No island is an island

This post is about our kitchen island if you didn't guess. This is top of the list of my favorite things about the renovation of our house thus far.   You know when most of the time things in your head don't turn out exactly that good in real life?  This wasn't one of those times.  Real life turned out EVEN. BETTER.

Back up to our 
initial vision for the kitchen island.  We wanted to use the blue wood ceiling found behind a layer of sheet rock for three sides of the island.  There is no way we just came up with that idea ourselves, so thank you Jesus.  All good and perfect gifts (aka house ideas) are from above, right?  I literally don't have time to think ahead to the next meal much less think of creative, Pinterest-y ideas.  So no credit taken here.  

We weren't sure about the cabinet fronts or the counter top. Since I mentioned we have all that spare time to brainstorm, we finally decided on wood fronts.  Thankfully our designer helped and told us, "you need to do wood fronts." Perfect.  Decision made.  Can I please take you with me everywhere?  She explained that it needed to look like a big piece of furniture.  Painted fronts would not have given us that look, so we decided to use the old pine taken out of the house to look something like this:

Then for the countertop, Brett had some old planks of walnut from his Papa Lawrence's barn.  His Papa had used some of it to make their dining room table years ago and the rest was just left in the top of the barn.  This is the best photo I can find of that wood.  

Actually this is cedar.  But imagine it is walnut.  We can't find the actual photo! Or just thought we took a picture.

Our contractor, Marcus Allen, referred his dad, Ray Allen.  He met with us a few times, I showed him some photos and then we delivered all the wood to him. We gave him a big list of how to care for it, when it liked to go to bed and how it liked its breakfast.  He reminded us that it was in good hands and that he had a good fire alarm.   And then we waited...not so patiently! By the end of it all three of our kids knew Mr. Ray by name (even called him Papa at some point) and could also spot him driving in his truck down the highway.  Are you saying we stalked him?  Never.

Here are the photos are the process that we monitored oh so closely:

The first step - getting the box frame ready.

This is my bed frame, I mean, one of the top drawers.  We had to buy 500 pound heavy duty 36 inch drawer slides.  I'm pretty sure that is the largest and heaviest slide ever known to man.  Or at least to Mr. Ray. And the UPS guy. 

Cabinet fronts waiting to be attached.

At this point, Mr. Ray gave me the job of looking for drawer pulls.  Here is a link to the drawer pulls we decided on (a nap time get together with my friends Home, and We were really pleased with the weight and feel.  Thankfully for the UPS guy, they only weighed a fraction of that of the drawer slides.  Oh, and by the way - I HIGHLY recommend using lots of drawers.  If you're in the kitchen a lot, it's so much more efficient than opening cabinet doors and then having to pull out a drawer.

Blue boards attached!

Mr. Ray said he literally used every clamp in his shop for this 56 x 84 inch countertop.

Lots of sanding....Almost done!  

AND FINALLY!!!  ISLAND DELIVERY DAY! (To view video make sure you are viewing this in a web browser).

Bo is helping them get it level.  "Good enough" seems to be the theme for getting things level in this house.

Side note based on the photo above:  The standard cabinet height is 36 inches and that was the original plan for ours.  Turns out we are extra fancy since our cabinet height ranges from 35.5 - 37.5 depending on which corner you measure from.  Standard is just not good enough for us you know.  

These drawers are 36 inches long and this one is deep (22 inches).  I HAD to have as much storage space as possible - enough to fit 10 roasting pans, a kitchen aid mixer, a food processor and a small child.  

And there you have it ladies and gentlemen, in all it's crowning glory...The Tucker Family kitchen island.
Reclaimed Pine Wood, Walnut, Distressed, Farmhouse Kitchen Island, Wood fronts, Wood countertop,

And since most of my posts must have some deeper meaning jibber jabber... Some say "No man is an Island" - meaning, an island represents isolation and solitude, but humans are meant for connection and relationships and shouldn't go at life alone.  I know why we call the kitchen island an island (surrounded by space, yata yata) but really, what it stands for is so far from it's name.  What do we do around a kitchen island? We gather together, talk together, work together.  Our lives as wives, mamas, dads, friends (insert any role in life) are not meant to be islands and neither are our kitchen islands and homes.

I love everything the modern kitchen island represents.  Togetherness, good food, practicality, memory-making-messes.  In a quick history lesson on the kitchen island - I was reminded how the modern kitchen island represents authenticity and realness.  In the 1890's when our farmhouse was originally built, the kitchen was not glamorous and put at the back of the houses - separated from the rest of the house.  In houses much nicer than ours, people didn't want you to see all of the fuss and mess that happened in the kitchen.  They only wanted you to see the final product - a perfectly roasted chicken or a decadent apple pie served in a fancy dining room.  Remind you of the modern day Instagram anyone?

I'm so thankful that things have changed over the last century - islands, and the more open feel of houses, the un-ashamed openness of the kitchen and all that goes on.  As the kids have come along, I've had to quickly get over the need (want) to have a straight house in order to have people over or to have a good time (not stressing about the mess).  I've also had to work on being intentional about connecting with others.  To think outside our core family unit and all the day to day needs and reach out to others.  No mama is an island either!  So 
I encourage you to work hard at connecting too.  It's so easy to feel connected on social media, but is that what hospitality is really about?  Liking and commenting?  Invite someone over to your home.  Go to that dinner party, breakfast club, shower, Bible study.   Romans 15:7 says, "Therefore, receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God." Connect in person.  It's so worth it.  I'm going to do that as soon as I get my island cleaned off.  Just kidding.  

Go to sleep with it clean and this is usually what it looks like by about 8:30 am.

Here's to a lifetime of conversations, coffee drinking, craft projects, baking messes, note-taking, and family meals around this beauty.

Reclaimed Pine Wood, Walnut, Distressed, Farmhouse Kitchen Island, Wood fronts, Wood countertop,
The only time the island is this clean is first thing in the morning or when we are about to leave town and I've buckled the kids in the car so I could run around and take pictures.  

Reclaimed Pine Wood, Walnut, Distressed, Farmhouse Kitchen Island, Wood fronts, Wood countertop,
Note, the dishwasher.  So again, when do I have time to research dishwashers?  I googled enough to learn about the decibel stuff and the guys at Lowes hooked me up with this one while all the kids played hide and seek in their model kitchens.  (And aisle 7 - thanks, random stranger).  Anyway, I LOVE IT.  I know something about these things as I do about 100 loads of dishes a day OK.  It's so quiet, has adjustable shelves, a large utensil basket and the stainless wipes clean. Anyway, it's a Maytag.  


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