Wood Paneled Peninsula

My least favourite part of the kitchen used to be the peninsula. It was short and stubby, too small to use as a prep space and looked awkward.

I had originally hoped to build the peninsula deeper to house a beverage fridge and get full counter depth cupboards & drawers. However it became apparent that to do that we would loose valuable dining room space, and be unable to have a 6 person dining table.

We were not willing to compromise on the dining table (we love to entertain!) so the peninsula needed to stay skinny. If we couldnt make it wider we could at least make it longer. We added only one more cabinet, which not only made the kitchen symetrical, but made so much more work space. Its amazing what a foot can do. Now you can stand comfortably at the peninsula and chop veggies or converse with someone in the diningroom.

Such a small change, but a world of difference. Now the peninsula is my favourite part of the kitchen. The concrete waterfall is the icing on the cake, but you may have noticed we added a bit of a special touch on the back of the peninsula as well.

The peninsula used to be backed in an Ikea cover panel that matched the Ikea Adel kitchen cabinets. It worked just fine, but after we added the extra cabinet, the old cover panel wasn’t big enough.

Naked Peninsula Back
Naked Peninsula Back

We could have went out and bought a larger one, but thought it might be a fun area to add something special, and make our kitchen look a bit more custom. Enter a trip to the hardware store.

We picked up three 6 foot long pieces of tongue and groove 1×6 unfinished pine flooring from Home Depot along with a 1×4 piece of kiln dried pine. Back in the garage we cut down our lumber to three feet long on the miter saw, and headed into the house armed with some wood glue and a brad nailer.

We started at the top of the peninsula with a board facing groove up. We brad nailed it into the cabinets making sure we nailed through the sides of the cabinet frames, not just the backer. When attaching the second board we added a bit of glue to the groove, slid it tightly against the other board, and continued nailing. You will notice that we didn’t run the wood all the way to the wall. The stove is tucked into that corner, and to give the stove a bit more breathing room, we opted to only panel to just past the oven door. It saves on wood, and I will worry less that I will light my house on fire when I run the self cleaning oven.

Nailing up boards
Nailing up boards

Once we reached the bottom, we went to the garage and cut the groove off the past piece with the table saw so we would end with a nice smooth board.

Cutting off the last tongue with the table saw
Cutting off the last tongue with the table saw
Last board installed
Last board installed (note the absolute chaos of the kitchen in the background!)

After the boards were installed we got out the wood filler and filled in the brad nail holes.

Nail holes (and the stupid little divot my brad nailer leaves)
Wood Filler
photo 3
Nail holes (and the stupid little divot my brad nailer leaves)

After letting the filler dry, we took the sander to the boards and gave it a quick finish sand.

Now we were ready to finish it. We pushed back the countertop (we hadn’t yet adhered it to the cabinets at this point) taped off the area, and added a coat of wood conditioner then two coats of stain (same color as our dining table & coffee bar shelves).

Staining the paneling
Staining the paneling

After staining we finished it up with 5 coats of Satin Poly. Five coats may have been a bit of overkill, but its beside the stove and oven, and will get its fair share of abuse.

Poly & foam brush
Poly & foam brush

Next up we needed to address the toe kick. For the rest of the kitchen we have plain white toe kicks, but it just seemed weird to carry on the white for the back of the peninsula, so we opted to use a piece of 1×4 pine stained & polyed to match.

We then moved the countertop back in place, making sure the wood was flush with the countertop edge, attached the countertop to the cabinet, and slid the stove back in place.

Making sure the countertop was flush with the paneling
Making sure the countertop was flush with the paneling
Peninsula Back & Toe Kick
Peninsula Back & Toe Kick

Total Cost: About $15!

Grow Peninsula Grow!

Our “U” shaped kitchen was a bit short on one end. Our peninsula oddly only came out 4 feet from the wall, and perpetually looked a bit “off”. He was just too short, too stumpy, and because of such he wasn’t that much use*. He wasn’t really a good prep space, nor did he have enough room to use as a service area for the dining room.

Lil fella
Lil fella
Stubby Peninsula
Stubby Peninsula
The Peninsula
The Peninsula

When preping for new countertops, we knew that we wanted to make Mr. Peninsula a bit bigger for function and to balance the space better. However as our house is tiny (12 feet wide!) we didn’t have a ton of room to play with, without risking/impeding the traffic flow through the main floor.

The peninsula was actually an area of great debate in our house. We agreed on the countertop finish, colour, the coffee bar, the shelving and dining table choice, but we had trouble coming to a happy place with our peninsula. Ideally we would have ripped out all the skinny cabinets and put in full depth cabinets with a wine/beer fridge. BUT we just didn’t have the room (if we wanted to keep a dining table that seats 6-8). I wanted to add some more open shelving or potentially a wine bottle holder, El Granto thought that would look dated and tacky (after some thought I believe he was right about that). In the end, we decided to add a 12″ matching Ikea Adel cabinet, and seamlessly make the peninsula a foot longer. Not a huge gain, but that 12″ made the peninsula come out to the same length as the dishwasher side of the kitchen, and it will add some more prep and serving space.

So off to Ikea I went, for the second Saturday in a row (sink pick-up the week before), and braved the kitchen department yet again. This time I saved El Granto the trip because he enjoys Ikea about as much as I like perusing the video game isle at Best Buy.

Ikea Kitchen Department
The Ikea Kitchen Department. Come in with a happy marriage, and leave on non speaking terms.

This jaunt to Ikea didn’t go as smoothly as my last, and my round trip took almost 4 hours (including subway and shuttle bus). Ouch. The only saving grace was my froyo treat as I wanted at the full service pick-up.

After getting home El Granto quickly assembled the cabinet while I removed the toe kicks and cover panel on the existing peninsula. In short order we had the new cabinet installed, and we leveled the whole peninsula, as apparently the previous owners couldn’t grasp the concept of Ikea’s easy level legs, and the whole thing was about as level as the Tower of Pisa. As a side note I think they may not had a grasp on┬áthe concept of level at all.

New Cabinet
New Cabinet

This was the first step in our prepping for Project Concrete Countertops and it was only the start of demo to come.

Progress?
Progress?

We were left without toe kicks, an uncovered back of a cabinet, no end cover panel, and a countertop that was now 12″ too short. The chaos was minimal and contained, wait till you see how long this lasted!

*If you have a dirty mind, and thought that this post was at all dirty sounding, then that just proves that you don’t read carefully enough. PENINSULA’s people. Get your head out of the gutter.