1 Jul 2012

I Board, You Board, We all Beadboard!

Isn't it fantastic? In a totally beadboard awesomeness kind of way? Our boring kitchen island has been pumped up.  It has class! Honestly, I just sit at our kitchen table and stare at it - that's how much I love this island now.

Loving the island is a pretty big accomplishment, since I actually loathed it before.  Out of all the bad woodwork in our kitchen, our island was hands down the worst.  The doors were real wood, but the sides were all veneer and had yellowed horribly.  I hated looking at it.  The doors, the trim and the veneer were all different shades of maple/sun bleached yellow.

Here's where we started.

I am not really sure if this is a good thing or not, but about a year after we moved into our house we discovered that the island was free standing.  I guess we hadn't really thought about it much before and just assumed it was built in somehow (that's logical, right?).  That is, until one day I was sitting on the counter and resting (i.e. pushing) my feet against the island and the whole thing moved.  So then of course, just for fun we moved it all around the kitchen to see if we liked it better anywhere else.  Nope. The spot it was in was really the only place that it fit - and was semi functional.  The fact that it is free standing though, did help us in this project, as we were able to completely move it out of the kitchen and work on it in the garage.

I know it looks like he is being very zen and having a moment with the island in the picture above.....but it's not true.  Just a picture with his eyes closed. I guess I only took one picture before we started upgrading it.

We researched a bunch of options from just slapping on some beadboard sheets, to doing individual planks, to doing board and batten.  In the end (thank you google images for all of your help) we landed on trimming around the sides and then filling in the 'hole' with sheet beadboard.

We had a Groupon for a local lumber company, which significantly reduced the cost of this project for us.  We bought 3" wood burlap board for the trim - it's basically like casing but has nice rounded edges.  We splurged on this and bought the real wood instead of MDF so that we would be able to sand it and smooth the edges where needed.  Then we also bought one sheet of 2" beadboard.  The total would have been $60, but with our Groupon, our out of pocket costs were reduced to $35.

Before we could start applying the new bedazzlement we had to tear off the old corner trim. Then Mr. Swell measured and cut the burlap board so that it would go around each side of the island.  We chose to butt the small sides up against each other instead of mitring the corners on a 45 degree angle - we thought it gave it more of a cottagy feel.  Then he glued the pieces on and reinforced with his nail gun at the top and bottom.

Since we didn't mitre the corners, we also chose not to mitre the long ends of the board and to leave the edges showing.  I was a little hesitant that it would look like we were just lazy and had missed a step, but actually it provides a bit of chunkiness to the island that I don't think we would have achieved had we gone with a smooth corner.

Then Mr. Swell got to cutting the beadboard.  We don't have a table saw (yet....) so he used his skill saw to make the cuts.  Since the beadboard already had straight grooves, it helped with guiding the skill saw.

He applied glue to the back of the beadboard and inserted into the 'hole'.  We didn't staple the beardboard on - it was light enough that the glue held it in place.

Action shot - he wouldn't stop moving for me to get a good photo! Man on a glue mission

The last step in the assembly was to glue and nail on a couple tiny pieces of corner trim at the bottom of the toe kick.

* sidenote: my Mom proof reads every one of my posts before it goes live. When she saw this picture, she said it looks like there is blood on the island.  Honestly, I have no idea what that splotch is.  My guess is that it's jam - not blood, but it was hidden on the toe kick and we couldn't see it until we lifted the island up on the sawhorses.  I tried to crop it out, but it made the photo look weird.  Sorry if you are grossed out....but I did promise real life on this blog.  That's real life.  Blood? Jam? Who knows.....

Once everything was dry, we used paintable wood filler to fill in any major gaps between the beadboard and the trim.

The next day we sanded the wood filler and smoothed out any of the exposed cut edges.

And then I got painting.  Since 99% of the island was already primed (we bought the trim and beadboard pre-primed), I decided to not waste time priming and instead went right to the painting.  I used 2 coats of Benjamin Moore Advance in White Dove (the same paint we used on the cabinets). The trickiest part was not using too much paint or it would all pool up in the beadboard grooves.  I got the hang of it after a while, but my basic method was to paint with a brush, then roll, then go back over the grooves with the brush again to get rid of any pooling.  Then we waited the 5 days for the paint to cure (5 very painful days).

Reattached the already painted doors and hardware, and moved it back into the kitchen.  Way heavier to move in than to move out by the way!

I think my favorite part is how the beadboard works with the new backsplash. The backsplash has a real modern feel to it, but the beadboard on the island sort of counteracts it and makes the kitchen feel warmer.

So....that's the final item crossed off from our original Plan of Attack. It's getting pretty tricky to not show you the whole kitchen in the photos - but I want to save any shots of the whole room for the final reveal so you can see it all put together.  I am in the middle of doing a bunch of fluffy stuff (as my husband calls it) now to add some new accessories and splashes of colour to the kitchen.  I'll have a couple of the fluff projects to show you in the coming weeks.

Linking to:  Remodelaholic, The CSI Project


  1. It looks great! I am a huge fan of bead board. (Good thing, since my house is full of it!) :-)

  2. I love love love beadboard. Your island looks great!

  3. beadboard is such a great invention!
    great job on the island makeover!

  4. I love beadboard! The island looks fantastic!

    CSI Project Guest Judge

  5. We did this to our kitchen island too, but we splurged with a butcher block top! I love it!


    1. I would have loved a butcher block countertop! Since we know that we wont be in this house for long though we decided to just leave it the way it was.


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