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Creating a kitchen island

Those not fortunate to have a home with a kitchen island already hardly know what they're missing.

Attractive, ultra-convenient, and even soothing these small work areas - often housing a stove as well - are the perfect addition to any kitchen.

It might seem like a small thing where the stove goes. But having it in the center of an island allows the cook to look out rather than at the wall. That can make a big difference in mood when preparing a stellar meal. Who wants to look at a wall when they could be seeing a beautifully decorated kitchen or living area?

Islands are also a big convenience. They provide extra counter space to put all the ingredients needed to whip up that fabulous dinner. When finished, the island is super easy to clean. They're open and are typically much better lit than a section near the wall.

Building one is not anywhere near as difficult as it may seem, either. Any good do-it-yourselfer can do it in a day, and at a cost that may surprise some. It's really no more than a pedestal or, in more elaborate designs, a large cabinet with drawers.

The pedestal style is especially simple to build. Choose the wood desired - cherry works well, but oak or even treated pine are also very good choices. Select according to your desired kitchen decor. Detailed building instructions are readily available online, but this type is so simple you hardly need them.

A pedestal requires just an oval base. A large piece of plywood will serve if it is to be covered up. Otherwise, a few planks will do well. Glue them together, then just cut a hole in the middle for venting and wiring, then form the oval. The stand can likewise be a series of planks, say in the form of a hexagon. A six-sided figure is sturdy and easy to brace.

A set of brass L-braces for the base and top is a very easy method to employ. Braces connecting the stand to the top are already hidden. Those at the base can easily be hidden by putting them on the inside, through the hole, rather than on the outside.

A range of countertops is available. If the pedestal is built well, it could be a Corian material, or some other specialty stone. They stand up to stains, last forever, and are extremely easy to clean. But hardwoods are making a big comeback on kitchen countertops. Properly treated they can last for decades and they look stunning. Butcher block is a perfect choice.

Staining the base and stand are simple, or wood can be pre-ordered already treated. It has only to be cut and assembled. If the island is to be used only for preparation, and possibly seating and eating, the task becomes even simpler. Then there's no need for creating a space for vents and wiring or gas piping.

If your kitchen floor space area is limited, but not too limited, a smaller island can still serve as a functional and attractive kitchen aid. Even something the size of an old-fashioned malt and hamburger shop table can be a great place to make sandwiches. Shop around at antique sites and you may just find one pre-made!