We experimented with the shape of the new island, putting masking tape across the counter so the home owner could visualize the results and we could be sure there was enough depth to reinstall the microwave.
We experimented with the shape of the new island, putting masking tape across the counter so the home owner could visualize the results and we could be sure there was enough depth to reinstall the microwave.

Like most remodelers, I often tear out and replace old cabinets. But sometimes it makes more sense to modify the cabinets that are already there, as in the project described here. The existing kitchen had a large multilevel island that was so deep the homeowner couldn’t reach parts of it. What’s more, it took up so much floor space it created a bottleneck between the sink and the stove that made it hard for more than one person at a time to cook. We could have taken the island out and started from scratch, but that wasn’t in the budget.

We began by drilling a few holes through the bottom of the cabinets to see what was underneath. The tile floor ran below the island, which was good, because there were only a few tiles left over from the previous installation. After much discussion with the homeowner, we decided to make the island smaller by cutting off one of its corners. This...

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