Upcycling 101: Island altar

An old church altar becomes a kitchen island.
It was way back in 2009 when we scored two 12-foot church pews from Calcium Community Church and made them the centerpiece of our dining alcove. It was about a year later when we updated the alcove and gave the space a truly spiritual overhaul:
Since then, I've been eyeing a church altar (origins unknown) that was collecting dust for years out in the Art Barn. We'd cleaned it up and used it as a buffet for gallery openings; but in my heart of hearts I knew it was destined to join the church pews in the kitchen. In a recent burst of renovations that added a new bathroom, shrunk another, and moved doors and refrigerators around (stay tuned for those before and after photos!), it was time.

So, first things first. A group of us went out to the Art Barn to assess the situation and start the process of cleaning the old altar up. Here's Jaci removing some old, mismatched and cobbed-together cabinetry:

Next, Greg used a small sander to get the paint off the top of the altar. Then it came time to move it (note that new farm truck Jackson's sitting on!):
 To replace the old cabinets, we're upcycling the lower front board from our driveway piano and affixing it with pivot hinges. Here's Adam demonstrating what that will look like:

Eventually I'll have a kitchen sink installed in the center of the island. But for now, it's a great work station and spot for casual conversation while cooking is underway. Bring on the soul food.


Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.