Upgrade that Builder Kitchen Island

You know when you are building a house and you have that thing called “a budget”?

No matter how big or small it is, it never seems to cover everything you want.

What I did before every appointment with our builder was think about the skills I do have and skills I don’t have. I went with upgrades on my “don’t haves” (tile, appliances, plumbing – etc.)

The following is a picture of what I chose with our builder for our kitchen island.


OK. It’s big. (128 inches long – ghak!)

I can cut wood, I have saws, nail guns and an air compressor. I can stain and paint pretty much anything. So none of my money went to the cosmetics of our kitchen island. I only upgraded to a double, extra deep sink because – yeah, I don’t do plumbing.

Did I buy “special” wood to match the maple cabinets?

Not a chance!

DSC_0447 (1)Friends…this is all wood from Lowe’s – in stock. 2×4’s, 1x6x6 pine, 1x4x8 premium furring strips (premium only because they are straighter), and 1×3 furring strips along with a few 1×2’s in pine.To make the island deeper so it doesn’t look like a “standard” 24 inch depth cabinet I added a 2×4 wall right behind it. Chunkier is better and in my case, I had room to grow my island.DSC_0451 (1)

With nail glue and my nail gun and level I attached the wood to the veneer and newly installed 2×4’s.

Then stained in various coats to have a variety of wood colors.

DSC_0453 (1)


I had to remove the skimpy moldings before I began.


If you can cut with a miter saw a straight cut and a 45 degree angle you can do this too. I love my nail guns and air compressor but they aren’t really necessary if you are willing to hammer or screw the wood together.

After all the vertical slats were put in place then I cut more 1×4 premium furring strips to trim out the bottoms.

There is my kitchen folks.

Some wood slats were given two coats of Dark Walnut stain by Minwax and some were just one coat so it looks varied in color.

I love the rustic vibe. Don’t you?

Various wood colors tie in the rest of the wood grains in the house and quite frankly, it’s just more “me”.

I ordered more bar stools in black to go with my two old white ones and it plays off the black and white theme going on here and there and everywhere around the house.

If you are all detail oriented like my cute hubby, you will notice I added two slats of stained wood behind the stove hood cabinet. I could see the metal frame from the blower before and that bugged me so I covered that up real quick.

Yeah – this DIY makes my “custom” house feel a lot more like my own.

If you have any more questions about this project you can reach me on Facebook HERE and on Instagram HERE – or if you are a blogger, you are familiar with the comments section below. I also have email that I check when bills aren’t due at hbrowning72@gmail.com.

Have a super fun week and just a little advice – don’t over think it.  It’s easy to complicate everything.

Much love,

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[…] wanted to bring the same treatment from our kitchen island (HERE) to the family room – which – basically, is the same room with our open concept floor […]

[…] Remember after we moved into this house I made over this big kitchen island HERE? […]

At Rivercrest Cottage

I knew you would pitch right in and change it up your way. My all time favorite was that door you put on your pantry long ago.

andrew salaynatb

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Michele Alger

Ahhh, now that is more like a kitchen owned by you! Wonderful style 😉 XOXO!!

Holly @ Down to Earth Style

I love your comments and appreciate all of these compliments. Thank you all!

Cheryl Kohan

Very, very clever! It's beautiful. Sure do wish I had a kitchen large enough for something like this.


OMG!!!! I am soooo impressed. This is fabulous. Holly you knock this one out wonderfully. I love the rustic blended in with your traditional style. Beautiful. Great job.Hugs,Kris


You did a great job. I love the rustic mixed with the pure white cabinetry. I had a big island at this last house, too, and am going to miss it when I move. I love how your house has turned out, Holly. You have done a terrific job of pulling it all together. xo Diana

Kim Dobson

Wonderful idea. That rustic touch adds so much texture and style. Love the way you stained the boards. Great job!


Hello Holly ….. I LoVe love the way that you are putting your own special unique touch on this gorgeous Home of yours. Thanks so much for sharing all your revamps.