Tuesday, July 10, 2012

a little kitchen for a little person

A couple years ago I was nosing around my sister's backyard and found an old wooden play kitchen.  To say this thing had seen better days would be a massive understatement.  The wood was stained from years of being left out in the hot sun and rain, the doors were completely warped, and the knobs were cracked.  It was a mess.

Through all the grime and neglect I saw potential and asked my sister if I could have it.  Someone had given it to her in its current state thinking that she would find time to spruce it up, which was just never going to happen.  My sister, who is one of the hardest workers I know, just would not ever be able to find time between working and being mom to her two young girls to ever fix it up.  So I inherited the hopeless mess and then it sat in my garage for a year gathering more arachnid tenants and growing more and more sad looking.

Fast forward last month when Clio finally started to seem a bit more practiced with pulling herself up and being stable on her own two feet I decided it was probably time to pull out the kitchen.  In my naivete I thought that I could turn that sad excuse for a play kitchen into something pretty and usable in a couple of hours.  My afternoon project ended up taking a couple of weeks since I found that I was only able to work on it about thirty minutes at a time thanks to Clio's short nap times.

First Leif cleaned it thoroughly and removed the squatters (I do not do spiders), which was a disgusting task and one that I am happy I had no part in.  I painted the entire thing twice with low VOC Semi-gloss exterior Behr Premium Plus in "Cotton Whisper."  The back splash is also low VOC Behr Premium Plus in "Vibrant," but because I just bought a small 8 oz sample of that shade I had to get it in Flat.  I would have preferred semi-gloss but I wasn't willing to pay for the larger size when I knew I was only going to use a small amount of paint.  The burners on the stove and the oven window are also Behr paint in "Evening Hush."  The knobs and faucet I just painted with some silver acrylic paint that I already had on hand.

Now here is where the big D.I.Y. and blogger fail happens.  I took before photos, I really did, honestly, but I somehow managed to delete all but one of them.  My only consolation is that at least the one I managed to keep was a cute one.  This is not our pet, by the way, it is the neighborhood cat.  I'm sure she belongs to someone but she has learned that if she wanders around the neighborhood she gets fed multiple times and gets constant attention.  Cleaver kitty.  Clio LOVES her.  Whenever she is in our yard Clio starts flapping her arms around and squealing in a pitch almost too high for human ears to register.

Here is what it looked like:

Here is something similar to what it should look like and that was made by the same company:

After two coats of paint and many hours of my life:

Here is the final result:

The grand total for this play kitchen was something like $25.  Pretty good considering to buy one new would be closer to $200.  Of course when you factor in how many hours I spent working on it the bargain doesn't seem so great.  Still I love the way it turned out and that it is the first thing Clio wants to play with each morning.

Look at that happy girl.


  1. Aw your little kitchen is super cute! And a very good bargain (without labor costs!)

    Clio looks SO pleased to have it. And she is looking for grown up. I had to go back and see how old she is and she is YOUNGER than Reuben. Considerably more hair. Considerable more toothy. He still has only four. And NO hair. Well, some but so blonde that it looks like he has none. It would be so funny to see him standing next to Clio, like a strange, giant, bald, walking baby!

    And I think she'll soon be imitating mama with her amazing cooking!

  2. Amazing work guys!!!!

  3. She's gorgeous. And the kitchen - wow. I am so impressed.