Build Michaela's Kitchen Island

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 03/28/2010 - 13:12
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Michaela's Kitchen Island is the perfect blend of functionality and rustic beauty. Featuring added shelves, two large drawers, and a wood top, this solid wood kitchen island was built by Michaela at The Garden's Eden.

Overall Dimensions and Composition are shown above


Shopping List

1 – 10′ 4×4 Post, Should be cheap, Untreated (you can also modify by using 2 2x4s laminated, remember the dimensions will be 3″ x 3 1/2″ as opposed to the dimensions of a standard 4×4 of 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ so you will need to make modifications)
14 – 1×3 Boards (About $1.50 Each)
7 – 2×4 boards, stud length or 8′ Length
1 – 1×8 board, 8′ Long (About $8.00 Each)
1 – 2×8 Board, 8′ Long (About $7.00 Each)
2 – 1×2 Boards, 8‘ Long (About $1.00 Each)
3 – 1×4 Boards, 8′ Long (About $4.00 Each)
1 – 1×6 Board, 4′ Long (About $3.00)
1/4 Sheet 1/2″ Plywood
21″ Drawer Slides
Handles or Knobs for 2 Drawers

Common Materials
1 1/4 inch screws
2 inch screws
2 1/2 inch screws
2 inch finish nails
120 grit sandpaper
wood conditioner
paint brush
Cut List

Cutting List

4 – 4×4 Posts @ 34 1/2″ (Notched out for shelf stretchers)
4 – 1×3 @ 7 1/2″ (Spacers)
2 – 1×8 @ 17 1/2″ (Side Aprons)
1 – 1×8 @ 49″ (Back Apron)
3 – 2×8 @ 21 3/4″ (Sides of Drawer Housing)
2 – 1×2 @ 49″ (Face Frame Top and Bottom)
3 – 1×2 @ 4 1/2″ (Measure to fit exactly, space trim on face frame)
4 – 1×4 @ 24 1/2″ (Shelf Supports)
14 – 1×3 @ 58″ (Shelf Tops)
6 – 2×2 @ 21 3/4″ (Top Supports)
7 – 2×4 @ 60″ (Countertop)

Cut List for Drawers

2 – 1/2″ Plywood @ 21″ x 21 1/4″ (Drawer Bottoms)
4 – 1×4 @ 21″ (Drawer Sides)
4 – 1×4 @ 19 3/4″ (Drawer Fronts and Backs)
2 – 1×6 @ 23 3/4″ (Drawer Faces)

Cutting Instructions

It is always a good idea to measure your finished drawer opening before constructing drawers. Most side mount drawer slides need 1/2″ clearance on each side for a total of 1″ clearance.

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Circular Saw
Power Sander
General Instructions

Work on a clean level surface. Use proper safety equipment and precautions. Always take a square after each step. Use straight and dimensionally sized lumber. Predrill and countersink your screw holes. Use glue unless otherwise directed.


Step 1

1. Legs. Notch out your legs as shown above. You can modify the notches to the needs of your kitchen. For example, if you have baskets or bins that are taller, you may wish to have only one shelf. There is a video here of me notching out legs on my table.

Step 2

2. Spacers. Begin by attaching a spacer to each of the insides tops of the legs, as shown above. Notice how the spacers will be in different positions depending on the leg. The easiest fastening method is to use your 2″ finish nails, but if you do not have a nailer, you can use 2″ screws and glue. Keep the top inside corner flush.

Side Apron. Also shown in the above diagram is the side apron (in blue). Use glue and 2″ nails to fasten the side apron to the spacers.Keep top edges flush. Check for square.

Step 3

Drawer Housing. As shown above, build the drawer housing. Start by fastening the back apron to the drawer housing sides. Use the measurements above to guide you. Then attach the face frame pieces. Finally, measure and fill in the spaces between the face frame with 1x2s. You must build this housing perfectly square or your risk your drawers not sliding properly.

Step 4

Fastening the Drawer Housing to the Legs. Turn everything upside down on a clean level surface. Attach the drawer housing to the legs 1″ inset from the front and 1/4″ inset on the back. Use glue and 3″ screws. Check for square. Get some help flipping it all over after the glue dries.

Step 5

Step 6

Shelf Tops. Fasten with 2″ screws the shelf tops to the shelf supports. Check for square. There will be a 1″ overhang on the ends. Please note that you can use other types of boards for the shelf.

Step 7

Top. One a clean level surface, lay out the tabletop boards. Then position the supports on top as shown above. Take great care to be exactly square, fasten the spacers to the tabletop pieces. Minimize the gaps between the tabletop pieces as you go. Leave a 1 1/2″ gap on the center, wide enough to accommodate the 2×8 drawer housing sides.

Step 8

Attaching the top. To keep the top free of screw holes, lay the top on top of the island. The drawer housing sides should sit flush with your supports. Fasten through the supports into the drawer housing sides. Also fasten through the tops of the face frame into the supports. You will not see these screw holes because the drawer face will cover it. If you do not use glue, this gives you freedom to remove the top and replace or refinish if desired.

