An Addition to the Kitchen

An Addition to the Kitchen

It has been a loooooong time coming for this little addition to our kitchen space. Space-wise, our kitchen is big. Functional and storage wise, not so much. There has always been a big gap between the sides of the kitchen and I have played with different ideas for an island to bring everything together.

Just for fun, let’s take a look back at the kitchen from way back when we first bought this mess of a house.

Yes, that is me, many months pregnant in a rickety old kitchen with no wall.

My, how far we’ve come.

It went from that, to this:

Then we painted it a lighter blue last year:

And now, we have this:

I first saw this kitchen island, the Ikea Stenstorp for those that are curious, at my hubby’s family’s cottage. They have a tiny rustic little cabin in the woods up in Canada and did a few changes this past summer, which included adding this island to their small space. Well, the moment I walked into that cottage and saw the island, I knew it was perfect for my kitchen here at home in Florida.

I forgot all about it, as often those things we want but don’t need fall to the back of our minds.

Then, back in January, my mom and I went to Ikea together to get some dishes she wanted. I was strolling through the kitchen area and saw it and said “Oh! That is the island that would be so perfect in my kitchen!” My mom eyed it and agreed and we continued walking. She was going to surprise me that day and buy it for me, but it turned out that it didn’t fit in her car so we had to leave it for another trip with another vehicle (or at least one without kids in the back).

Another month passed and a couple of weeks ago my mom said she was ready to go back to Ikea to get me that kitchen island. I checked online and they had one left in stock. It’s a 2 hour drive each way. A little risky for one left in stock. And my mom remembered the one box we saw that day being damaged so she was worried about getting there and having it not work out.

In a fleeting moment of resourcefulness, frugality and wanting to save time, I looked on our local Craigslist for “Kitchen Island” and a looooong list came up. I scrolled through and there was “Ikea Kitchen Island”. Before I even clicked, I thought, “there is no way it is *the* kitchen island”, but it was. The listing was almost a month old. I thought, “there is no way it is still available”, but it was. I made arrangements to pick up that very island the next day from someone an hour closer each way and for $125 less. Score! My mom was thrilled, I was thrilled. We drove there together to pick it up in the pick up truck my father so graciously let us girls borrow. The girl had the stools I wanted also and threw those in for a few more dollars. We drove home happy as could be. Then it started raining. I kid you not, it has not rained here in Florida in months. The *one* afternoon that we are driving with a piece of furniture in the back of a truck, it downpours. I couldn’t make these things up. We stopped at my mom’s house and found a tarp and she and I stood out in the pouring rain, laughing at the ridiculousness of it all, while strapping the tarp down over it. I still had to drive it another 45 minutes to my house by myself in the storm – and oh, that storm followed me all the way home.

But when we pulled that island off the truck and carried her (congratulations! It’s a girl!) inside and set her in my kitchen, I just heaved a sigh of relief and laughed at what an adventurous day it had been.

She’s been in my kitchen just over a week or so now and I am seriously in love. The extra shelves with storage space.

The surfaces for my kids to do artwork and for my hubby to leave tools laying around.

I thought about straightening up, clearing everything out and making everything shiny and perfect before I took pictures for this post, but I decided against it. It can be so draining to see spaces online that have no signs of life in them. Yes, I love clear counters and I love clean floors. But we live here, too. So, today, you get to see art laying around, my hubby’s tools from the new project going on, and my running hat. I hope you’ll love me anyway.

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  1. Yahoo! That is an awesome story with a very happy ending! It looks awesome in your kitchen too!

    Emily Reply:

    Thank you!! xo

  2. I’m glad I’m not the only one who ends up with crazy stories like that to tell! But GO YOU for being the CraigsList Queen – I am always so impressed with what you find there.

    and, YAY for not-perfect kitchens. :) Every picture I take has junk all over the place…

    Emily Reply:

    I am tired of shoving stuff out of the way for pictures ;)

  3. I love it! What a good find, you are awesome at scoring great deals. I feel like it’s because you know you can get a deal and you’re not going to give up until you do. She’s beautiful and a perfect part of the kitchen family!

