This Upcycle Created a Beautiful Kitchen Island

5 Materials
8 Hours

With the bottom half of a china cabinet, a piece of a solid wood door, and some decorative bookends, we have a beautiful kitchen island! Come along with me to see how this transformation took place.
This is not the exact china cabinet we used but it is identical with one exception. The one we used had a wheat sheaf etched into the face of the three bottom doors.
The countertop is made out of a piece of a solid wood door. Solid wood doors are really solid core doors . . . they aren't one solid piece of wood. At least this one wasn't. Therefore, the edges had to be covered. We used 1/4" thick oak hobby boards to edge the countertop. Then, all the nail head holes and seams had to be filled and sanded before we could stain.
After removing all of the old hardware and cleaning the entire cabinet thoroughly with a vinegar/water solution, I used wood-fill to mask the wheat sheaf designs. I find that wood-fill is a little gritty so I finished the top off with a good quality drywall compound to smooth it out.
As you know, china cabinets are intended to be placed against a wall. Therefore, the back is a thin sheet of plywood. So, we attached a sheet of headboard paneling to not only give more stability but as a decorative touch as well.Then, the original oak moulding had to go as it only encompassed three sides and it was not possible to match inexpensively. We simply attached new baseboard moulding instead.After tapping the nail heads in and wood filling all the seams and holes, I primed the whole thing with a bonding primer.
Using Chalk-Tique chalk powder mixed into Benjamin Moore Aura Eggshell paint in the color Kendall Charcoal, this island only required 2 coats. Then, after a minimum cure time of 72 hours, I was able to give 2 coats of clear coat to seal the painted piece.The countertop was stained using General Finishes American Oak Gel Stain and took two coats (24 hours between coats) and then sealed 72 hours later with Varathane Nano Defense Matte clear coat. We used 2 coats of the clear coat.New hardware from Richelieu finished off the front view!
Mom found these beautiful bookends at Home Sense and we used them as corbels! They added such a beautiful touch!
The beautiful finished product!Please excuse the circle blemishes on the photo. I clearly had dust on my camera lens. :(
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Joanne Diamond

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 15 questions
  • Marcela
    on Dec 4, 2017

    Did you paint with a roller or brush?
    • Joanne Diamond
      Joanne Diamond
      on Dec 6, 2017

      I used both, actually. I mostly rolled but had a brush handy for the corners and small areas that the roller couldn't reach without causing paint to pool.

  • Janice Furtado
    Janice Furtado
    on Dec 4, 2017


    • Joanne Diamond
      Joanne Diamond
      on Dec 6, 2017

      It was heavy enough on its own and did not require being bolted down. I think the heavy top was quite key in balancing it well.

  • Debra
    on Jan 22, 2020

    How did you remove the top of the base of the cabinet or did you screw the door using the cabinet top

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