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Island in the Sun

When I first moved into my house I liked my kitchen quite a bit. Notice how I didn’t use the word Love nor the present tense? That wasn’t a mistake. It’s not to say I loathe it now, but it just doesn’t have the same appeal, which could be caused by many things. Maybe it’s because:

1) Owning it (as opposed to WANTING it) makes it less alluring.

2) Living in it daily allows me to see all of the flaws that the brief overview missed.

3) Now it’s mine to clean, and that sucks.

Either way, I eventually plan to put down new tile, revamp or replace the cabinets, remove the wallpaper (ugh), get a new stove, replace the counter top and sink. …and those were the items just off the top of my head.

All of the above items require money. Some things require less than others, but it’s money nonetheless. Plus, I know right now I love color! I love color to such an excessive point that I know it can’t be healthy, and even more– it can’t be permanent. WHAT!?! Yes! I said it. I will probably change my mind on how indulgent I choose to be with color as I grow older, AND I guarantee that I won’t even like the same colors. Why would I do anything pricey and permanent when I am introspective enough to know that I will furrow my brow in disapproval 3 years from now? Well, I wouldn’t. So, I opted for a cheaper update….

But enough with the foreplay, let’s get to it!

Kitchen IslandThis is the island in my kitchen. There’s nothing overtly offensive about it, but it’s plain and heavy as heck! Plus, I plan to re-tile the counters and floors, so I may as well get rid of the green tile on this surface as well.

Because the island isn’t connected, you’d think it’d be very convenient to move as needed. Oh no no no, the concept of mobility is just an illusion. I’ve been fearful of ripping up tiles by scooting this weighty block across the floor. So my first order of business was CASTERS! These specific ones hold 90lbs. All four are swivels, two of which have breaks. I put the ones with breaks kitty corner from each other to maximize stability….because I was too cheap to pop for all four swivels with breaks.

CastersI know it’s a little surprising that I have a lot of work in front of me and the first task I choose is something typically left for a finishing detail. But this island is so so heavy that it just had to happen first for the sake of ease.

Next I removed the drawers because some serious demo was about to go down. At first I tried to not make a mess or make much noise because I had a toddler napping. Also, I was trying to be careful because in the back of my head I was praying there would be a beautiful butcher black that someone had tiled over; which is the equivalent to wishing it will rain meatballs because I don’t want to cook dinner. But one can dream right?

Just take it from me, if you want to remove one tile every 40 minutes then go on ahead and be dainty. Once I started making noise and really messing up my kitchen, the tiles flew off (literally) very quickly. Here is the progression.



Betting there

I see the light!


SadnessWell there you have it. I was able to determine it wasn’t a butcher block, just three pieces of plywood covered in vinyl. But I wasn’t going to let that spoil my party, I had stuff to do.sidesI peeled off the vinyl on the top, sanded the sides of the stack of plywood and wiped down the base with soapy water. Then I grabbed a roller and blithely painted the stand and the sides of the plywood. I used a brush to really get into the nooks and crannies.

WoodI set the pieces of sanded, unfinished oak (which I get on sale at Menard’s for $3 a piece) on top of the painted stand. Something just irked me though… now that the plywood was painted all one color, those darn crannies looked like deep, treacherous ravines, so I had to do a healthy coat of wood fuller and sand the sides AGAIN, and repaint AGAIN. But I can say with honestly that it was worth it because those blue ravines would have gotten under my skin every. single. day.


MUCH BETTERNext it was time to make some permanent decisions on my clearance oak. I decided that I didn’t want to bust out my miter saw, and since all of the pieces were the same length, I technically didn’t need to. By using wood that was about eight inches longer than the island base, it extended the work area, which was good. However it gave the island much more presence (which isn’t necessarily a good thing in a tiny kitchen) but I do plan to remove my kitchen table in the near future, so I will suffer with a cluttered cook area (haha, like I REALLY cook.)

I placed my boards exactly how I wanted them and just started gluing. I used flooring glue, so I know these boards will be stuck together until time itself ends…or even longer.


GlugingOnce I had the wood all attached (and the glue dried) I did a thin coat of lacquer on the wood and the blue painted area. I let it dry and did a second coat. Finally I sanded just the wood top (because I am too lazy to sand all the blue, especially when I didn’t think it would make any sort of difference) and applied the last coat of lacquer. That woo is so  smooth now, I could slip-n-slide on it.

Then it was on to the drawers. There really isn’t much to tell. What can I say? Sometimes my processes are so humdrum that I don’t have the heart to lie to you and tell you that it was the best drawer make-freakin’-over of my life!!!! But I’ll always show pictures.

All of the drawersOnce the paint dried,  I sprayed on spray finish because the drawer faces won’t get as much action as the top workspace, so I didn’t think lacquer was necessary. But talk to me in 5 months to see if I regret that decision. I also spray painted and sealed a paper towel rack to screw to the side, but again, that was uneventful.

Then came the handle adventure. Yeah, that’s right, the drawer makeover is dull, but the HANDLES were a spectacular debacle. It’s an odd life I lead, really.

Handle DebacleMy smarty pants self went handle shopping spontaneously without measuring the holes. I knew I didn’t want to fill and drill so I just recalled (incorrectly) that they looked like they may need the 96mm handles. When those didn’t fit I didn’t get into a huff because I knew I should have measured. So I returned them to the store and again, without measuring, exchanged them for new ones. It may seem straight-up stupid that I didn’t measure the second time around because REALLY you should have a 50/50 chance, if it’s not 96mm then it’s 3in. Well, I was dead wrong again, but I didn’t even care anymore. Seriously, I said screw it and used the old handles because I wasn’t about to return them AGAIN. And honestly, I wasn’t horribly unhappy with the old ones, new ones were just a bonus. But now I resent the new ones so much that I think they need to rot slowly in hell.

But aside from condemning inanimate hardware, the makeover went pretty fantastically. I was left with only minor cuts and bruises, and the internal emotional scars will heal with time.


Towel thing too


About Kristen Van Loon

My name is Kristen Van Loon and this is the chronicle of my search for *Oomf!* Not only have I deemed myself qualified to revamp, repair, refurnish and refine my house, but I also jump into any DIY project that my friends, co-workers, family and practical strangers stumble upon. I would love to tell you that this is my full-time job and my complete life mission, but I make my bread and butter elsewhere and raise a daughter (Olivia). I have some experience but no time, no formal training and no money. My only saving grace is that I love figuring things out, I’m great at improvising and I’m always inspired. For the record, some things that I do (play with electricity, for one) may seem risky, and some of them are. I will always tell you what I’ve done, but I won’t ever suggest things for you that aren’t safe. Even though I push the envelope, I am only marginally incompetent. If sources (father, my brain, Google) tell me not to do something then I usually won’t. But if I do try and it blows up in my face (figuratively or literally) you will hear all about it, and you hopefully won’t attempt it. At the end of the day, I hope to inspire you. Space-Lift isn’t just a blog, it’s a verb. It’s an action that brightens your surroundings by assaulting everything that needs improvement. Nothing is off limits, and all possibilities will be considered.

2 responses »

  1. Fab make up. Love the colour. Virginia


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