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The search for an island

Islands are an often-coveted kitchen feature. I’m not in favour of having an island just for the sake of having an island (sometimes a peninsula works better in the space, and I’m a big fan of a well-planned galley kitchen). However, if the space is right an island is a major asset. They offer open prep space, extra storage, a gathering place for entertaining friends, a central station for all sorts of family occasions – from homework to baking adventures – and besides all that, they just look good.

Lately the trend for islands has moved away from the large built-in islands that match the rest of the kitchen cabinetry. Instead, the trend is an open, separate piece for an island like a chunky farmhouse table or a workbench style counter. This look creates interest in design, may work better for an eat-in kitchen (so that the island is also the eating area), has potential to be more affordable, could be more flexible (i.e. a table island could be easy to move around), and fits with the more “undone” eclectic look of interior design today.

This trend is also wonderful for us UsedEverywhere faithful! There’s no better place to find something old, interesting and unique than this online treasure trove! Here are a few of the possibilities I found around the country:

If you have a large kitchen how about this ? Imagine it loaded up with large woven baskets below and perhaps with a metal bar or two beneath the tabletop to hang pots, utensils or dishtowels from?

It has a similar look to this rustic island from Restoration Hardware (which, by the way, sells for $2500+!)

Or how about this gem found on UsedCowichan for $125 (with chairs)?

Its rustic farmhouse look reminds me of a few of my favourite kitchen designs:

(Design by Thomas Smythe, photograph by Michael Graydon)

(Design by Sharon Mimran, photograph by Ted Yarwood)

Another gorgeous table with a similar aesthetic can be found on UsedOttawa in Napean, Ontario:

And if you’re willing to paint it (it’s antique) and add casters, you could easily achieve this look;

(Design by Margot Austin)

The next two tables, an antique from UsedRegina, and a spindle-legged beauty found on UsedCalgary could both be fabulous islands if you added a new solid top – perhaps a stone (like the marble in the picture below), or stainless steel.

(Example of a farmhouse table with a marble countertop. Design by Darryl Carter, photograph by Simon Upton)

And though I like the look of the “X” shapes on the bottom of both tables, they also offer an opportunity to add a lower shelf for more storage.

(from UsedRegina)

(from UsedCalgary)

One of my favourite finds comes from UsedGatineau – this keen seller even mentions that the table would work well as an island – and what a fabulous island it would be! I’d maybe repaint the base in a colour of my liking, and the frame would also work to add a lower shelf on the bottom.

File this next one under “How to NOT post a picture when selling your stuff”:

But random junk and clutter aside, I think this workbench table on UsedCalgary has awesome potential to be an industrial style island like one of these:

(Design by Claire Stubbs, photograph by Ashley Tonner)

(Photograph by Deborah Whitelaw Llewellyn)

And if you’re into the industrial vibe then look no further than Steeltown! I found this plethora of metal workbench tables on UsedHamilton – they’re just begging to become the statement piece in a kitchen!

So if you’re thinking about some kitchen updates, or you’re on the market for an island, why not consider recycling something used? Maybe all a table or workbench needs is a bit of refinishing or a lick of paint, a new countertop or some casters (to make it taller or portable), or perhaps the addition of a shelf or some hooks to increase the storage capacity.

(This island from Martha Stewart’s Bedford kitchen shows what a simple frame can look like with some paint, casters, and a marble countertop)

With a little scouring of your local UsedEverywhere site and some creativity you may not only save some money, but you’ll have a completely unique (and oh-so-trendy) kitchen island!

I'm the wife of one amazing man, a mom of two wonderful little kiddos, and I love interior design, painting, pottery, diy-ing (is that a verb?) running, watching football, singing, the outdoors, ...and so many other things about this wonderful life I've been given!

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