We Got a Dresser for the Kitchen!


As the kitchen evolves and choices have become more definitive, it because very clear that the majority of our budget was going to 3 main places: ONE) the back door wall (of windows!), TWO) cabinets and THREE) the countertops. In a nutshell, our money is going to the areas that are more permanent, and we’ve chosen to stretch those dollars in the areas that aren’t as permanent – such as a our vintage hutch, antique rug and now, our kitchen island! You can see it, too, right?:


We have been searching for weeks (months, maybe!) for a piece of furniture that could pull double duty as a kitchen island. The kitchen is spacious – definitely large enough for an island – but not so large that we could get away with a standard depth and/or width. Our hunt included anything that could potentially be considered an island, but we had a long wish list for this piece of furniture:

  • Needs to be counter height, of course (36″)
  • Needs to be thin enough to accommodate a small overhang or be wide enough without an overhang to provide good prep space. Let’s call this, oh, 26″ or so total
  • Needs to have storage somehow, somewhere
  • Needs to have an easily removable top surface so we can install our own butcher block
  • Needs to have smooth gliding drawers and/or doors that don’t stick
  • Preferably something we could paint
  • Preferably something with legs that could also accommodate casters (for movability and looks)

We searched high and low for credenzas, desks, dressers and china cabinet bases – from the typical online sources to in-person hunting to alley creeping – and over the weekend, we finally came home with this dresser from our favorite worth-the-drive secondhand shop, Jubilee! To be fair, we’d seen other contenders along the way, but they were either in too much disrepair, too large, too small or too precious to paint.

This guy, though? It’s a Mid Century Kent Coffey dresser with replacement pulls, and it checks off everything in the wish list! The drawers are deep and smoooth. The dovetail joints are all in perfect condition, and the bones of the piece are solid wood – only the top and sides are an oak veneer.


The knob placement currently screams dresser!, but we’ll swap those out for middle pulls that will help streamline the overall look. We’ll also need to add trim to the back, mimicking the front (see below), and we’ll reinforce the plywood back with a sheet of MDF (or something similar). It’s hard to tell in photos, but the finish is very shiny and very yellow, and so, we’ll remedy that with black paint and a butcher block top to provide contrast against the white cabinetry. Right now, it’s 19″ deep x 54″ wide, and once the cabinets are in place and the walls are painted, I feel like we’ll have a better visual for the final depth of the butcher block.


The goal is that you won’t even recognize it as a dresser once it’s been refinished. And all that storage? Yes, yes.

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  • Adrienne J1.27.15 - 8:20 AM

    I see the vision and it looks spectacular!! ;)ReplyCancel

  • Anne @ Planting Sequoias1.27.15 - 9:25 AM

    Oooh, yes, that has great potential! Will you do an overhang on the back side (for stools)? Or is it wide enough as-is?ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.27.15 - 9:30 AM

      We’re toying with that idea! We don’t want it to overwhelm the space, but it COULD handle a small overhang… I think we’ll have a better idea once the walls are painted and the cabinets are in. Right now the kitchen looks so crazy that we’re having a hard time “feeling” it out!ReplyCancel

  • Colleen1.27.15 - 10:13 AM

    Kent Coffey pieces are great and really stand the test of time. I have a hutch and dresser. Both have survived two cross-country moves and look almost new. I can’t wait to see how the piece turns out. You may sway me into making my dresser into our kitchen island!ReplyCancel

  • Laura @ Rather Square1.27.15 - 10:16 AM

    Creative re-use of furniture! Love it.ReplyCancel

  • susan1.27.15 - 10:33 AM

    oooh, nice!
    i’m very anxious to follow this transformation as i am in the kitchen island hunt and want to do a makeover just like
    this. really curious to see how the top removal will go…

    great find, kudos for your patience and persistence!ReplyCancel

  • Trilby1.27.15 - 11:43 AM

    I cannot tell you how handy drawers are in a kitchen (especially a kitchen island)! I didn’t understand for myself until we moved into our current house just over a year ago. I had to get over my initial habit of putting everything in a cabinet (what? plates can go in a drawer alongside utensils?!?) – but once I did, our lives drastically changed for the better. Ok, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. But it sure is nice. That dresser, ahem, I mean island, has fabulous bones. I’m excited to see the finished product!ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.27.15 - 12:46 PM

      After everyone chimed in with their thoughts on our initial kitchen plans, we definitely incorporated a few more drawers OR slide outs for all of the door cabinets. We can’t wait to have it drastically change our lives for the better :)ReplyCancel

  • Clever Girl Reviews1.27.15 - 12:27 PM

    I’ve never thought of having a dresser as an island!ReplyCancel

  • This is a great piece and it looks perfect for your plans! I really like that it has simple lines, which should help the “I’m kitchen furniture” transformation. Can’t wait to see it all done!ReplyCancel

  • Alena1.27.15 - 12:44 PM

    I think you should try one of these really long pulls to stretch from one side to the other, Emily Henderson used them in her kitchen, so they must be good, right? :-)

    • Kim1.27.15 - 12:49 PM

      Love Emily’s kitchen! Those pulls ARE awesome, and we’ve considered something really long too – our only concern is that it might feel TOO modern with the other pulls we’re considering for the cabinets… We’ve been going over hardware for the last few weeks, and I THINK we know which direction we’re going. It’s such a hard choice though!ReplyCancel

  • Silk Flower Arrangements1.30.15 - 1:10 PM

    Can’t wait to see it finished! Great idea. I use old furniture throughout with new job descriptions. But this??? Never occurred to me! THANK YOU for the great, fun idea.The rest of the kitchen is looking GREAT! Good job!ReplyCancel

  • Elysa A.2.3.15 - 11:44 AM

    I will be looking forward to seeing this, as we have been looking to do the same thing. We have a very small kitchen with limited counter space, so an island is something I want VERY badly. It will have to take the place of our kitchen table, so we really need to be able to use stools with it. Can’t wait to see how yours turns out!ReplyCancel

  • […] weekend saw a lot of kitchen progress, having started our kitchen island, completing the hutch (we’ll share this week!) and finally hunkering down and choosing a […]ReplyCancel


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