Adding Green in our Kitchen

I wanted to share a recent addition to our kitchen.  If you’ll recall from this post, it took a lot of work to get our kitchen from here to where it is today.  We scraped popcorn ceilings, took out a wall, re-did the lighting, got a couple new appliances, painted the cabinets and replaced the hardware. After all that, the island in our kitchen has always been a bit of a controversy in our house.

Even after we painted it, Mr. Heard wasn’t sold on its looks or functionality.

Add to that the fact that it would cost a fortune to replace that countertop when it came time to do the rest of our counters, and we decided a whole new island was in order.

So what’s a girl to do?  Browse a million different websites, conclude that a $1500 new island was waaaay out of her price range, and then stumble upon this beauty for under $400.  And then, of course, drive 6 hours to Dallas to pick it up!

The STENSTORP island from Ikea was a breeze to assemble and seemed to be really high quality and very sturdy.

I promise I didn’t make Stephen assemble it all by himself!  Whenever I wasn’t taking photos, you can bet I was right there helping. 🙂

Less than 30 minutes of assembling later, and we had our new island.

We never had butcher block in a kitchen before, so I decided just to use the wood oil Ikea sells to treat it.  The instructions tell you to sand first, then apply a coat of the oil, let it dry, and repeat up to 5 times.

I don’t know about you, but this is NOT what I expected the oil to look like when I opened the can.  I guess I was picturing something more the color of olive oil.

It goes on white and then soaks into the wood.  You can see I used a foam brush to apply the oil.

One thing I noticed after applying the oil the first few times was that the wood became very rough as it soaked up the oil – the grain was raised and there were little slivers of wood standing up all along the surface.

You can see the remnants of the wood slivers on my sanding block below.

After every coat the counter got more and more smooth.  Luckily by the 4th coat, the wood only needed a slight sanding before it was ready to use!

So are you ready to see our island in its new home?  Here she is, complete with a new green runner for the occasion.

I love how our Craigslist bar stools look with the oiled butcher block, but the island looks great without them too.

You might be scrolling back and forth between our old island and this one and wondering why we chose something with a smaller countertop, less seating space, and presumably less storage.

Believe it or not, the open stainless shelving on the opposite side of the island provides the perfect place to store our pots and pans, mixing bowls, and even some of our prettier kitchen items that we never got to appreciate before.

Since I originally wrote this on St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I’d make a specific mention of my favorite green item in the kitchen.  This green canning scale was left at the back of one of our cabinets by the previous owners, and I think it’s adorable.  The best part is that my husband, who does a lot of backpacking, uses it all the time to weigh his gear.

So that’s a look at the new addition to our kitchen.  Who would have thought that when I mentioned we’d be adding more butcher block to our house in this post that you’d get to see it so soon!  One more time before …

and after!

So what do you think of our newest addition?  Do you think we’re crazy for giving up that huge countertop we had before?

Thanks for reading!  I’ll be linking to these parties this week:

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41 Responses to Adding Green in our Kitchen

  1. nikki says:

    I like it. I think it makes the kitchen look a little more open. I’d also bet that the open storage for pots and pans is quite handy.

  2. No, I don’t think you’re crazy to give up that counter space cause this looks a TON better and I think a little open storage in a kitchen is a great thing. Great job! I love the green scale too!

  3. I don’t think you’re crazy. Sometimes it’s better to give up a little counter space to get the right piece of furniture. The new island really looks great in there and it certainly has the added bonus of displaying your cute accessories! Good score on the scale! I collect old scales and the green color is hard to come by, or I should say, you pay for that green color. 🙂

    Great job on this! Another reason to have made that drive to Ikea! 🙂


  4. Morgan says:

    You’re not crazy! I think it makes the kitchen look more open and more modern. I love the clean lines of it and that cheery, green runner makes me so happy! =] You know I love green. Hehe.

  5. Allisha says:

    Well, I don’t know if you’re crazy or not, but the island looks amazing! 😉

  6. Casey says:

    it’s so cute and looks so good there! And it’s the perfect place for Cara and I to sit while you get chips and dip and Stephen cooks dinner!! 😉

  7. Jenn says:

    I love it! It makes your kitchen look so much more open. I’m also a huge fan of the butcher block top.

  8. Adele says:

    Looks great! I was worried about the floor underneath the other bar, but it looks like the old one just slid out. I think it makes the kitchen look bigger. Good job!!

  9. YAY! That looks fantastic. I love those stools as well.
    Your blog is making me so impatient to get in to our new home and get to work.
    Can’t wait to see more of your Ikea purchases in their new spots.

  10. Michelle says:

    I love the look of wooden benchtops and always wondered how much you’d need to oil them to get them food proof. The wood with the green looks fabulous. Hope you had yourself some Guiness afterwards in true St Pats style 🙂

  11. Gorgeous! So glad you finally made it to Ikea – I was there yesterday myself 🙂 I don’t think you’re crazy for getting rid of the larger counter; I think this one serves it’s purpose well. I would love to have butcher block counters in my kitchen!

  12. Robby says:

    Hot damn that looks amazing, can’t wait to see it in person.

  13. Lena says:

    Yay! More wooden countertop. It looks fabulous!

  14. I LOVE your kitchen, and I love the new island… and I am green with envy over those awesome barstools! It all looks totally great!

    I was wondering if you would be willing to come do a special guest post about this for Remodelaholic? Let me know and I will send you the details!


