thought IKEA didn’t carry the island sizes of their butcher anymore, but they do? Readers have told me for years that they don’t have the one we bought years ago but I looked online and you can get it, but you have to order it online. Odd. It says they can ship to our house, and maybe even the store? (Two hours away.) The thing is, I have used this butcher many times and am really happy with it. The price online is less than $200, crazy good!

Has anyone used the island-sized butcher block from IKEA? I’m going to call them to try to get it figured out because if I can get it there I will – the price can’t be beat! AND the island size comes 40 inches wide – exactly the width I’ve been hoping for. After all this research and driving around the place I wanted to get it at from the start may have exactly what I want! :)

I hope my train of thought in this process makes sense – I know it can hard to keep up with sometimes. (Ask my husband.) But I’m thrilled with the plan and am so excited to get started on this first kitchen reno project!!