One of the more fun things to build was the island (which I built concurrently with the floating breakfast bar). Originally it was going to be a plain, simple "box" with an induction cooktop and overhead hood. However, the hood presented two issues: one, centering it over the cooktop was problematic as there was a ceiling joist right in the way; and two, I couldn't find one that I liked. So I switched to a downdraft style system.
The downdraft vent became the catalyst for a very different new island design, one with a two-tier countertop so the vent could be mounted vertically at the back of the cooktop; this also created some semblance of a backsplash. I went further and made the elevated part a kind of wrap-around shape with elements of the living space design.
Construction began on 5 August 2016 with a pedestal of 2x6 pressure-treated boards secured solidly to the floor, to create a toespace all around. A conduit, installed in the concrete slab as it was poured, carries electricity to the island, seen at the far left.
The pedestal was topped with a ¾-inch plywood base. The notch in the center is for the vent exhaust.
On top of the base I assembled a 2x4 frame.
The complex shape of the upper level behind the cooktop was carefully framed out to create a backsplash; the intake vents will be in the center.
The backsplash also provides a perfect place for (code-mandated) outlets, as well as the vent control.
Below, the center space will have two cabinet doors; the narrower spaces to either side will have drawers.
The sides were sheathed in ½-inch plywood, which will eventually be clad in either ceramic tile or wood to match the cabinetry, while the countertops were made from two layers of ¾-inch plywood (completed on 4 December 2018) in preparation for finishing.
And by 14 November, the countertop was tiled, trimmed and grouted.
But the most important feature of all—the cooktop—arrived on 6 January 2020. I'd been waiting since 2014 to be able to cook!
Structurally, the kitchen island was complete on 5 June 2020, very nearly four years after I'd begun building it. Only the staining remains to be done.
I even finished the downdraft vents.
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