As seen in the previous post, nearly all of the kitchen stuff is located along one wall, making the room sort of anchorless and not very user-friendly. I was won over by the STENSTORP island at IKEA: huge real wood top, stainless steel shelves, space for bar stools.
I thought it would be awesome in our kitchen but $400+ (including tax) was too steep; plus, I prefer to buy furniture second-hand for a variety of reasons. So, I set up a Craigslist alert for “STENSTORP” and one popped up a few weeks later. $175 – maybe not a steal, but definitely a good deal for such a major piece of furniture.
The island’s top had a big gouge that the previous owner had patched with wood filler. I decided to flip the top and sand the bottom to use instead.
I read online that mineral oil is good, cheap, food-safe protectant for butcher block counters. Jarrod was a good sport and bought it at Walgreen’s for me.
It was fun to apply and the wood drank it right up, so I thought we were good to go. Setting a warm pizza box on it, however, raised the grain of the wood, indicating that the mineral oil did not provide adequate protection against steam/water. I don’t want to have to treat the island delicately, so I upped the ante and applied tung oil finish, which is supposed to provide more water resistence.
If this doesn’t work, I’ll cave and use water-based wipe-on poly. We won’t actually be cutting food directly on the island’s surface so the poly would be fine, but I’d rather use a product that absorbs into the wood rather than sitting on top of it.
Here’s what our kitchen looks like now. (At this point it might be helpful to point out, in case you haven’t already noticed, that clicking on an image enlarges it.)
Not finished yet, but definitely some big steps in the right direction. I still need to figure out replacements for the mini-blinds. The trim hasn’t been repainted yet. The space will be warmed up with more art, better dish towels, etc. Most importantly, this ceiling fan needs help.
“Ugly as a mud fence,” as my grandma once said to me about David Letterman. “He sure is funny, but he’s ugly as a mud fence.”