Here's a little bit about how I actually accomplished my chalkboard island.
We started out with 2 base cabinets that we screwed together and put little furniture feet on. Secured again on top with the countertop, and viola! Here is the island we lived with for about a year. :)
I primed it with deep tint primer (Zinsser brand). I don't think I had a reason for that. I think I was just using primer we had around!
Then we lived with the island like this for 8 or so months.
So I decided to paint the brown doors and drawers white, similar to the upper cabinets, to make sure I wasn't bringing too many different colors/styles into the kitchen.
I gave everything a thin coat of the oil-based primer, and I ended up doing 3 thin coats of the white paint. (I emptied some of the stuff in the drawers, but not everything, and used blue painters tape to protect the inside edge. I painted everything that showed that was brown, so it wouldn't look like I painted it. I want it to look like it was built this way!)
I put the hardware back on - and finally, a totally finished island!