Dresser turned kitchen island – father’s day DIY

Before we get to the DYI – I just need a little space to share our morning.

The morning was rough.

I mean the kind of rough that makes you consider running away to a secluded tropical island where the only people you have to talk to are the bartender, the cook, and the masseuse/esthetician/manicurist/spirt guide … whatever really makes you happy.

But I think unexpectedly ditching my husband with no warning for an extended period of time with the children is a check my marriage can’t cash … so for his sake and the kids, I stay put.

Noon hadn’t even hit yet and I had a very clingy little boy. He finally gave me 10 minutes of peace for me to use to get ready to get moving and get ready to leave our home.

That is when he walked into my room with a thick glistening covering his chin and his hands.

I went to the dinning room to investigate … there was syrup all over the table and my laptop.

As I was cleaning that he was reaching for a small glass ‘aquarium’ my daughter made at preschool. It slipped out of his chubby little hands and shattered right next to my feet.


Both of the kids that that was a good time to come investigate the mess. Here I am panicked about them cutting themselves on glass, getting the mess cleaned, and getting the kitchen island done for our dad for father’s day.

So after we finally managed to get out of the house and over to my mom and dad’s house, my sister and I got to work on one of the two gifts we gave my dad for father’s day.

My parents have this old dresser from my grandma that has been sitting in the garage that they have been wanting to turn into a kitchen island. They have a kitchen that is really good size but not eat-in style – so there was this large empty space in the middle that was under utilized. While we all have memories dancing in the kitchen and I love watching my kids dance with papa in the kitchen these days, it doesn’t help the function/flow of their kitchen at all.

So enter the island.

We started with this dresser.  The drawers were already removed for sanding.


My dad did most of the sanding work. So we set to work on the paint.  We used Behr Marquee.  We choose this particular brand and variation because it was the most stain resistant, easiest to clean, and least likely to pick up and hold unpleasant smells … all good things when it is in your kitchen.  It also was the most expensive but because it is a 1 coat to cover paint and it had the primer already in it we only needed a quarter of a gallon and only used about half of it.

One piece of advice – get paint rollers.  We liked the smaller ones.  The rollers help the paint go on more smoothly and don’t leave brush strokes in the finish.

I have never done a kitchen counter top but we selected some wood, used some construction adhesive and added to the top. I selected some beautiful douglas fir for the top.


This was an 8 foot 2 x 12 board.  It was just enough for what we needed.


We attached it with construction adhesive.


After adding it to the dresser (now island) I covered it in a satin finish poly.  We used a different poly that we picked up from our local hardware store but all the same features. And again we didn’t use a ton we only used about half – maybe less – on the tiny can we bought.

We changed out the knobs.  My dad had some in the garage very similar to this – I think they really modernized the island.  Although my vote was to keep the original ‘crystal’ like knobs, it turned out really nice.


And the finishing touch was changing out one of the top drawers for a little basket – I found the basket at savers for about 3 bucks. It is a small change but I think the basket really moves it from being a painted dresser in the middle of the kitchen to being a kitchen island.

Over all I think we spent about $60 on this project. We already had the dresser and the new knobs and there is one drawer we still want to reenforce – but over all the island is already in use.

We initially added it to the kitchen and started using it basically right away – but noticed we needed to do something about the space between the tops of the two boards. So I used a clear bathroom and kitchen sealant to fill in the crack a bit and limit food from getting stuck in there.  Check out the side by side before and after!


This is an amazing piece – and for my first attempt at making a counter top, I am pretty impressed. And it is on wheels so we don’t even loose the memories yet to be made dancing in the kitchen.

Stay tuned – later this week we will talk about those beer bottles on top and the fantastic labels I made to put on them.


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