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.


Natalia Rose

Wed, 09/07/2011 - 07:16

Hi Ana,

I have a question... I think I am missing something here. So the width of the shelves is 21" (7 boards at 3" each). The shelves rest between the legs. The distance between the legs is equal to the length of the side apron, which is 17 1/2". So how does it work then?

Thanks a lot!

In reply to by Natalia Rose


Wed, 09/07/2011 - 07:52

Hi Natalia. It's because it's dimensional lumber and although they are called 1" x 3"s, they aren't actually 3" wide, but usually 2.5". 2.5" x 7 = 17.5". Hope that helps!

Natalia Rose

Wed, 09/07/2011 - 08:47

Thanks a lot for the clarification, spiceylg! Obviously I've never bought any dimensional lumber before ;)

Does it go for all lumber like that? Are 4x4s actually 4"x4"?

Thanks again!

Megan Jayne (not verified)

Tue, 11/15/2011 - 16:38

Hey Ana,

Wondering if this would work as a kitchen table? I love the look and the storage area. We obviously would make it wider.. or maybe even a square. We live in base housing and our "dining room" is actually just an extenstion of the living room, so we can use all of the storage room we can get! Thanks in advance!



Tue, 11/22/2011 - 12:35

Hi Ana,
I adore this island just the way it is, but it won't work for my kitchen. I'm looking for a counter-height island that would double as an eating area where I can store bar stools underneath. Is there a way to convert the width dimensions to between 36-40 inches? Also, could I use this plan and leave off the shelves, or do the shelves provide support? Thanks for your time and incredible website!

JD (not verified)

Thu, 01/12/2012 - 10:31

Hi Ana,

Would you be able to add an over hang to one side of the counter top to allow for a bar style side to the island without jeopardizing the stability of the entire island? I'm thinking an 7 inch increase to the width of the top added completely to one side. I'm just wondering if the whole island would tip if someone were to lean on the overhang side. Thanks!

Guest (not verified)

Sat, 02/18/2012 - 23:04

This is beautiful! How would I adjust the plans, if I wanted to create an overhang for some bar seating? How many extra inches for overhang would I need? How much support? Just two brackets?

JH (not verified)

Thu, 02/23/2012 - 07:53

I am finishing up building one of these, and am super thankful to have had these plans to follow along the way. The island looks fantastic and we are oiling and waxing it today and tomorrow. I will say one thing - these plans assume that 1x8 and 2x8 boards are a finished width of 7.5", when it is actually 7.25". I wasn't paying attention when I was putting the drawer housing and drawers together and it meant that I had to cut a notch out of the top of my drawers in the back so that I could put the drawers in. If I would have noticed what was going on earlier, I would have planed down the 1x2s on the top and bottom to be 1 3/8" and had the extra 1/4" I needed, but they were already in place and I didn't feel like taking the whole thing apart to get to them. In the end, all it took was (roughly) a 5/8" cut at a 45 degree angle on the back of the drawers with a circular saw. I could have also used 1x3 for the drawer sides, but the drawer was already built by that point as well. And of course, as others have pointed out, the 2x2s are missing from the parts list and the 4x4 on the parts list isn't long enough. Minor issues aside, many thanks to Ana for a great plan!

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