First published on September 14, 2015 now updated exactly one year later with new photos on September 14, 2016! I knew what I wanted in our kitchen – a red kitchen island with a butcher block top on wheels but I’m not always the sharpest tool in the shed, sometimes it takes awhile for me to see what is staring me directly in the face. We pulled this radio stand out of the play house (our future duck coop) and I really didn’t know what to do with it. I set it aside and got to work on the many other pieces I already had until I literally dwindled down to it. I even thought about giving it away as I just couldn’t figure out how to make it functional. It was very cool and rather pretty though it did have some veneer cracking and missing on the front of it (as you can see in the before) so I had planned to probably paint it regardless. But if you stand it against a wall it is either useless as a shelf or you have to face the prettiest part of the whole piece to the wall. I just couldn’t figure out how to use it in a functional way so I put it out of my mind.
Meanwhile, I knew all along I wanted a butcher block red kitchen island and I have also always wanted a book shelf in my kitchen for all of my recipe books and things so I got to work designing an island. It wasn’t very big and it was basically a small bookshelf on wheels that was a basic rectangle. I didn’t want to build it (I’m not a builder, I’m a recycler) so I was planning on probably finding something at the salvage yard. It took me so long to finally put two and two together *facepalm*. Not only was this radio stand almost exactly the same as I was designing, it’s better because it looks amazing from every angle. The very reason I was having so much trouble figuring out a function for it is what literally makes it perfect as my red kitchen island because now you can see it from every angle and use it too. Funny how things work out. I bought three cans of the red in the most affordable spray paint my local fleet store offered.
When I painted it I taped up the “fabric” to keep it its original gold color thouch you can see it looks kinda stained… I may decide to paint that a separate color at some point. I put two coats of primer on it, three coats of paint and then two coats of poly acrylic, which I also put on the fabric (front and back) to help protect it. My biggest worry about it is that it was never very sturdy. I had a butcher block island once that consisted of two cabinets screwed together that we put feet on and once when I tried to move it myself one of the feet caved right over – I didn’t want that to happen again. So, I cut two 2x4s to set it on and screwed up through them into each leg as carefully as I could. This was a bit tense as I had to be perfectly straight or the screw would have burst out the side of one of those pretty legs. Then I added big castors so it has no reason to lean when it is pushed, it will just roll. On top of that we added slats of oak we had left over from our counter tops that we covered the bottom with to add even more support. It is surprisingly sturdy now and rolls so easily, when we want the kitchen open we just slide it our red kitchen island out of the way. We’re still looking for stools and I can see myself, every winter from now on, sitting at my island in front of the fire after work, perhaps sipping tea and reading from one of my cook books 🙂
Check out my tutorial How to: Build your own butcher block!
Update 9/15/16: New photos to enjoy! Hey guys, I can’t believe I’ve almost been blogging for a whole year now! This radio stand I converted into a red kitchen island remains one of my top posts here however, I never liked the pictures I had for it. The bright red was really hard to capture accurately and the previous photos I thought came out far too magenta. I’ve been hinting at the blog lately that my big kitchen reveal is finally coming up and well, it just so happened, I had to take a lot of pictures for that big reveal (expect to see it August 8th 2016!) and guess what sits smack dab in the middle of my kitchen? My red kitchen island of course! So I was able to retake a whole bunch of photos! I am so happy to see that the colors came out so much truer to real life here.
Thanks for coming by!