Kitchen Island

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.

On 23 September 2019 I finished the sides to match the headboard and the entertainment center.

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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