Monday, January 13, 2014

Industrial Kitchen Island

After renovating his grandparents' house last year, my son Alex decided he was ready to take on even bigger reno project of his own--a late-19th-century row house in Baltimore's Locust Point neighborhood that he bought in September with his fiancee Ashleigh:

The house was outfitted with disgusting carpet and tacky mirrors and featured a chopped-up floor plan. But Alex had a vision, and the gutting began.

Doug had a vision too, and when Alex and Ash broached the subject of an industrial style kitchen island, he got to work.   

We started out by visiting Brandywine View Antiques in Chadds Ford, Penn. Doug quickly spotted what he wanted, a factory skid, and shop owner Lisa just as quickly stepped in with all kinds of ideas for constructing the island. Lisa is awesome--she's a creative business woman who knows how to sell her stuff without being pushy. We left with the skid, two wooden crates from a Delaware-based dairy, and some vintage tin roof tiles.

A visit to a local salvage yard turned up some old beadboard planks and a true 2x4 (Doug has informed me that 2x4s are no longer actually 2 by 4, so why they're called that is a mystery to me).  An online source yielded some great vintage wheels:

The piece de resistance was a piece of rock maple that Doug salvaged when the lab tops were being modernized in the department where he worked as a machinist at UD.

After much sanding and sawing, gluing and screwing, with a little help from me and some paint, Doug had a finished product, which we delivered to Alex and Ashleigh's not-quite-finished-kitchen this weekend:

The soda crates house spice and sauce bottles, while pull-down doors reveal bins for trash and recycling:

At Lisa's suggestion, we included a panel for a chalkboard at one end:

And a niche using the space not needed for the trashcans features hooks for utensils and is accented with two of the old roof tiles painted black:

As always with a DIY project, we had lots of fights--not with each other but with the elements--snow, ice, temperatures too low to paint, delayed delivery because of the floor refinishing project at their house etc.

But yesterday, the island was safely installed in their kitchen, outfitted with some of the utensils, sauces, and spices we bought at Target during a fun little shopping spree.

It was all worth it when Alex said it would be the best piece of furniture in their house.

Now we're just waiting for our first invitation to dinner in the new-old kitchen.


  1. This turned out great! Blue, wood, and metal are right up my alley :) I love that it is so thoughtfully planned and made...truly one of a kind (and SO useful!)

  2. Thanks, Ashley, we were pretty excited to get it done--and delivered. But the best will be when the kitchen is all done and they've actually moved in and can use it!