Kitchen Islands

A Kitchen Island is the center for gathering in a living space.  If your kitchen is all matching cabinets with a center island – here’s an easy way to update that heavily used space and give it some old world charm.
This is how I do it….
Most cabinetry is veneer on the sides and back so to sand and paint that is a big deal because paint does not like to stick to it. (there are products to do so but my way is much faster)
I buy 4 ft. x 8 ft. sheets of thin wood paneling (birch, oak or pine)  The cost is usually under $30 per sheet.
If the island is wrapped in bare wood paneling then it is ready to paint.  Beaded board actually is really easy too but I have a favorite board and batten way that turns out so pretty.
In the photo you can see how I applied the paneling, the slats are lattice, the legs are 2×4’s and I make my own feet with a pretty molding.
The front looks like this…
That’s where all the sanding comes in but the doors can be removed and sanded outside.
This island was getting a new counter top so I was lucky to be able to get in there before the template was made for that.  This way I could make those legs really chunky.
The front feet are usually as thick as the back but in this case we had to work with the central vacuum inlet.
To paint – Ben Moore Aura was a great option.  I painted and distressed it and sealed it with lacquer.  Lacquer stinks but it dries really fast and hard.
a few others I’ve done in a similar style…
this one is my own

I just took the whole island out at my house and built a new one.  Then I reused the granite top.  One of these days I’m doing a chunky concrete top. 🙂

A project that has this big of an impact is so worth it!  It’s easier than you think, too.

Thanks for stopping by.


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I just found your blog on Pinterest and love all you've done. Very talented! I'm about to paint out kitchen cabinets and love BM Aura's paint too. What grey/blue color did you use in your kitchen please? It'd look great on my bottom cabinets. Thanks!


Hi. Just found your site on Pinterest and love it! I'm about to paint our kitchen cabinets and love the BM Aura paint in your kitchen. What color grey/blue is this please?

Earl Judds

You are so talented. I can't believe the difference in your kitchen islands. In Vancouver, my island needs a good update and it makes a big difference to the look of your kitchen. I will use your ideas. Thanks

Amber Pridgen

Would you happen to have a tutorial for your new island? Just curious as to how you made it. Thanks

Amber Pridgen

I would like to maybe see a tutorial on how you built your new island. My hubby and I are house shopping at the moment and there are several houses we like that are priced perfectly but I don't save them because they don't have an island or extra counter space. Thank you

Holly Browning

Cassie – I used Benjamin Moore Aura. It is a wonderful finish and coverage. I don't usually use semi-gloss. I used satin for that project. I glazed it with dark walnut stain and sealed it with poly. I tried to email you back but your email is \”no-reply\”. I hope you get this. 🙂 Thank you!

Cassie Buethe

Please tell me what kind of paint you used for the second island in your pictures?? The white/cream colored one? Love it! They all look amazing!


You did a amazing job with the distrusting. It has this glow from that. I love the marble top that complements the blackness to it. It didn't have enough black to be ugly. It just has a touch of black to make it stand out. Love that.

The Farm-Marm

I LOVE your chunky island!! Do you have a tutorial for it? THAT would be awesome! I also am curious which paint/glaze etc you used.


I am obsessed with your blog and your home!! I have been looking and re-looking… and looking again at everything in your home for a couple weeks now. It's just beautiful. 🙂 I am in love with the color/distressing look of the island you posted just before yours, that greenish color. If you don't mind me asking, could you tell me if you use stain or glaze for your antiquing? Multiple colors? Do you sand/distress before or after glazing? Thank you thank you!!

Cassie @ Primitive & Proper

love it! i love the openness of yours! we are deciding what we will do in our kitchen when we redo it and i love that open feel!


Love it! What color paint & stain did u use???


Lovely! 2 questions:) Do you usually do all of your distressing w/ sandpaper and razors? And, which do you prefer for glazing, antiquing. I usually use RL Tobacco or Smoke glaze, and occasionally Minwax D. Walnut stain. I am about to further distress our island and wanted to get your thoughts. Thanks so much!!


These are amazing!!

Shanon at Vintage Sparkle Chic

OMGosh! That is soooo insanely beautiful! I want one! You are so very talented.~Shanon


Absolutely gorgeous work on your island transformations! I glazed my cabinetry about 10 years ago, even covering up the veneer on the island with now problems. However, it's time for an update and I love the board and batten idea. Thanks for the inspiration. Visiting from Kristin's party. ~ Sue