    Emily Reply:

    I can be impatient sometimes, but I do love me a good deal – apparently even when I am not the one paying! :)

  4. now I want one of those islands!!! what an awesome combination of cool and useful!

    Emily Reply:

    yes! I often see things at ikea that i am not a big fan of but this – THIS – I knew was perfect the moment I laid eyes on it. Pretty and functional :)

  5. “It can be so draining to see spaces online that have no signs of life in them. Yes, I love clear counters and I love clean floors. But we live here, too.”

    Well said! thanks for this post – beautiful, inspiring and ‘real’ in the best way, it’s such a great feeling to find a bargain!
    Lottie x

    Emily Reply:

    Thanks Lottie!! xo

  6. Beautiful solution. An island doesn’t have to be huge to be perfect. I have a small kitchen cart I use as an island, and it is perfect. I am very short, so it is hard for me to roll dough on my standard height counters–the cart is only about 3 inches shorter, but is the perfect height for me to roll out pizza dough. it doesn’t take up too mcuh space and is provides a lot of storage.

    Emily Reply:

    Linda – so true! Your cart sounds perfect for you. I kept trying to make do with smaller solutions, but I have the opposite problem – I’m tall!! – and I never could get much done hunched over the smaller cabinets we tried as islands. This one is perfect for us in our space.

  7. Emily, I’ve always adored your outlook on life. This story is wonderful! I’ve featured your blog today on stylesson.

    Emily Reply:

    Thank you Marcy! Heading over now to check it out. xo!

  8. What a great find. It makes a great addition to your kitchen.

    Emily Reply:

    Thanks Sunny!! xo

  9. That is great – love that you were able to find it second-hand. My island is an old IKEA pine table (four seater – not big) which was our orignal dining table. I love that is has history and is a bit beat up. Underneath I store four big tubs which house my spelt, oats and two kinds of rice. Works for us:)

    Emily Reply:

    I love that, too. Having items with history make them both beautiful and useful :) xo

  10. Wow! She’s a beauty! Our kitchen is long but too narrow for an island. Sigh. I will have to live vicariously through yours! What a nice Mom! Sounds like mine…

    Emily Reply:

    Yes, my mom is awesome! :)

  11. What a great find! I LOVE those blue painted bowls underneath. I’m guessing they are one-of-a-kind-not-available-in-MN type of bowls?

    Emily Reply:

    They are actually from Anthropologie and can be bought online – I emailed you the link :) xo

  12. The story was a delightful as seeing the new island. I, too have been eyeing one for my kitchen. Thanks for sharing a fun memory!

    Emily Reply:

    Good luck on your search. I really do find the hunt for the perfect item for a space so much fun.

  13. Well for my part I would love you precisely FOR that not-perfect kitchen photo! My husband also always leaves tools in my kitchen – regardless of whether he was working on a kitchen project or not… So glad I’m not the only one who at times has stuff on her counters and dirt on her floors. All those pretty blogs and home sites can leave one feeling like everything should look like a Real Simple issue… Which it never will, unless you refuse to participate in that thing called daily life.

    Anyhow. The Ikea island looks perfect there!

    Emily Reply:

    Thank you :) xo

  14. Love the new kitchen, it looks so complete with the new island, and what a great story! Do you happen to know the name of the kitchen cabinets? Or style? I think they would be perfect for our Gville house rental, which desperately needs some loving!

  15. WOW! I love it emily! How exciting! I love how far it has come! And PS you totally don’t look pregnant in that first picture!

  16. Jane @ See Jane Learn says:

    Oh….we just moved from Illinois back to WA state and our buyers wanted our Ikea island-I loved it but had to leave it:(. Loved those open shelves-enjoy!

  17. We bought a fixer-upper, too! I think it take a type of person/family to do such a thing. Fixing up our house, making it out own, and enjoying our hard work makes me happy, and I’m all about being happy!

    Look for twinkles, follow the winks, find your happy.

  18. nice kitchen!