before & after · General Decor · Kitchen · Living Area

An island for Christmas

So, I got an island for Christmas! Wait, let me rephrase that… I got an island makeover for Christmas 😀  Still confused?

Our kitchen is one of my favourite rooms in this house, it was extended and renovated about 10 years ago, and is quite custom. It’s not necessarily what I would’ve chosen if I had the chance to design a kitchen from scratch, but I can definitely work with it and do some changes to make it more to my taste… remember the stained glass chandelier that got replaced with a minty pendant?


Anyway, the kitchen has a beautiful big island that was custom built 10-odd years ago. Its such an awesome feature, with great storage too! BUT it was dark wood. And the table top was the same dark shiny wood and had begun to warp and come loose from the base.



When we got the keys for the house, we also got a huge folder with receipts and quotes and plans and paperwork over the last 10 years or so. I found the company who had done the kitchen reno and got hold of them to see if they could makeover the island for us.

We wanted it painted a lighter, brighter color and we wanted to replace the tabletop with stone. We figured while we doing the stone thing, why not investigate replacing ALL the countertops with a new stone. They were black granite – and between the dark wooden island, the black countertops and the black backsplash (blacksplash!?), and the dark red glass and black leadwork on the stained glass cupboards we really needed more brightness.




The cabinet company originally used is Pizazz Design, based in Glen Austin, Midrand. David came to see us, after last seeing “his” kitchen when he did the original install 10 years ago.

He took the island away, measured up the counters and left us with some stone samples. We wanted the cabinet counter tops to be white, and the island top to be a natural/brownish/greyish kind of colour (similar to our floors).

For the stone, we ended up choosing Cafe Quartz in Snowflake for the counters, and Caesarstone in Clamshell for the island.

For the respraying of the island, we could choose ANY colour from any major paint brand… so we spent some time at Builder’s browsing swatches there, and eventually settled on a beautiful neutral grey by Plascon called Offshore. (I also have a quiet chuckle everytime i think to myself, Offshore Island… but that’s probably just me!). I wanted to offset the neutral with a splash of colour, and chose Blue Retreat as the accent colour. It was a really nerve wracking 2 weeks without the island, hoping that i’d made the right colour choices!


Installation day couldn’t come a minute too soon!



I was BEYOND excited when the island came back, and the colours, and the finish was just beeeeeeeeautiful! I was in love!



Longest day ever, but wow what a difference the white stone tops and the beautiful light island make <3

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The island makes me feel like I’m living in a fancy beach house.The lighter paint colour also really highlights the beautiful shape and craftsmanship of this piece of furniture. The only trouble now, is that the cabinets look so old and yellow now… so yes, we are saving to have them resprayed too!

The colour of the Caesarstone Clamshell is so beautiful, but really hard to photograph! It’s a soft pale nautral brownish, with a slight organic textured pattern. If Caesarstone wasn’t so ridiculously expensive, I would’ve loved to do all the counters in this (even though the original plan was for the island to be in a different colour)

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The Cafe Quartz Snowflake is a bright white, with tiny uniform speckles throughout.

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Before… ugh!



After… YASS!



Before… ugh!


After… definitely better!



There’s still a lot I want to do in the kitchen, but a few weeks in to this new island and I still get heart-eyes everytime I see it!



*EDITED to add cost as per Sheena’s request*


Obviously, depending on your taste, this kind of thing varies.

We also already had the island built, so it was just respraying, and small maintenance things (new runners for the basket drawers, fix the middle shelf etc), and collection & delivery the cost was just under R10 000

Cafe Quartz is the “cheapest” stone, and we chose 30mm thickness (also comes in 20mm) as the previous stone was 30mm, so we didn’t want a “gap” against the built in cupboards if we went thinner. Cafe Quartz is around R2500 – R3000 per meter for countertops. I believe the width of counters is standard.

We did a strip of Cafe Quartz splashback around the sink areas, (in the thinner 20mm width), and that’s around R400 per meter (and standard height is around 80mm)

Caesarstone is quite a bit more expensive, and we went with a 20mm thickness on the island, it’s around R4000-R5000 per meter.


Basically, anything kitchen related, is effing expensive, but really worth it

4 thoughts on “An island for Christmas

  1. Holy MOLY! What a huge, huge difference! I absolutely *love* the after pics here, superb choices! Woweeeeeee.
    Could I make a suggestion? A lot of the American home blogs I read add in rough expenses at the end of their posts. It would make it so informative for me if you’d consider doing the same? I’d love to eventually have our kitchen redone to get rid of the cherry wood and dark granite. xx

    1. I’ve included prices on the DIY stuff… i avoided doing it on this one, because – OMG SO EXPENSIVE!!! But maybe I should include some price guidelines. 🙂
      Yes, cherry wood and black granite = VOM!

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