oak cabinets re-purposed to massive island

Massive Island From Old Oak Cabinets!

oak cabinets re-purposed to massive island

Do you wonder what can be done with old oak cabinets? Is there a way to recycle and reuse the once popular cabinets for other purposes around the house, such as a kitchen island? How could you accomplish this? Additionally, where do you find some?

In this post Homestead Cabinet Design shows you step by step how to make a massive kitchen island out of old oak cabinets. Much good can be said for the strength and durability of old oak cabinets.

Truly, these cabinets make ideal cabinets to re-purpose into oodles of other projects, namely because of their strength and durability. Additionally, you can find them reasonably cheap anywhere. Just check out your local Craigslist or Facebook Market place! You find them everywhere for a fraction of the cost of brand new cabinets.

Most times they are structurally very sound. However, they yellow with age, and become very dated and dreary looking. Thus, after awhile most owners become ready to upgrade to painted cabinets, or the warmer hues of maple, cherry, or even red birch.

Furthermore, by taking them apart into the separate cabinet boxes that they originally came in, these cabinets then fit together in any order that works for you, specifically! You are not locked into using them in the same order/format that the original owners used them in. Moreover, if you have limited space, you do not even need to use all the cabinets that come with your set. Ultimately, with a little work, made-to-order cabinets for your space become a reality!!

Old Oak Cabinets For Massive Island

Below you see old oak cabinets that came from Craigslist, no less. As mentioned above, these came for a fraction of the cost of new kitchen cabinets! Using ingenuity, along with years of experience of working with cabinets, Homestead Cabinet Design transformed these yellowed, aged, and dated oak cabinets to a beautiful massive island! Read on to see how!

old oak cabinets

Re-purposing Old Oak Cabinets Into Massive Island

The first step to re-purposing these old oak cabinets involved the normal steps for repainting any used kitchen cabinets. Absolutely, we took the time to thoroughly clean, fill all holes, and sand them.

When applying all this time and effort into transforming old oak cabinets cabinets to a beautiful stunning island, you do not want the paint to fail. Especially not anytime in the near foreseeable future, all because you did not spend enough time with the prep work!! For step by step directions to do this yourself, check out our blog on painting old oak cabinets.

Island Backs And Sides Constructed

How did we build the island backs and sides from old oak cabinets? First of all, we made a frame the size of the island back. In this case it was huge- 5′ long! Because of its size, we built one huge frame for the back, dividing it equally into 4 sections with paint grade maple dividers.

As seen below, to make the island back look like a Shaker style panel, we cut the old oak refrigerator panels into the sizes needed to fit the frame. Following this, we inserted them into the back of the open spaces or “windows” in the frame. After inserting these cut up refrigerator panels into the frame, we could prime and paint them just like any other modern Shaker panels. All this came from old oak cabinets, with the only added expense of paint grade maple for the “frame”!

Additionally, the sides of the island were manufactured in the same way.

refridgerator panels recycled for island sides and backs

Painting And Prepping For Installation

To begin with, we sanded and prepped all the surfaces. Since the cabinets and parts of the island surrounds came from used cabinets, we needed to apply all the normal steps in repainting old cabinets:

  • First, strip all the hardware.
  • Next, clean thoroughly with TSP.
  • Thirdly, fill in all cracks and dings with wood filler.
  • Finally, sand carefully.

After finishing those steps, and applying the primer coat of Milesi primer, everything needed another light sanding. Following this, we applied the final coat of Milesi Pewter Gray to the cabinet boxes, and the island side and back surrounds. As you see, the island back was massive. Between the back and the sides, they took up almost the whole length of our shop!!

prepping and painting massive island


Following this, we took the cabinets and the island surrounds to the clients house. We took much care to install the cabinets correctly, making sure that the cabinets sat level. Furthermore, we wanted all the doors and drawers to close properly. This client chose to upgrade to new door and drawer handles, which she did not have at the time of installation, so watch our blog to see the finished product in a few weeks.

If you look closely, you see that she did not use the cabinets in the same order that the former owners did. As mentioned above, this is the beauty of re-purposing old cabinets, making them new-for-you, all while making them work for you, in your space!

Furthermore, you see that this island top will be massive. Thus, we made the sides of the island wide enough accommodate this, creating a false open section in the middle, by making the side panels wider than normal. However, this extra width gives her lots of elbow room while prepping and serving meals. Imagine the counter space she gained by adding some extra width to her island!!

Additionally, we added smooth painted trim all the way around the edge. This helped to give the island an anchored, finished look, adding to the simple streamlined appeal of the Shaker panels.

Installing massive island

Installed and ready for the granite top! Keep watching for the final photos of this massive island. We hope to show you the finished product as soon as it is finished!

Want New Cabinet Doors And Drawers?

This client chose to cut costs by keeping all the former door hinges and slides since they were in good working condition. She also kept the original doors, even though new soft close drawer slides and hinges always come as an option, anytime you upgrade any cabinet. Additionally, brand new doors could come as part of the package, if you wish! However, you want to keep in mind that this puts the price up.

Want Help Designing And Installing Your Newly Refurbished Kitchen Island?

We have many cost effective options for you to choose from. Without a doubt, we help our customers find the right kitchen island for their budget. We help make your kitchen right for YOU in the most cost effective way, without sacrificing strength and durability. Basically, your budget decides the limit on your choices! Truly, the sky is the limit, when choosing a kitchen island that is right for your needs and wishes.

Furthermore, we have many options of cabinet and door styles available for you to actually feel the silky, smooth finish. Moreover, you may even wish to add more upgrades than this client did. Perhaps you wish for soft close slides and hinges for your doors, or brand new doors. These are all options that come with any and every cabinet design and modification we offer! Just ask!

Homestead Cabinet Design Services

For more information about our services click here.

Contact Raymond today at Homestead Cabinet Design for an in-depth plan of action for that new kitchen island! We will be happy to help you with ideas, paint options, and storage options! You can feel actual sample doors and hardware. Give us a try TODAY!!

Call or text Raymond at:


Or, email me for a personal, fast quote at:


Our mission is to help you upgrade your kitchen, ensuring that you end up with spectacular results for the kitchen of your dreams!!

As an insured contractor in MA and CT, we always guarantee our work. Additionally, we have resources for new cabinet doors for you in a fast and timely manner!!

Any color, any size- you choose! Again, we match any Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore color sample. Additionally, we have many door styles for your to choose from!

paint and cabinet door samples

Order a pack of some popular trending colors today!

special color samples

About the Author Susanna Glick