I think I have shared many times before that her house is small not super super small but pretty darn small at times for a family of five. Our house is just a hair over 1500 ft.². This IS plenty of room for us all to have our own space as long as we keep things organized and make sure that every spot is used to its fullest potential. Our kitchen is about the smallest room in the house though and for that I do long for more square footage. I love to have the kids around when I’m cooking dinner and I love for them to have their own spot to do homework, to hang out, to color, etc. we previously just did not have a space for this.
It it took a while of living in our home until I decided what I really wanted was an island that would go between the kitchen and the family room. The problem was that we needed it to be at a fairly large island. As well, I wanted it to have drawers, wanted it to be large enough to handle more than a couple bar stools and to be white. When I combined all of my wants I saw many islands that fit the bill but they were well over $1000. In other words well over our budget.

I started looking at some of the islands I was gravitating towards and I realize that a lot of them kind of resembled large dressers. Then I googled “dressers turned islands” and soon realized that there is a plethora of examples out there for inspiration.

My next step was cruising craigslist my favorite online department store! I found all kinds of dressers it took me about 3 to 4 days to find a dresser that I really thought would work. I showed the pictures of the dresser to Adam and he scratched his head as he has done so many times in the past. But fortunately he trusted me and I made contact with the owner of the dresser I had my eye on and he agreed to deliver it for only a $25 extra charge. Score! It was BIG! And…..ugly!

I had a vision though!

I knew I could take off those doors on the left and right. Inside was shelves: perfect for displaying bowls and such.

I took them off and got to priming the whole piece. I learned when painting my kitchen cabinets the second time (you heard right! I painted them twice, that’s a whole other story….) that it’s imperative you allow the primer to cure for 24 hours before the paint coat. I did that. I felt it especially important as the finish on this uber ugly piece was a high gloss especially desirable in like the seventies. I really wanted to be certain the paint adhered.

For paint I used:

I used this “Valspar” paint from Lowe’s for our kitchen cabinets. It’s a little tricky to work with, it tends to drip, but it is self-leveling and I love the finish. It can be custom mixed to any color. I chose a linen. 

Painting this piece took about 4 days. After I painted it, I also lightly distressed it, to make it look a bit aged. Next up Adam decided to add some finish work to the back to make it look like a real live of furniture, should we ever use it where the back would show. 

I found a piece of chopping block wood via Craiglist that was originally from Ikea for $80, yay! It was the perfect size! Adam build a base for it atop the dresser that would allow him to attach it, as well as raising the height to 32″ so it would be officially counter top height.

I found just the pulls I needed and I was so excited to get it into the house and start using it!

Now I had a place for storing kitchen wares!

It was kinda a big project, but I kept my eye on the prize. Now it is my most favorite and used piece of furniture in the house. I would say all totaled it cost about $180 from start to finish to create. But it’s totally been worth it!

We use it every single day. It’s made our tiny kitchen so much more practical and I love the look of it!

Necessity is the mother of invention, thank goodness for necessity and a can of paint!

Thank you for reading along!


I'm the momma to three sweet peaches, and the blessed wife of one kind husband. My background is in art, and my B.A. Is in fine art. I like to use my house as my canvas, and love DIY projects around the house.


  1. Reply


    January 29, 2018

    I love this dresser to island makeover! If I didn’t already have an island it would be next on my DIY list. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Reply


      January 30, 2018

      Thank you Kangelia! It was a super fun project actually! Finding the dresser was actually part of the fun!

  2. Reply


    January 25, 2018

    This piece is absolutely stunning! What great vision you had to see beyond the heavy dresser.

    • Reply


      January 25, 2018

      Thank you so much! I really found so much inspiration in others who had gone before me and made islands. The dresser was a lucky find!

  3. Reply


    January 15, 2018

    I am so, so impressed with this piece of furniture that you completely transformed. It is beyond beautiful, and serves the purpose of an island far better than anything you could have bought. Brilliant job! Just wondering–you used a primer to enable you to paint over the glossy finish…or did I read that wrong? I have two oak tables with that ugly, shiny veneer. I want to paint them and I thought I would need to use a product to break down the veneer before painting. And then scraping and sanding. Please tell me I don’t have to do this!

    You have created a beautiful smaller home. I like that you have so many of your favorite pieces here and there, when the popular thinking in small spaces is keeping things minimal. You have busted that myth! Kudos to you.


    • Reply


      January 15, 2018

      Thank you Jane! I appreciate your kind comments!
      Yes! Believe it or not, I did not sand at all prior to applying the primer. I cleaned the top with TSP but just then painted on the primer. I was pretty surprised, and even checked to see how it had adhered, and ran my nail over the surface. No scratches! I am a believer in the wonders of primer! Make sure to let it set up for 24 hours though before painting! Happy DIY’ing!