Kitchen Island Update: Adding Counter Seating

I must admit, the hardest part about leaving our old house was leaving behind a kitchen that I loved.  We had beautiful white cabinets, hardwood floors, and granite counter tops.   Now, in our new house, the kitchen is literally TWICE the size of our old one, just not the style I loved in our old house.   Joe and I have talked about our plans to make our new kitchen our “dream kitchen”, and have decided in a few years, when we have some more money saved and the kids are older, we will take on the full kitchen reno.  Until then, we’ll have to work with what we have!  Here’s how our kitchen looked the day we closed:

It’s huge, right?!

Before we even moved in, we added crown molding & new white base trim, painted the whole room Sherwin-Williams Light French Gray, and painted the pantry doors & window frames white.  That freshened it up quite a bit.

Over the next few months of living in our house, we would often bounce kitchen ideas off each other – what we would do differently if we gutted the whole thing and also what we could do now to improve our current living space.

One of the ideas we both agreed on was to extend the island to add counter seating.  We had a big open space (like 10 feet!) between our island and our dining room table, and had more than enough room to make the island even bigger than it already was.

The current counter top is some sort of laminate (we think Formica).  We briefly considered replacing the whole counter top (the island and the main counter top) with granite; however since we have plans to redo the whole kitchen in 5 years or so, we didn’t feel like spending $10,000+ on counter tops just to rip them out again in a few years.  Not to mention, that is A LOT of counter space to replace!  A big big big job!  We ultimately decided to just replace the island with Formica.  Since we couldn’t find the exact counter top color we have, we decided to go with a completely different color to compliment it. The color we chose was the Formica Hi-Res Carrara Pearl 180fx.

We started by removing the drawers from the island, so we could take the counter top off.

My husband, Joe, built the frame.   Our cabinets are birch, but it was very hard to find birch wood in the sizes we needed for the frame, so the next best match was maple.  He used maple 1″x 3″ boards for the supports under the counter, and he used a maple 4″x4″ post for the leg.  We found a stain to match our cabinets, and honestly, you can’t even tell it’s different wood!  It matches really well!  We decided to go with only one post to allow for more leg room.  I have to say, I was a little hesitant to go with only one post, but I do not regret it!  It really does give way more leg room when we’re sitting at the counter.

Joe recruited his dad and brother to help with the installation.  We extended the island to add almost 4 feet for seating.   The total length of our new island is 10 feet and I am in LOVE!

Once the frame was up and secured, we added and secured the new counter top.

We really struggled with finding bar stools that we liked.  I literally bought and returned bar stools like 3 times before we settled on these bar stools from Wayfair.   We do love them! They were pretty inexpensive and matched pretty well with the style of our kitchen.  I’m just happy the hunt is over!

Now that we’ve added counter seating, painted, added new trim and updated our dining room light fixture, I am so happy with our kitchen and dining room area!

It’s so fun putting our work into our house, and having it finally start to feel like our “home”!

18 thoughts on “Kitchen Island Update: Adding Counter Seating

  1. STEPHANIE ABBOTT says:

    Hello, You’ve done an amazing job on this. Wanted to let you know that I’m featuring it tonight at the To Grandmas House We Go Link Party and I’ll be linking to this post on FB Friday. 🙂

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