The Efficient Kitchen

Homeowners with Danny Lipford in kitchen with off-white painted cabinets.
Homeowners Derick and Emily Boutwell with Danny Lipford in updated kitchen.

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Derick and Emily Boutwell have owned their home for just over a year. The house had a spacious kitchen, but it wasn’t laid out very efficiently and the storage space needed organizing.

To make better use of the space, we added a center island with solid walnut countertop, pullout trash can, and under sink organizer.

Kitchen with tile floor and white painted cabinets.
Boutwell’s kitchen before adding island.

Adding a Kitchen Island

To make the kitchen more efficient, we created a 2′ x 6′ island by installing three stock base cabinet units from The Home Depot side-by-side.

From left to right, the cabinets we used to make the island were:

  • 24″ wide one-door cabinet (model# B24OHD)
  • 18″ wide three-drawer cabinet (model# DB18OHD)
  • 30″ wide two-door cabinet (model# B30OHD)

The doors removed on the 30″ wide cabinet to accommodate the microwave oven.

When positioning an island in a kitchen, be sure to allow a minimum of 36” for walkways and 42” between opposing cabinets. Watch Kitchen Island Layout to find out more.

Once the location of the island had been determined, the outer dimensions were marked on the floor with masking tape, and the cabinets moved out of the way.

Kitchen with white painted cabinets,  tile floor, and center island with walnut wood countertop.
Boutwell’s kitchen after adding center island.

To provide power for the island, a hole was drilled in the floor, and electrical wires run to an existing junction box located in the garage ceiling below. Wooden cleats were attached to the floor to secure the island.

The cabinets were then put back in place and attached to the cleats. A piece of 1/4″ birch plywood was attached to the back of the cabinet units to give the island a finished appearance. Corbels were screwed flush with the top of the cabinets to help support the countertop.

After the island had been painted to match the existing cabinets, a 1¾” thick by 3’x6′ plank style black walnut countertop with a Tung oil finish from Craft Art was installed on top of the island.

Read How To Clean and Oil Wood Butcher Block Tops to find out more.

Arched style cabinet pulls in an aged bronze finish were installed on the drawers of the island and existing cabinets.

Stainless steel range hood over stove.
New NuTone stainless steel range hood.

Range Hood

The old microwave over the stove was removed and replaced with a new NuTone stainless steel range hood (model NTM302SS). The three-speed hood is rated to move 500 cubic feet of air a minute on the high setting, and comes with two 20-watt halogen lights.

The existing ductwork was used to vent the range hood through the wall to the outside to remove heat and cooking odors from the kitchen.

Watch How to Replace a Range Hood to find out more.

Improving Storage

Under sink pullout storage.
Under sink pullout storage.
Dual pullout trash cans (Knape & Vogt PSW15-2-35-R-P) were hidden behind a cabinet door to replace the existing trash can.

Watch How to Build a Pullout Trash Bin to see how to make your own rollout trash can.

A pullout basket organizer (Knape & Vogt MUB-14-R-FN) was mounted in the cabinet under the sink to organize all the cleaning supplies.

Watch How to Add Roll Out Wire Baskets to Kitchen Cabinets to find out more.

Other Tips from This Episode

Tile with mosaic accent insert.

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
DIY Mosaic Accent Tile Backsplash

To add a decorative mosaic tile accent when installing a kitchen backsplash, cut the backing on a sheet of mosaic tile to form a small square. Use a wet saw to cut the corners of the larger tile at a 45° angle to accommodate the mosaic tile accents. (Watch Video)

Double kitchen sink on counter.

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Elkay Magna Double Kitchen Sink

The Elkay Magna double bowl kitchen sink is made of 20-gauge stainless steel for durability and has a full undercoating to deaden sounds. The sink includes two magnetic accessory holders. The Elkay Magna sink is available at The Home Depot. (Watch Video)

Using roller to paint edge on plastic laminate countertop.

Ask Danny Lipford:
Painting Laminate Countertops

Plastic laminate countertops can be painted if a special paint, such as Giani Granite Countertop Paint, is used. It’s important to clean the surface thoroughly and follow the instructions exactly when painting laminate countertops. (Watch Video)


  1. Tenant sat hot pan on two places of countertop. Do not know if they are laminate. Can I use the Giant Granite Countertop Paint on them???

    • Richard,
      The island we made from stock base cabinets measured 2’x6′ and had a 3’x6′ soild walnut countertop.

  2. When the island microwave was wired, it appeared that it was connected to an existing 15 amp circuit. Doesn’t code require a dedicated 20 amp branch circuit?

  3. Hi,
    Great job on the Boutwell’s kitchen. It looks great. The only problem I would have had was the microwave. Who wants to crouch over or kneel on the floor to program your microwave or take food in or out EVERY day. Should have been left where it was and just changed the venting. It was proven years ago that “eye level” is by far the most efficient location for a microwave.
    Love the show. Fun, informative and enjoyable to watch.
    Mike Reilly


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