Originally I thought I wanted the shelves to be stained. Then I changed my mind and had to sand to remove the stain.
Someday soon our kitchen cabinets will be a creamy white color. I wanted the island to contrast so I went with black, which also coordinates with our kitchen chairs. The paint was leftover from a previous DIY home project so no additional cost there.
Let's face it, with teenagers in the house, it would become distressed before long anyway. I just sped up the process by sanding the edges. The natural wood coming through was a little light for my taste so I finished by rubbing on a watered-down walnut colored stain.
Our neighbor custom made this butcher block top to fit the dimensions I wanted for the island. In it's natural state, it was a bit lighter in color than I preferred. I read online it wasn't recommended to stain butcher block. I tried food-safe walnut oil but that didn't darken it any. My continued research brought me to Howard Butcher Block Conditioner which I found at Home Depot for $9. It's made with mineral oil and beeswax which keeps water from penetrating the wood. It was super easy to apply and it richened the color just enough for my taste (which is a little darker than it comes across in the photos).
I knew I wanted baskets for storage on the shelves. After looking at several stores and not finding anything in the style or size I needed, I ended up at the grand opening of the local At Home store. I found these baskets that fit the necessary dimensions AND matched the butcher block top perfectly. They were a little more pricey than I had hoped at $20 each, but they were exactly what I had been searching for, so I bit the bullet. I happened to ask at checkout if they had any online coupons and it was my lucky day because they honored a 15% off coupon even though I didn't have it printed off. ♥
The finished product with the baskets…
It took no time at all to find plenty of "stuff" to fill the baskets. It's also the prefect place to display the cutting board the same neighbor helped my son make for my birthday a few years ago.
The $4 rubber casters from Home Depot protect the new wood floors and allow me to move the island wherever I want it in the kitchen. I love it! Someday soon hopefully I'll be able to love the rest of the kitchen, too. Who thought I would be so excited to finally get the new trim installed? In total the custom island cost me $350 ($250 to have it built & $100 to finish and accessorize) and it's a piece of furniture I can use anywhere in the house and even take with me when we move.