« My Favorite Recent Reads | Main | A Boston Love Blanket »

Hehu IslandApril 14, 2013

Ever since we moved into this house seven years ago, Lala has hated my rickety old table and wished for an island in the kitchen instead. I couldn't really get on board that domestic train because I loved my fifties formica table and I think most kitchen islands are ugly (at least, the Ikea ones we can afford are). I'm not really sure why I loved that old table so much--it was given to me when someone needed the space, and it came to me rickety. Every time we set anything on it, it swayed. God forbid a cat jump on it--the whole thing creaked like a Model T. But I didn't want to get rid of it. When I got it, it meant home. I could have people over to eat. I could host. I had a table, so I was a grownup. 

But a squeaky Lala gets the grease, and she came up with a compromise. What if we put the table top on top of an island? Best of both worlds. We weren't really sure how we were going to do it, but we headed to Urban Ore in Berkeley to check things out. 

We found several likely candidates, but we knew our island when we saw it. 


It was an old cabinet, cut into two pieces. 


Still not sure we weren't crazy, we loaded them up into Lala's mammoth station wagon. Then we went home where we were exhausted just thinking about a home project, so we made some music instead of working on the island. 


Today, Lala took apart the table. After a trip to the hardware store and to Target, this is what we came up with. 



RIGHT?? Look how happy Lala is! 


And I love the pull out shelf (finally, we have space for our pots!). 


Isn't it darling? I just love it. (And even though I swore a LOT putting in all that contact paper, I will admit that I love everything about contact paper, even the smell.) I haven't even filled the drawers yet, except for one for cloth napkins. I just can't decide what all should go where. It's a delicious feeling. (Sometimes I have dreams of finding new drawers or closets in the house.)


Total price: $171  ($89 for both cabinets. $28 hardware. Stools (Target) $54.)

And now I'm going to go admire it some more. 


Nice work, team! Have the cats colonized it yet?

Beyond awesome, and I too, love those old tables. I love the island and may steal the idea someday.

Day-um!!! Color me inspired. This is amazing! (Not to mention that in my world, frugal is good.)

GORGEOUS. I love it so much.

YOU GUYS!!!! How perfect is that???

Plus, makes me wonder why we are spending so damned much money on our remodel when I could have picked up the phone, called the Hehus, and had the job done just like that!

So cool! And I love that you went to urban ore.

Oh wow! It is P E R F E C T !!! Who wouldn't be crazy happy?!

Brava! My husband completed a similar project with a cabinet we found on the side of the road. It is so nice having an extra place to sit my iPad when I am using it to look at a recipe. I like having it away from the heat of the stove and the messy ingredients.

Great job!

Damn, that's nice! Fine work.

Good thing that won't fit in my kitchen, because I know where you live.

Unbelievable! Hats off to you two-what a gorgeous functional piece.

Very cool!

That's brilliant! I love everything about it. Might copy once we have a "real" house :-)


Looks fabulous! Are you and Lala hiring out your services?! You both should be so proud!

Wonderful! Wanna come up to Central Oregon and build one for me? My old table isn't rickety (and it houses my PG drum carder), but I bet I could find another one at one of the thrift stores, and my kitchen could sure use some more storage space. You could snuggle lambs while Lala and I worked....

I just wanted to say I agree it looks super awesome! Perfect compromise.

Now that is a cool island.

Love it! I don't think there is anything more satisfying than building something for your home. Something practical. And pretty. And darn inexpensive!

Oh my goodness, this is brilliant. That Lala is one clever girl.

So great. Colorado me envious. Wonderful solution.

Brava! Brava! Such a creative solution and fantastic melding of wants, loves, and needs. Truly an example of the total being greater than the sum of its parts.

Brilliant! I love it!

Awesome! It couldn't be any better... looks like it was made to be that way!

LaLa is a genius!

That is so creative and attractive. Keeping it in mind for under my sewing/knitting room 6 ft.,industrial,weigh a ton,particle board tables instead of the messy plastic boxes and metal baskets. Thanks for the idea!

Holy smokes- I LOVE Urban Ore and haven't been there since dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

Great job! I have island envy. I cannot believe it has been 7 years in the house. Szeesh!

You two are geniuses! What a great idea. I wish I had my aunt's old formica table--I would do the same thing. Even the cabinets look like the ones she had in her house, which was built in the late 40's and the table was right next to them. Enjoy!

Boss! That looks great!

You really did that for $171? ARE YOU TWO MAGIC?? It's fantastic!

Wow! It look so great! A perfect pairing of the two pieces. And the two people.

Brilliant compromise!

OMG, that is AWESOME!!! Best Island and Table combo EVER!!!

Cool island! I'll have to keep it in memory for when we remodel the kitchen. It will really need an island!

You've been there SEVEN YEARS??!!! Whoa! I remember you picking out your first place. Holy moly, Batman.

Great island, by the way. You two are ingenious.

I absolutely LOVE this!!!! Looks perfect in your kitchen!

Oh, that is GENIUS and so perfect! Love it!!

Beautiful!! You are both awesome.

And a happy Lala? Priceless!
(This is amazinglyawesome! Don't you love it when your creativity spills over into different or even uncharted territory and you end up even surprising yourself?)
This should be saved for year-end highlights!
Thanks for sharing she says with an appraising eye cast about the room...hmmm

What a cool idea! It's the best of both worlds.

Great job!

That's fantastic! What an eye for together-puttin'.

Snazzy! Looks wonderful. :-)

What a brilliant idea! It looks fantastic - I love that you put two 'retro' pieces together and got an island, a breakfast bar, extra storage, work space, happy Lala and happy Rachael. You are a dynamic duo!

Beautiful job. Really, really nice. And so fun to do a project together.

Are you kidding me? That is FANTASTIC! Yay for home improvements and handy girls. :)

I have an old formica table I've been hanging on to...now I'm getting ideas...
Mine is incomprehensible navy blue woodgrain pattern!
AND held together with hose clamps! Yeah, it creaks a bit. hahahaha

creative, frugal, and very cool! I love it.

Uhh, ahh, how cool that is??? I wish I would have a kitchen big anough for a table, let alone an island, but still... I love the shelves and I love that drawers...

What a great job you did! It looks great and I sure wish I had enough imagination to pull something like that off!

Excellent compromise! It came out great. You two are very clever. :o)

Fantastic idea, now you have the best of both worlds enjoy

Very, Very cute. I love re-purposing stuff.

What a great compromise! And everyone still has what they want...and I love the reuse of the parts...

Looks great! I love this idea - you may have started a trend... ;-)

I thought I was the only one who had dreams of finding previously-unseen sections of my house!

I love it!!!!

OMG that is perfect! I love it!

Brilliant and beautiful!

The comments to this entry are closed.