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Posted by on Jan 3, 2012 | 1 comment

Before & After: Alley Cast-Off Becomes Functional Kitchen Island

Before & After: Alley Cast-Off Becomes Functional Kitchen Island

For the past seven years I’ve been living with two feet of counter space in my kitchen. I have only myself to blame for this. We renovated the 1950s galley kitchen after we moved in in 2004 but we made some poor decisions. I won’t bore you with the details but it’s the result of new homeowner ignorance + lack of HGTV inspiration + financial limitations.

I recently decided it was time to make a change and get a real kitchen workspace. If we ever decided to sell, our “kitchenette” would surely scare off buyers. The plan was to add a built-in peninsula using the same cabinets and countertop in the existing kitchen.

I went to Home Depot and drew up plans with a super-friendly kitchen designer (really, she was super nice!). But to my utter horror, my master plan was going to cost nearly $2000. Not in the cards.

Days later while taking the trash out to the alley something piqued my attention — a wood desk and cart the people behind me were casting off. As I walked back inside I thought: I need that, that has the looks of a kitchen cart. After all my frustration, here was the perfect piece of furniture just waiting to hop over the fence and into my home. I can’t say no to free stuff.

So here’s the cart (found right on the other side of that fence). Needs some work, eh?

cart found in alley

I added some primer and a coat of semi-gloss paint leftover from other projects. Even Jack volunteered to paint a little. Nope, not breaking any child DIY labor laws here.

priming the kitchen cart

priming the kitchen cart

It was looking better, but the top was not too kitcheny. My next thought was to cover with a piece of butcher block or a cutting board. After coming up empty on the Internet, I remembered the folks from Etsy who made my kitchen table. If they can build a table, surely they can build a cutting board.

And sure enough, after a couple convos back and forth with Blue Ridge Woodworking, my $45 custom made cutting board was on its way to my house. Painless. I love the cutting board not only because it’s hand-made and gorgeous, but because it’s 1.5 inches thick and weighs about 20 pounds. I was worried how it would attach to the cart, but because it’s so heavy it stays in place very well.

custom built cutting board

Here’s the finished product. The extra counter space and two deep drawers make a huge difference.

draws for utencils

There’s even a shelf underneath for cookbooks.

cookbooks on new cart

So for $45 plus $15 shipping, I got the extra storage space I needed. Yes, a built-in peninsula with cabinets and counters to match my existing kitchen would have been amazing and would do wonders for resale, but financially it wasn’t going to happen. I think this one will work just fine for now.

Posted by Katie

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