Well, though the Young House Love couple beat me to the punch, Mark also got a custom-made play kitchen for Christmas. Dr. Jay’s family began work on the mini-kitchen when we visited Georgia for Thanksgiving. It all started when I suggested that Mark might need a play kitchen and sent some ideas for how it could be done to his grandparents via email. Here’s a link to a few of the other DIYed play kitchens I saved on Pinterest. Grandma D and I headed out just before Thanksgiving and lucked upon a remnant of cabinetry alongside the road in north Georgia. It was solid cherry, missing a top, and cost $20. We eventually got it home (it did require two trips and mingling with some old gents, but we managed) and Grandpa and uncle G started working to cut it down and make it usable. This is the best “before” shot I was able to get. The cabinet is sitting on its side. They didn’t let it stay in its “before” state too long before hooking up the power tools and hacking into it.
This involved cutting a few inches off the bottom (part of which was water-damaged anyway), cutting about 6 inches from the top to make it more of a toddler-height, replacing the side panel, and adding a top piece. Once this was done, I decided to make things more complicated by suggesting a back-piece with shelves. Somehow I took on the role of design-consultant and managed to stay away from the power tools.
Here’s Mark with it before the side piece was replaced and before the top and back were added. It’s still a little tall for him, but the intention is for him and his cousins to be able to use it for a few years and grow into it. And, as of Christmas Eve, Mark now has a brand new cousin to share the kitchen with! Welcome to the family, Henry Joseph!
Grandma found the bowl to be used for a sink basin at the grocery store. Shelf installation:
We came up short when looking for a faucet at the local Habitat ReStore, though we nearly left with some beautiful tiles for the backsplash, we decided that might be taking it a little too far. My sister-in-law (thrift queen) spotted the perfect faucet and handles at the Humane Society thrift store ($5) and there we gathered most of the other accessories like the pot and pan, wooden salt and pepper shakers, and pillow cases I used as fabric for the curtains.
We decided that the sink side of the bottom would be open to below with curtains. I had a feeling Mark would like this little spot to climb into. We also decided that the two existing drawers would become an oven door and regular drawer- nothing too complicated, just a place to bake stuff and store stuff. Making the oven door hinge was a little complicated, but nothing Grandpa couldn’t figure out.
My mother-in-law (Grandma) graciously painted the nearly-completed kitchen while we were away during the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. She used leftover wall-paint, a pale-blue from their guest room. We all got back into finalizing when we were together a few weeks ago. My sis-in-law painted on the stove burners and oven front.
Here’s how it looked as we left on Monday (we’re leaving it at Grandma and Grandpa’s for all the kids to enjoy and because we lack space here in Old Town). In the end, almost everyone helped out with this little kitchen, and the only details remaining are knobs for the stove. We found those over the weekend, and Grandpa is working on making them moveable because we know our little cook loves moveable parts. He’s already put the measuring cup under the faucet and turned the handles. He does not understand why water doesn’t come out of this faucet.
Here’s Mark using the drawer to stash all his kitchen tools.
And yes, he loves his little hiding spot.
And lest you think that for some reason this play kitchen is a little feminine for our rough and tumble boy, his Uncle G also constructed a real soccer goal for him this Christmas. He is one lucky kid.