the problem: kitchen was big, but not a lot of counter space & storage
the solution: build an island
OK, first off when I showed this to my son, Taylor, the first thing he said was, "Actually Dad, because it's up against the wall on this one side, it's really a pennsula not an island." How could I argue with that? (The apple had not fallen far from the tree, indeed.)
Sandra & I picked out 2 base cabinets that matched our current cabinets. I noted dimensions of the cabinet options and taped off on the floor, the size I thought we needed. We walked around it for over a week to see indeed if this size was ok with us--this wasn't the kind of project you could cut off 6-12 inches if you didn't like it.
I bolted the two finished cabinets together. I then laid a 4x8' sheet of sub-floor on our dining room table and started laying out the tile. I cut the dimensions of the top to allow for complete rows of tile, so I wouldn't have to cut any tiles on this project. The special inset tiles were bought that way as one big square with netting behind them.
I overhung the back side of the cabinets by enough so that legs would fit under providing a breakfast bar space. I afixed & grouted the tile & trimmed the top with some trim that I cut down to fit & stained. I put wainscot on the backside (bar side) of it & painted it to match the kitchen. I also trimmed the bottom to match the other kitchen trim. I used some heavy duty shelving brackets to support the pressure of people leaning on the overhang. I did NOT attach it to the wall, it simply snugs up against it. This also houses our knife drawer.
I was able to get it all done during the week I was off between Xmas & New Year '02. It really makes the kitchen & we can't imagine the room without it.
Of all places, we found the brushed aluminum stools at Sam's Club!