Hello all! I’m excited about our family room renovation for many reasons, but one of the biggies is that I feel like I can finally move ahead with the kitchen as well. I’ve been planning it for literally YEARS but wasn’t sure about a few things until we were able to move things around. It’s still a long way off – I won’t start till next year. But I am wanting to move ahead with the island expansion sooner than later.

Could be because it now looks like this:

Instead of this: wood counter on island

It was torn up to put the hardwoods underneath and I can live with it like that for awhile, but soon it will drive me crazy. Not there yet. Soon.

So like all big projects, I have to sit on it for awhile and daydream about what I want. I find when I do that I end up with something that functions and looks good – both are important to me when I DIY.

My plan is to expand the island two directions – length-wise and width-wise. When I say width I mainly mean extending the sides out to kind of “frame” the stools, like this:

kitchen island with sides built out


So it won’t be much wider – maybe a few inches. But I love this added detail on islands.

I loved this idea too:

extra storage kitchen island


The added storage is never a bad thing, am I right? I think that is brilliant. It’s easy to access the cabinets too, which is important.

I’ve always planned on a small bookshelf at the end of the island for cook books and other things we grab often (stop laughing…I cook sometimes):

bookcase in island

But I may not have room for those cookbooks because now I’m dreaming of having a food station for the animals in the island, like this:

dog food station

I shared a bunch of food storage ideas here and I could totally DIY this one.

But the BIG thing I want to do in the kitchen island is take the microwave off the wall and put it in there somewhere:

black island marble counter


I know this isn’t for everyone but I think it’s BRILLIANT. Of course we would need a smaller microwave that vents differently, but I love the idea. I could put a vent hood over the oven where the microwave is now.

Some are built in seamlessly:

built in microwave kitchen island


microwave storage in island


But I think I could create something that would work just as well – I don’t need it to be completely built in. Sitting there is just fine. :)

I loved this whole kitchen but this one is a good example:

microwave built in island


And this is a similar island set up:

microwave in kitchen island


Love the pretty detail on that one!

So that’s my plan – add storage, shelving, a food station and a microwave. It will be ten feet long by the time I’m done with it. ;) We were able to move the island out a bit so after it’s extended there will be plenty of room between the stove and the island. We’ll still be able to walk around it when the door is open so it won’t feel cramped.

I’m excited about this project – just not sure when I’ll tackle it since I have so much to do in the family room. But I have a plan in mind and that’s half my battle!

Do you have a big kitchen island with a ton of storage? Is your microwave down low? I’d love to hear your experience with it!