Recently, my friend and I were discussing ways she could add character and coziness to her new construction home. Her home is absolutely beautiful with an open, airy layout which encompasses her entry way, kitchen, living and dining rooms. However, the same open floor plan also had a bit of a cool ambiance due to the expansive tile floor, lots of wall space and large granite countertops. We decided the first step in transforming her space into a warm, welcoming retreat involved converting her kitchen island into a focal point. As you can see in the below gallery of pictures, her existing island was half dry wall and half cabinetry, with two different colors and textures. Adding wood planks not only made her island more cohesive, but bringing this natural element into her space added immeasurable warmth.
To give this island more character, we chose to use pine boards. There are other, cheaper options out there but I’ll explain why we didn’t use the two most popular, plywood and MDF. Because her island is 10′ across the front, finding plywood long enough to make a single plank would have been very difficult. We did not want any seams across the front so we had to have a product long enough to cover the entire 10′. While MDF is cheaper, is creates more of a polished, perfect product whereas we were going for a little more rustic feel. So while both of these options are a little less expensive, pine boards gave us the look we were going for.
We wanted a medium thickness on our planks so we went with 6” wide. However, you can go wider or smaller depending on how you want your final product to look.
(8) 12′ 1×6 Pine Boards
(10) 8′ 1×6 Pine Boards
(10) 8′ 1×4 Pine Boards
Interior White Caulk (we like Alex 30 minute dry time)
1 gallon white primer
1 gallon white paint
or you can do 1 gallon paint with primer instead of buying them individually
Finishing Nails and nail gun
Optional: Electrical Boxes
Notes: My husband prefers to get raw boards and paint his own primer and paint but feel free to buy primed pine boards to save you a step.
Before we began work inside, we primed our pine boards so they could dry while we prepped the island. Stripping all the existing trim from the island was our first step inside. When we pulled off the boards around the granite, I happened to look underneath and to my shock, the entire half of her 10’x4′ piece of granite was only supported by one little wedge! It was hard to get a picture, but right where the sheet rock ends there is a 1/2″ gap with no support all the way around, except for one piece. See how you can see straight through the crack? Talk about a disaster waiting to happen! Thankfully, we caught it before it broke and we were able to put wedges all the way around for support!
Once the trim was removed, our next step was to move our outlet boxes. We wanted to turn them horizontally and tuck them up out of the way as much as possible so they would be less visible in the shiplap. Do not attempt this unless you have experience with electricity! This is something that should be hired out unless you have the skill set to be able to safely do it! Make sure to turn off your breaker before you begin any electrical work! We saved the drywall from the new holes we cut and tucked those pieces back into the existing holes so you would not be able to see the hole through the gaps in the wood planks.
Now that our electrical boxes were in their desired position, we began installing our wood planks. To create just the right gap between our boards, we went with a ‘penny gap’. Because of the imperfect nature of the pine boards, not every gap is exactly the penny width, but that is the measurement we used. We installed the base layer of our island ends first, complete with the trim piece so that we could run the boards across the front of island straight into it. Measure from side to side and use your table saw to cut boards to length. Make sure to measure and cut out a space for your electrical boxes using your jig saw.
Once the base layer of our ends were complete and we added the side trim, as seen in the last picture of the previous gallery, we started running our boards across the front of the island. I love how using 12′ boards allowed us to make it seamless across the front of the island. The cuts on the ends of the island do not have to be perfect as they will be covered with a trim piece so pick an arbitrary number close to the length of the island and cut all your boards at once to save time. Again, make sure to cut out your space for your electrical box.
Next, we added our trim pieces to the front of the island to cover up those rough edges and give it a finished look. It is not as important to have the trim piece primed as you can easily get to all sides even after it is hung up. The edges of the shiplap would be impossible to reach so those have to be primed before they are hung.
We then cut down 1″ pieces to cover the rough cuts beside the doors and drawers on the back of the island.
Our final installation step was to install the X’s on the ends of the island. We decided to do a thinner 1″x4″ X’s versus a thicker block. The island is already big enough without needing the extra bulk. We placed caulk in all the joints connecting the trim to the wood. After the caulk is completely dry, we painted two coats of SW Pure White, replaced our outlet covers and we were all done!
While my friend still has plans to add a few more wood features, I think this island is a great start! It added so much warmth and character to her wide open space. More than anything, I enjoyed working with her to design and install the shiplap. I also brought my Dad in to help and anytime I get to work with him it is an absolute pleasure!