Cardboard, duct tape & contact paper

lawjediJune 6, 2014

Are helping me decide if I really want to do the 2-tier island... I know so many people are ripping out their 2nd tier, but I think I might really like this for organization and "protect the kitchen from misc. stuff" aspect. I wanted to live with it for a bit before doing the real thing -- much less $$ than deciding later I was wrong!

I put contact paper on it to make it at least a bit cleanable.

So far, I really like it... but it's only day 2. ;-)

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another shot

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 9:44PM
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last one... aren't the drawn-on cabinet doors a nice touch? ;-)

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 9:45PM
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Impressive engineering!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 10:10PM
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I like two tiers too and it hides mess, but I would simplify it. It seems an unusual shape of blocks and segmented. Maybe just the construction. Counter area seems a bit shallow. Great idea for testing it out!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 11:10PM
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Are you going to put storage under that top level? An open storage area might make a nice place to hide often used items like napkins, etc.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 8:59AM
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I went from two to one and I love having room to spread out. I'd only do two if you have at least a 30" deep counter.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 9:25AM
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I think your engineering and creativity are the best part. I love to see this kind of test-drive, try-it-out-before-you-buy approach.

However, I wouldn't want a two-level island, esp. this one that takes up so much usable counter space. Are they mostly to serve as barriers? What goes on top? Casual meals?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 10:21AM
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Like it. I would extend it the full length, esp since you have it the full width. Why do people not like 2 tiers?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 10:21AM
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You are SO creative! :)
I like the shape of it.
I don't have an island (and don't really want one) so I cannot speak to functionality, but I think this looks cool.
Particularly your choice of cabinet doors!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 11:44AM
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Be careful with your might be there a long time LOL!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 12:18PM
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A friend of mine has a 2 tier island just like what you have mocked up and has a very similar kitchen layout. She had a 1 level island. She took that cabinet and put it in the space where you have the metal rack. Then bought new cabinets and built what you have mocked up. Got new counters. She has stools so people can sit at the higher level.

Pros: It blocks the view a little as when you walk in the front door you see directly into the kitchen. It provides a space for people to sit and have a snack.

Cons: It does not give her any more counter space on the island as the 2nd tier space is only used by those at the stools.

The pros and cons are mine as she likes her reconfigured kitchen.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 1:52PM
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Fori is not pleased

I think it looks good and I like the weird shape! (It's not that weird.)

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 2:13PM
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Thanks for the input... I had fun crafting it. It'll probably stay up for a few weeks - but the kids are already asking me to let them have it after I'm done with it. & I think one of them is designing a playhouse now that she has seen what one can do with cardboard and duct tape!

Why 2-tiers? I wanted to "protect" my meal prep space -- our island is a MAJOR drop zone for every little thing in the house. The kitchen is in the main thoroughfare - all traffic goes through it. The idea was to minimize the drop zone (or even eliminate it for the little kiddos) with the higher level. No one is going to reach over and around the higher tier to put their whatever down. Also, I am admittedly a very "place it in the center" person -- I could not help but put the bowl and trivets across the center of my 1 surface island -- which visually took up meal prep space and I would cram myself over to the perimeter to do any food prep.

The odd shape -- in the kitchen plan I'm working on - the low end without the second tier is a little bit deeper than shown - 18in vs. 15in shown. Also - the second tier will only cut in (at that 18in depth) on 9 of the width inches vs. 12/13 inches shown. (so... the end cabinet is 33 inches wide. The first 24 inches of the width have an "infinite" depth and the last 9 inches have the 18 inch depth where the 2nd tier cuts in) That cabinet is going to face the end and be an open cabinet with kid snacks/school lunch prep/possibly a counter micro on the shelves. I picture the (4) kids using that corner to make their lunches. (They already sort of do).

The second tier is exactly the same size as what I'm planning - but I placed it on the island a few inches off of what it would be - the island lower counters would be a tad larger than shown. The idea behind not doing it exactly right for the island -- I wanted to see how BIG the second tier appeared in the room space from the outside - how it affects the aisle behind it and the spacing between it and the table. So the second tier is where it would be found in the remodel. This is/was my biggest concern over the change. I do NOT want to feel crowded or that I shoved "10lbs into a 5lb bag."

In day 3 - so far it is working exactly as I hoped it would. Granted, it is only day 3. I really need to let the novelty wear off before I can tell if it's going to work in the long run. I have been food prepping on the island several times already - not intentionally. I just realized that I was doing it there after I already started. The space just seems so much more vast without my center stuff crowding it -- and without the excess "I'll just place this here" stuff. Before, I really only used the island for food prep on pizza night (a MUST spread out meal) and bread making.

I highly recommend cardboard crafting to anyone who is contemplating a change that they are not sure about -- all you need to do is drop by a store and ask for boxes... I got an EXCELLENT flat piece of cardboard from Home Depot - it was used to separate/cushion? plywood. Pretty much the majority of the construction was from that piece alone. And obviously, it is cardboard -- but I am pleasantly surprised at how strong it is!!! I'm not willing to truly test it - I avoided it with the Sam's Club grocery trip unloading -- but the raised tier is completely useable and we've been placing things on it.