  15. Amy says:

    Your kitchen is so cute! I love the new addition. Are those the same cabinets – just painted white? Did you do them yourself? Love your posts!

    • Meredith says:

      Hey Amy!
      To answer your question, those are the same cabinets as when we moved in. We primed and painted them, and they’re such an improvement! I wish I would have done a bit better job prepping the cabinets before painting them (they’re far from perfect), but I can live with them for now. 🙂

  16. I think it’s PERFECT!! Wow, the before and after of your kitchen is awesome – you guys have done such a great job.

  17. Yvonne says:

    Wow…your kitchen looks amazing! I absolutely love the way you have accessorized the island. I think it’s so practical to be able to tuck the stools underneath the counter, and the color of the butcher block counter is gorgeous. Well done!!!

  18. Love it! Your new island looks like it belongs there. I love the contrast of the wood with yoru white kitchen!

  19. Katrina says:

    I love it! Sometimes downsizing is good, and in this case it turned out great! Where in Texas do you live? My aunt in Hereford just about died when she visited the IKEA and Mall of America in MN. We definitely take for granted that IKEA is so close and we can go there multiple times a week, let alone a year!

    • Meredith says:

      Hey Katrina,
      Thanks for the love for our kitchen island! We’re actually in Northwest Arkansas (Fayetteville), so it was a 6 hour drive to get to IKEA in Dallas – hence the reason it took me so long to visit!

  20. Your kitchen is so open now and bright. A happy place to gather/eat and cook! I love it! 🙂

  21. Jenny says:

    Love it! Those bar stools are amazing!

  22. Macy Dawn says:

    I love those stools you added. They keep the wood theme going. Love, love.

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  24. Bella says:

    Your kitchen looks FANTASTIC.

    I love your style, and I think you may just be even better at me, at working on a budget. Way to go, I just adore everything I’m seeing.

    Bella 🙂**AMAZE ME AUGUST** @ Bella Before and After

  25. amy says:

    thanks for posting! we have the SAME island and after months of applying butcher block oil/beeswax, resanding, reapplying and growing totally frustrated at how long my treatments DIDN’T last, I finally bought the Benhalda sealer. HOWEVER, I couldn’t find any information about sanding BETWEEN coats (mine is awfully ‘furry’ after one coat). Anyhow, I see that you did sand between coats (though I’m slightly dismayed that you did FIVE coats…sigh!). Was thinking of bringing in the same color green (which is in our dining room area) into our kitchen IF I can convince hubby to paint the cabinets (we have medium reddish/honey oak cabinets…a little too country for me….but they are in such good shape! sigh!). Again, thanks for posting…off to sand (between coat 1 and 2!)

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  27. Lisa Fody says:

    Love what you’ve done with your kitchen. Very inspirational. The bulkheads are dying for something cute.

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  29. Kate says:

    How are you feeling about your island now? I’ve been oogling this same Ikea island for months now (the previous owners of our house did some craziness in the kitchen!). Are you still happy with it? Is it holding up well? Does the open shelving get dusty? How’s the butcher block top holding up?
    I’ve been in island hell for months, and I’m so ready to remedy our kitchen issue (right now it’s just huge and open and obviously, sorely, missing an island). Was it worth the purchase?

    • Meredith says:

      Hey Kate,
      Sorry I’m just now getting back to you on this! We are still loving our Ikea island. It was a huge improvement over the previous island we had and still provides just as much storage – that’s now easier to access. The shelving doesn’t get as dusty as I thought, and we store pots and pans and things we use semi-regularly so they don’t have time to collect much dust.

      It was definitely worth the money. My only complaint is that the countertop requires oiling every couple months or so and can get water-marked easily. Our solution is that we’re planning on putting a thick coat of that clear stuff they use to seal wooden bars (found it at Lowes) to be done with it once and for all.

      I hope that helps and GOOD luck with your kitchen!

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  31. Shari says:

    Hi!!! My husband and I just bought and built out Stenstorp!!!! So far I LOVE it, but I didn’t know about the oil and sanding so I’ll be heading back soon for those.

    How did you do your cabinets? We just bought a new house and the cabinets are ICKY! I’d love to paint them, but not sure how to go about it. I’ll look around your blog more to see if maybe you’ve already answered my question somewhere!!


    • Meredith says:

      We sanded, primed, and painted our cabinets about four years ago and I never really blogged about them. Quite a few bloggers have documented their process really well though, so my suggestion would be to look up a how-to post. Good luck!

  32. Sasha says:

    It’s beautiful! After seeing yours, we’ve decided to go with the same Ikea island in our new house. Thank you for the heads up on oiling and sanding the butcher block.

  33. Leah says:

    We have the same island, and we love it! We’re moving to a new apartment with a much smaller kitchen but are scheming about how to fit this in.

    I’m still on the hunt for stools and jealous of yours. My husband would like matching stools (white with oak) that would tuck under, so I’m on the hunt for those. I’m excited to be able to eat breakfast at the island. So far, we just use the island for counter space (we have almost none in our place) and for keeping out our baking dishes and pretty stuff.

  34. John says:

    Hi Folks Greetings from Sydney Australia. Great post re the Stenstorp I followed your tips especially about the oiling process and yes we got a great result so thank you.
    We returned to Ikea a couple of days ago and picked up two Ingolf bar chairs to complement the Stenstorp such a good choice definitely recommend them. We live in a 19th century terrace house in inner city Sydney so space is at a premium but everything looks just great.
    Your blog is great really enjoyed reading through everything.

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