I absolutely fell in love with the Chelsea play kitchen set from Pottery Barn Kids. But after the sticker shock wore off, I was on to plan B. After hours of Pinterest “research” I decided on the Ikea Duktig. I love the simplicity and affordability of Ikea, but sometimes the design is not my taste. There were so many ways to customize the duktig to make it our own (ours because I may have partially been for me as well as my daughter!). I headed to Ikea and enthusiastically filled my cart with all kinds of cute accessories, from the the mini cutting board to the flowers in the vase. The most creative find was a small metal candle holder that I turned into a utensil holder.
With my cart full and my hopes high I went to the warehouse section to load up the duktig kitchen. When I got to the bin it was empty. How was this possible? I asked a clerk, to see if they were secretly punking me and they were really somewhere else. However, that was not the case. They would not be restocked for another week. I left with a ton of accessories but no kitchen. Patients is not one of my virtues, but creativity and thrift are!
I browsed Craigslist hoping someone just happened to get tired of their new Pottery Barn play kitchen and wanted to give it away at a fourth of the cost. No dice. I did however find a fun wooden play kitchen for the same price as the Ikea kitchen. It looked adorable and well made. I sent my husband to scout it our. A hour or so later he was back with all three pieces; a fridge, stove, and a hutch. According to the people we purchased it from, it was handmade in the 70’s. It was definitely better constructed than the Ikea kitchen would have been and has much more character before it even gets it’s first coat of paint.
Now that I had a kitchen I wanted to give the space it was in more character. When Cora was little, my husband had grand visions of having a man cave. With half of the real estate going to a play kitchen and toys, he now refers to his space as the “Daddy Daughter Den.” I found this amazing textured faux brick wallpaper at Target. It took two rolls to cover the wall and a little creativity, because I wasn’t about to buy another roll for just a few inches. It looks incredibly authentic and as you will soon see, it ties the whole play area together.
With the accent wall complete, it was now time to spruce up the kitchen. The gray-blue on the cabinets is actually leftover paint from Cora’s bedroom. It also happens to look a lot like the inspiration kitchen. Next, I used stainless steel looking oil based paint that I purchased off of Amazon. I had never used oil based paint but I knew I wanted to use the stainless on the entire fridge and part of the stove, so I got two cans to be sure I had enough. Boy did I have enough! It went on incredibly smooth and quickly and only required 1 coat, plus a little touch up. Couple things I learned during the process of using oil based paint; it does not wash like latex paint does (goodbye favorite paintbrush) and it takes much longer to dry.
The final touch before moving the kitchen into it’s new home was to add the hardware and counter top. I found these chic draw pulls on Amazon. But, they didn’t come in gold. No problem, I have spray paint! I also replaced the wooden stove knobs with cute gold and clear ones. While filling my Amazon cart with lots of supplies for this project I stumbled across the butcher block contact paper. I’ve since read where people use this on their real kitchen counter top. I’m not sure how well it would hold up, but it does look just like real butcher block counter tops!
I opted to remove the doors to the hutch to give it a more open air vibe. That seems to be the trend in big people’s kitchen’s so why not play ones! Also, I covered the right side of the fridge in chalkboard contact paper. It worked great for this project and I was happy to have some left over for a fun future project.
I had a Joanna Gaines moment and went through the kitchen making sure all of the details were there, from the silk flowers on the table to the tiny espresso cups. We unveiled the kitchen to Cora and she loves it! I think her favorite part is where she takes everything out of the fridge and forgets to put it all back. I don’t quite mind having to put everything away. It’s my excuse to play in her kitchen too.