Wednesday, August 24, 2011

project kitchen island

I love cooking and spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  I have always lived in places with tiny kitchens and in my last apartment, I tried to figure out a way to add more counter space to my small galley kitchen.  The solution was to add a peninsula, and in my next apartment, the same piece would function as a kitchen island.

I started with an IKEA Forhoja kitchen cart that I bought used for $35.  The dimensions were perfect and it was only 1 inch away from standard counter height.  I wanted a super high gloss finish, so I decided to use high gloss enamel oil based paint in white.  I made the severe mistake of painting this piece indoors.  Although I had my bedroom door closed, the fumes penetrated my entire apartment and  I woke up suffering from an asthma attack and started wheezing. Curiously, I like the smell of paint and a lot of weird chemicals like gasoline, resin, and glue.
Anyway, lesson learned.  Before painting, I added some appliques and rope trim I had left over from a previous project (applied with epoxy glue).  This piece took two coats of paint and then touch ups.  Enamel oil based paint is not easy to work with.  You have to catch drips quickly or they will ruin the smooth texture finish, plus it's important to apply several strokes so the paint lays evenly.  Enamel oil base also difficult to clean up.  Despite these difficulties, I loved the finish.  It was glassy and high gloss, although my drip mistakes were evident.

I wanted this piece to feel substantial as an extension of my counter top, rather than as just a storage piece.  I found a piece of granite slab the somebody was selling from their kitchen remodel leftovers. $5 if you can believe it!  The width was perfect already because it was a scrap from a counter top, and the thickness added one inch--making it perfectly flush to the counter--it was just too long.  I took the slab to a granite company and had them slice off a chunk to fit my length for $20.  This granite slab was HEAVY, but I managed to get it on top.  Because of its weight, I never glued or attached it in any way, the granite slab just floated on top and didn't budge.

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