Step 9

Drawers. Begin building the drawers by cutting the bottoms of the drawers out of the 1/2″ plywood. You must cut your drawer bottoms very square or they will not fit properly in your drawer housing. Then fasten the red boards, sides to the bottoms using 2″ screws and glue. Then fasten the fronts and backs to the sides and bottoms. NOTE: Check your drawer slides before constructing the drawers. Different drawer slides need different clearances, and you may need to adjust your drawer size for the slides.

You can also use any scrap 1x3s to create drawer partitions at this stage. Drawer partitions will strengthen your drawer and save you tons.

Step 10

Inserting the Drawers. Using the drawer slides, fit the drawers without the faces into the drawer housing. When completely inserted in the drawer housing, the fronts of the drawers will be flush with the face frame.

Step 11

Drawer Faces. So you want your drawers to be perfectly lined up. Here’s my trick. With the drawers inserted into the housings all the way, position your faces on the drawer fronts. Leave a 1″ gap on the tops and bottoms of the faces, and a 1/2″ gap between the drawers. Then with your nailer and 1 1/4″ nails, fasten the faces to the drawers. You only need just a couple of nails. Avoid where your hardware will be placed. Then carefully open the drawer and from the inside of the drawer, use your 1 1/4″ screws to secure the face to the drawer front.


flippin1999 (not verified)

Sat, 09/11/2010 - 08:23

I'm 3/4 of the way through with this one, and I'm so excited I can hardly stand it!!! The drawers are intimidating me, but I've tried so hard to keep everything square. Wish me luck!

hoojib88 (not verified)

Mon, 09/20/2010 - 15:27

I used a 12' 4x4 post and it worked fine. I have around 6" excess. Which was perfect for practicing drilling holes and screws.

hoojib88 (not verified)

Mon, 09/20/2010 - 15:35

I noticed in the wood shopping list says noting about 2x2's. Also, how important are the 21" slides? I could only find 20" and 22". I ended up buying 2 20" slides.

@flippin1999 I am also afraid of the drawers... I have tried sooo hard to keep everything square but on the back left side of my drawer housing is 1/8th of an inch off. The middle support is tricky..

Also, anyone have any tips for attaching the shelfs? I don't have a nail gun or access to one so, I have to use screws...

Audrey (not verified)

Thu, 11/04/2010 - 09:39


Like someone else said, unless you have endless amounts of expendable cash to buy the best wood and all the expensive tools to use, you cannot avoid some changes in your project after it settles in. That is why I love your site! I actually use old wood pallets, that I get for free from businesses, for most of my projects because even pine is expensive for me. Your site is perfect for me and people like me who build for the love of building. To look around your home and know that you created something from scratch is extremely rewarding and I thank you soooo much for all your hard work so that I can just build for fun!!!

I am actually working on a kitchen for my daughter using free pallets and an altered version of this island plan. Can't wait to see how it turns out.


Sat, 03/26/2011 - 21:40

I will have to agree!  I love Ana and all she does for us!  I will have to say that even the pine boards are expensive for me too!  I have been married for 6 years and we have only purchased one piece of furniture (my son's toddler bed).  Everything else has been handed down.  So the idea of going to PB or RH or any of those other stores is only a dream (and I used to dream about it!)  But now I can have those things built with my own hands.  It is the most amazing thing to build something with your own hands and see it in your home.  Being able to make a table and chairs for your children that they could otherwise not have is just too rewarding.  Or making a bookshelf for your husband, a dedicated reader, who stores all of his books in plastic tubs.  These are the things that Ana helps us to do.  I just want to say thank you Ana.  My home and family has been forever changed!!!

Distressed Kit… (not verified)

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 12:29

[...] in Brag Blog Put on my TO-DO List Save as PDF Print this PostShare/Bookmark Builder: Sarah Burlingame Blog or Website: Experience Level: Some Experience Estimated Cost: $80 for materials, $30 for finishing (with lots left over) Estimated Time Investment: ~40 hours From Plan: [...]

HO (not verified)

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 20:36

I thought I may have bit more off than I could chew when I started this project (seeing that this is my first Ana-White gig). I am just finishing up the sanding and should be ready for staining tomorrow. What a great time! Each member of the family have the site book marked and are putting their wish lists together! I am going to be busy for a while. :)

As far as the plans go, they were very straight forward and easy to follow. I did catch the 4X4 length and 2X2 misses before I started cutting and had to take a trip back to the store. Not a big deal at all. Everything fit like a glove. It was worth it.

Thank you for the site.


Wed, 07/27/2011 - 21:27

for the plans-perfect project to teach my niece perceverance and hard work that yields something lasting. We left out the drawers to keep it simple. Used milk paint to finish island and it turned out great.

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