Butcher Block Kitchen Islands

Warm up the kitchen with a butcher block kitchen island that's as practical as it is stylish.
Modern Kitchen With Butcher Block Island and Built-In Refrigerator

Modern Kitchen With Butcher Block Island and Built-In Refrigerator

This modern kitchen features a butcher block kitchen island, wood ceiling beams, dark cabinetry and a built-in refrigerator. The different neutral hues in the kitchen make the space feel warm and inviting.

Butcher block, a naturally beautiful and warm-toned material, is a popular kitchen island countertop. Many butcher block finishes and grains allow cooks to chop and prepare meals directly on the countertop surface.

Mission Makeover: DIY Kitchen Island

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Before: Boring Old Console Table

It took less than 30 minutes of perusing craigslist.com to come across a well-made console table that was looking for a new home. (Cost: $75)

From: HGTV Magazine and HGTV Magazine

Photo By: Photography by Philip Friedman

After: Presto Chango!

With its long, slim top and lower shelf, the table could quickly be turned into a kitchen workstation — one that wouldn't take up much space. This makeover didn't require major construction skills, just some savvy shopping for a new surface for the top, hardware, casters and paint. (Cost: $265) See how they did it with this step-by-step guide.

Photo By: Photography by Philip Friedman, Created by: Anthony Santelli

Kitchen Tabletop

To make it a functional food prep space, it needed a new top. This one had 1/2 inch-thick polyethylene (a common material for cutting boards) cut to the dimensions of the console's top ($66 for a 48-inch-by-16-inch) piece, cuttingboardcompany.com). You can also try butcher block, granite or marble, but they cost more.

From: HGTV Magazine and HGTV Magazine

Photo By: Photography by Philip Friedman, Created by: Anthony Santelli

Color and Casters

The entire table was primed and then painted with a semigloss latex, which can be wiped down in case of food splatters. After it dried, casters were added to the bottom of each leg. (Paint Color: Edamame by HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams)

From: HGTV Magazine and HGTV Magazine

Photo By: Photography by Philip Friedman, Created by: Anthony Santelli

Easy Organization

On one end of the table, a wall pocket ($20, www.containerstore.com) was screwed into the apron of the table. The pocket is great for holding cookbooks, magazines or a cookbook stand.

Photo By: Photography by Philip Friedman, Created by: Anthony Santelli

Cushion With Cork

A cork shelf liner was cut to fit the interior of the drawer. This helps cushion knives, peelers and other utensils stashed in there.

From: HGTV Magazine and HGTV Magazine

Photo By: Photography by Philip Friedman, Created by: Anthony Santelli

Space-Saving Trick

A curtain rod was mounted using the hardware it comes with, between the legs at the table's end opposite the wall pocket. Then S-hooks were hung from the rod for utensils.

From: HGTV Magazine and HGTV Magazine

Photo By: Photography by Philip Friedman, Created by: Anthony Santelli

As with other countertop surfaces, butcher block kitchen islands require some maintenance. Sealant needs to be applied at least once a year, spills should be cleaned up promptly and the surface should be cleaned daily.

Even better, butcher block surfaces can be professionally sealed to prevent scratches (occasional nicks may be sanded out by the homeowner or a professional), though many prefer this surface precisely for its worn-looking sensibilities.

While most commonly found in traditional or country-style kitchens, butcher block kitchen islands might also provide an interesting visual counterpart to modern kitchens, warming up natural stone counters, floors or backsplashes such as marble, limestone or soapstone.

Butcher block is available in a variety of species, grains and thicknesses; like any other countertop surfaces, it can be cut to your specifications. But don't overlook some great ready-made options, from big-box retailers to area chef's warehouse resources.

Kitchen Islands

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