Our house was built around 1923, and when we bought it, one side still had a few of the original kitchen cabinets. They were beautiful, white Shaker cabinets, and when we demo’ed the old kitchen and were left with one long original base cabinet, we knew we wanted to re-use it in some way.
The base cabinets were complete with original cypress counter tops — nearly 100-year-old slabs of beautiful wood. So, while work progressed on the house, the base cabinet sat around, waiting for its turn.
It would need a few modifications to become our kitchen island, but when we talked with our carpenter, he felt confident he could do it.
Here’s a list of changes it undertook:
1. Removed the left most cupboard (as seen in the first photo above) to take length from 84″ to an overall 72″.
2. Removed the cypress top and cut away the drawers that were originally on the top of the cabinet (also as seen in first photo), because the height was too tall.
3. Build the new 72″ long counter onto a platform to make it the correct 36″ standard height.
4. Procure a new 12″ piece of cypress so the island would have a counter “overhang.”
5. Add decorative trim to both ends and the back to make it also look like Shaker cabinets, and add molding underneath the counter.
6. Cut down the drawers on the right end to modify the two spaces to hold our microwave and toaster oven.
7. Retrofit it with electrical outlets, per code requirements.
8. Sand, stain and polyurethane the two cypress pieces to match. Rough up the new piece so it looks older like the 100-year-old piece. (completed beautifully by Matt.)
9. Add stair rails to reinforce the overhang of the counter.
Check out the photos!