Anyway. I am very happy I tried this -- if it continues to perform as hoped, I will be much more confident in my decision to go against the flow and make the permanent change. :-)

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 10:28PM
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I am impressed by your ingenuity! Great idea to try something out before committing one way or the other! I wish I could simulate knocking out part of a wall before I actually do it. :)

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 10:37PM
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That's funny Jill!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 12:04PM
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I have a two tier peninsula and I really like it. I opened up a wall behind the counter with the range and created a peninsula or perhaps it's just an open wide galley? Anywho, I like having two tiers for a few reason:
1. It hides the junk the pots and pans that are on the range.
2. I have outlets in the "remainder" of the wall that are great for immersion benders, beaters, etc.
3. It hides the mess from the rest of the house - the kitchen is visible from three rooms all the way to the back yard so it's nice to have mess hidden.
4. I can keep things on the counter if I want to - salt and pepper, utensil crock, cutting board or I can choose to keep it clear but I feel I have the option due to the barrier.
5. Friends have a single flat level that can be seen from two other rooms and it reconfirms my decision based on reasons 1-4!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 1:14PM
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The idea was to minimize the drop zone (or even eliminate it for the little kiddos) with the higher level

Good luck with that :-) In my experience, it only made the drop zone higher, not non-existent.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 1:32PM
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Beautiful work, OP!

My son sprained his wrist while snowboarding, and the ski patrol guy made him a splint from cardboard and duct tape. Formed into a triangle from elbow to hand, it was sturdy, and they could x-ray right through it at the ER. Ski patrol can't afford to use expensive materials to patch people up.

DH and I thought about putting a 36" x 18" aquarium in our living room, and made a cardboard mockup to move around to different possible locations. What I thought was a perfect spot in my head turned out to be all wrong in 3 dimensions. Thanks to our trial run, the tank lives in our bedroom.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 3:14PM
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Good work! Reminds me of when I mocked up an island hood out of 1/8" veneer, and left it up for a week or so. It looked so good, I was tempted to just buy a hood insert and leave the plywood one up ;)
By the way, we are two tier counter fans as well, helps define our small space, plus we enjoy sitting at the higher bar on stools with coffee, a quick breakfast, or a drink.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 3:45PM
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LOL! Aren't arts and crafts projects fun! The only way I can visualize ANYTHING in 3-D is to mock it up first, although my craftsmanship isn't as exquisite as yours, lawjedi.

Unfortunately, Jill, the only way I've found to simulate life without an existing wall is to actually take it down to the studs. Of course, once that's done you have to hope you like it enough to continue the plan - or live with the wall frame until you get around to putting the drywall back! It also helps to HAVE a plan...

We had a lot of fun tearing down the wall between our kitchen and dining room so we could see if it would improve the light in both rooms (it did) but then we had absolutely no idea what to do after that. So we lived with our imaginary non-wall for 8 months while we put together the plan.

We're finally starting the project in earnest next week, hooray! I made my final decision on pendant lights for the new island today -- aren't they cute?

Our little "demo adventure" will end up costing us a bundle, but at least we'll be able to take blue tape out of our monthly budget!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 4:43PM
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Fori is not pleased


I thought I was bad drawing on my floors and counters to see if such-and-such really IS a good size for various tasks.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 8:58PM
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It looks like I have great company in the "I need to see it" department! Wow -- the trial wall opening is awesome.

As each day passes, we like the 2 tier even more... and yes, I know it will not eliminate the drop zone... I'm hoping to restrict it... my island (pre-cardboard) is 33x54 -- and the entire area was a drop zone. Now the 2nd tier is acting as the drop zone. (14x45) and the reg. height counter has been left alone - keeping clear for food prep. :-)

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 8:24AM
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I mocked up a sink and faucet but nothing quite that elaborate.
Glad you are testing the waters first!
Maybe a new career for you - tri-wall test kitchens

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 10:14AM
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I'm sorry to resurrect an old thread, but I am looking at previous things I posted, making sure I don't forget anything before making our cabinet order. I had to laugh at this post... One of the commentators, bpathome says "be careful with your creativity... it might be there a long time." Yep. We definitely stalled after putting this up. The original plan was for it to be up 3 weeks or so.

Ha! I put the island up (apparently) June 4. It is Feb 26 today and it's still up. & will likely remain up until kitchen demo. :-)

(So, yes, that means we love the cardboard island. It works great for us, keeping flotsam and jetsam on the upper tier, and prep room on the regular part of the island. One benefit I've enjoyed that I didn't anticipate -- if I'm using my laptop for a recipe, it sits up on the upper tier - easily readable, yet out of the way. :-). )

I'm not sure why the pictures aren't still around. If anyone wants, I can certainly try to take a cell phone picture and repost it.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2015 at 6:43AM
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