Ok, I’m going to brave sitting down and showing you the “How-To” and details of the retro play kitchen that my dad and I made for my son. This could be lengthy… I’ll do my best.
As I said before, when I found this retro play kitchen by KidKraft, I knew that’s what I wanted to model my kitchen after if possible. I asked my dad to keep an eye out for a cabinet that would work. Within a couple short weeks, he called me up to tell me that he had found the perfect cabinet. My dad’s line of work is always remodeling houses/apartments, and this particular cabinet was one that they ripped out of a house. It used to be an old upper cabinet that went above a stove and had a hood range attached to it. Here’s what it looked like the first time I saw it:
It was very rough around the edges. Granted, this is what it looked like with the two cupboard doors already removed, but still. It looked like a terrible hack job, plus because it was above a stove, it was covered in a thick film of dirty grease. Dad immediately worked at patching the gaps with scrap wood from his stash and making it so there was just one separator in between the two cupboards, as well as changing the fridge/freezer cupboard to make a definition between the two, while I scraped and scraped to get all of the disgusting grease off of the cupboard doors and shelves.
Before long, it was already starting to take shape of a little kitchen. Dad cut the cupboard door for the fridge/freezer. I dug through his collection of random knobs/pulls and found some old metal ones that looked like retro fridge handles. I chose a couple of small plain wooden knobs for the storage cupboard under the sink, so that they could be painted and blend in to the rest of the kitchen.
Dad cut the storage cupboard door in half so that it wasn’t so cumbersome for such a little guy to open and close.
One of the bigger challenges (that I didn’t anticipate!) was finding a good rack to go inside of the oven! We walked around and around Home Depot trying to find a good rack. Eventually we came to the closet maid section of the store. All of the pre-cut pieces were just too big. We sat there wishing that they offered a “cut to size” option. Then we found a little piece just over a foot long. It was just sitting on a shelf and someone had obviously cut it from one of the really long shelves. We walked around trying to ask the clerks how much it cost. No one seemed to know where it came from, because they didn’t offer a cut to size option. Eventually, the guy in charge of that section told us to just take it. He said he had no idea how it got there or how much they would charge for it. Score! And it fit just about perfectly (needed a bit of tweaking from dad.).
Before long, it started looking like a little kitchen!
Dad also cut down the cabinet door for the oven a little bit so that we could have the knobs on a solid piece just above the oven door. I’m one of those people that wanted it to be as real to life as possible, so I
stubbornly insisted that the oven door opens from the top, instead of opening sideways like a lot of kitchen play sets do.
We bought some of these heavy duty concealed spring hinges from Home Depot for the oven door so that it would be safer for Ezekiel to open and close and not fall down onto his toes. These were one of more expensive purchases (at almost $6 each) for this kitchen set, but worth the extra dime for the added safety.
We also picked up a sheet of clear polycarbonate to use for the oven window and microwave window. Online it’s marked as a 12″x24″ sheet for $14.78. I feel like we found a smaller/cheaper sheet at the store, but I can’t remember exactly…
Dad added a shelf to the top of the cabinet to mimic the counter with the rounded edge below, so that we could hang the microwave off of it above the stove. He used a couple of tall spindles that he had from a crib (my dad has the most random pieces around his shop!) to support the curved edge from the counter top.
Also in dad’s shop was the perfect tiny (but real!) kitchen faucet! He said he had it in his shop for a long time, just waiting for the right project. Seriously, I’m never shocked at the things you can find in dad’s shop. If you ask for it, he’ll have it (95% of the time). It was the perfect size and looks just like a kitchen faucet, even though I think it came from a bathroom sink originally.
And now it really started looking like a kitchen!
For the microwave buttons, I bought a couple packs of the Nail-On Cushion Glides from Home Depot.
I was trying to keep the accents on the play kitchen silver/nickel and these were the perfect size and looked great. I used black vinyl to cut out the numbers and “on” and “off” for the buttons with my Silhouette Cameo. I chose “on” and “off” instead of start/stop or something along those lines because the buttons are only about an inch wide and I didn’t want the words to be too tiny.
Then we primed, painted and pieced it all together! I used the same aqua color as I used on Zeek’s toy cabinet. I loved it because it matched the retro blue color of the inspiration piece, yet also matched the other large furniture piece in Zeek’s room.
And for a break down on cost…
Of course, we (err.. read: dad) had a LOT of the supplies on hand….