Skip to main content
Looking for space-saving ideas for the kitchen? We're putting this remote-controlled island on our DIY wish list.

When our friends at Curbed and Design Milk both posted this amazing video of a retractable kitchen island we watched it twice: Once to bask in the coolness of the project and then again to try and figure out how the brilliant Tim Thaler made it happen. Behold: The centerpiece of the kitchen of the future.

We took to Thaler's YouTube page where he's been dutifully posting answers to the many questions coming in. Here's a peek at the discussion:

Q: Show us the inner workings! What was the pricing and installation like? How long did it take?
A: I'll post a video of the inner workings next week! Sadly, I spend endless nights planning the logistics of it and how to do it. When I started all I knew was I wanted an island to come out of my floor, and retract back without anyone knowing it's really there... I had to figure out everything myself, as there really isn't any "how to" documents for something like this. I did the entire installation myself, bought used parts, and managed to make it for under $1000.00.

Q: Why was it so quiet going down but noisy coming up?
A: it's hydraulics. A motor runs to pump oil in when going up, when going down, it's just releasing the oil that is built up.

Q: How to you maintain the hydraulics and clean the pit of inevitable grit, grime, and dropped food scraps?
A: The hydraulics just take regular Mobil 1 5W-30 motor oil... And I clean the same way anyone would, a sweep and a dustpan. Plus, I rarely prepare food on the island, that's what the countertops are for with an undermount sink and garbage disposal...

kitchen of the futureTim Thaler via Design Milk

If you had the time and energy, would you take on this project?

And now that you have kitchen islands on the brain...
That's Smart: Kitchen Island Alternatives - Shelterpop

Kitchen Islands: Kitset vs. DIY - DIY Life
How to Use a Cardboard Box to Measure for a Kitchen Island

  • trish

    Not the way it looks in those pic. above, they'd have to do a little more with the decor before I'd say it could be my's TOO plain and moderin, very cold looking and un inviting.

  • BTDT

    Not to mention it's so poorly done they had to cover it with cheap carpet which they couldn't cut to size. Ala in all a horrid waste.

  • Joe

    What a waste of space and money. How often is it going to break down? "Gee, please come over and fix my kitchen floor? the island won't come forth." Just have a table and chairs. it may be low tech, but guess what, ir can be moved with out electricity and it does not take up air space in the basement. Besides, just think how many kids will either get hurt and/or break the kitchen? Give them a plate and their ability to ruin things will only take up an 8 inch circle rather than 3-D 6 foot area.

  • Bryana

    Horrible is all I can utter...

  • Ella

    I like having an island in my kitchen and see no reason to have it go up and down. What's the point?

  • Drew

    Sorry, but this has already been done before, more than 15 years ago by a Swedish designer. Only the Swedish designer's was a lot better thought out than this. Does the author realize that once the counter top comes up, they are placing food on a filthy surface that was once the floor? It's ridiculous, poorly planned and by the looks of it, fraught with other hazards like getting stuck mid way, or losing a finger or toe. Stupid.

  • jim

    what a wonderful idea to have an island that arises from the floor. I would just love to prepare my food on this very sterile surface.

    perhaps they could work on a trash can that comes from the fridge as their next idea....

  • steve M

    cant we just live simply,so that others can simply live?

  • Parissa

    I certainly HOPE this is NOT the kitchen of the future! I'd rather not be walking on my 'kitchen island!'

  • Tammy

    I love this idea as I don't like islands in kitchens. They are a waste of space. One thing though is that I would sure disinfect this thing really good every time I decided to use it. For me that would hardly be ever so theres no problem there.

  • Mikki

    What a waste of time and money. It would be easier to have it set off to the side against a wall. With this you still have to pick up the carpet pieces and shake and then sweep the floor, mop it, and wait for it to dry to put the carpet pices back down. Too much time spent messing with it. It needs something that saves time, not take more time or make more work.

  • afmom

    What is wrong with wheels ??? They make islands that move around and out of the way already. I can't imagine the mess if someone dropped a 2 ltr of soda and it went all down inside of the hydraulics or worse yet MILK ! This inventor obviously doesn't have kids because no mother would allow something like this in her kitchen. Because SHE would end up going down below to clean up the hydraulics and floor below.
    There was a home on HGTV "strange houses" or something like that. In that house you pushed a button and the kitchen went from upstairs to down stairs into the family room. No thanks I love my IKEA kitchen and wouldn't trade it for anything.

  • Kelly

    Don't forget, you need to have somewhere for it to GO. The room downstairs gets to see the bottom of the island all the time? Or how about if there is no downstairs? Those islands/cabinets are the height of a countertop. That means you need what, 3 or 4 feet of headroom, plus room for all the hydraulics?

    This is the worst idea I've ever seen.

  • Mildred

    I have one question, Wht bother?

  • Jo

    That is possibly the ugliest kitchen I have ever seen and a waste.

  • Jay

    Wow. This is a whole lot of time/effort/technology for a DUMB idea. As most other commenters pointed out, WHY would you want a surface to double as a FLOOR that you WALK on AND an ISLAND that you EAT off of? An island that slides out from under your countertop seems much more practical to me! It would be easier to maintain and 1000 times more sanitary! And hell, if you need it to be a little more high tech - then make it remote control with brakes on the wheels for when it's stationary and/or legs that drop down to stabilize it more so it doesn't roll while you're eating at it.

  • 16 Comments / 1 Pages

Follow Us

  • No features currently available.

  • More Hot Topics The Daily Fix  •  DIY Warrior  •  Home Ec  •  Handmade
    DIY Disaster Doctor  •  In the Workshop  •  Product Picks

    Home Improvement Videos