Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Maddie's Little Christmas Kitchen

Jim teases me that I sometimes take my thriftiness to extremes, and Maddie's little kitchen probably falls into that category.  I found the original kitchen out at the curb in front of a house on trash day.  It was an old, wooden preschool classroom kitchen that someone was getting rid of, and when I saw it, I just couldn't bear to see it get thrown away.  I pulled over (in the rain), hauled it into my little black Nissan (this was several years ago), and took it home with me, where it lived in our garage and then our shed for the last few years.  Once Maddie was born, I knew I wanted to give that little kitchen a long-overdue make-over, and Jim and I decided to make that our big gift for Maddie this year for Christmas.
The original kitchen was in rough shape.  The finish was worn and dirty, and it had some water damage.  We knew it was going to need a paint job, so we took it apart so we could clean and sand it.  We also decided to move the knobs, so we totally removed the "back splash" piece.  
Once we had the prep work done, I painted the entire kitchen with a pale blue paint/primer combination paint.  The old wood needed several coats of paint, and then I gave it a few coats of clear spray polyurethane.  When everything was dry, we started our assembly work.  We had decided to turn our original stove into a full one-piece kitchen, so to turn the one side into a sink, Jim used a jig saw to cut a round hole into the top of the piece.
 Then he drilled some holes for the faucet.
 Here are his cuts.  I traced the faucet and sink bowl onto the counter, and then Jim cut inside my markings.  We sanded the edges a bit to smooth them out.
In order to add some storage space and substance, we attached a painted sheet of MDF to the back of the kitchen unit.
I bought a real faucet from our local Re Store, and we installed that and our sink bowl (a metal dog bowl with a lip around the top) to make the sink.  On the other half of the kitchen counter, we placed four burners (thin wooden craft circles that I painted black and then coated with polyurethane).  We used Gorilla Glue to glue the burners on, and we weighted them down with some of our old college yearbooks overnight.  We were able to reuse the red plastic knobs from the original kitchen unit, but we moved them down below the burners.  Jim screwed the knobs on so Maddie would be able to turn them, like real knobs.
After we finished the top of the stove, we reattached the oven and cabinet doors.  We had wanted to make the oven door open downward, like a real oven door, but we weren't able to make it work.  We attached the oven door handle horizontally, so it looked more like a real oven door, and we attached the cabinet door handle vertically.
We hung a shelf and a metal bar with hooks on the back wall of the kitchen.  We also added some thin wooden trim along the bottom of the kitchen, because the one side had some water damage that we were not able to repair.  The trim covered the damage and added a finished look to the base of the kitchen.
 We hung a little chalkboard on one side of the kitchen, so Maddie can write out her menus.  :)
We didn't end up giving Maddie her kitchen until about a week after Christmas.  There were several reasons for our delay - we were traveling the week of Christmas, Maddie was getting lots of kitchen gifts from family, and we wanted to put the kitchen where we had our Christmas tree.  The day after we got home from our trip, we took down the Christmas tree and brought the kitchen up from the basement while Maddie was napping.  I stocked the kitchen with all the Christmas gifts and got it ready for her.  I hung her new cooking utensils from the hooks, and I placed the pots and pans on the burners.
 I put Maddie's play food and her little mixer into the cabinet and oven.
 When the little chef woke up from her nap, she was quite surprised.  She immediately started checking things out.

 As she pulled each item out of the cabinet to show me, she said her latest word, "Ta da!"  It was so cute!
 My mother made Maddie a little apron and a hot pad, and she knitted her some dish cloths.  We went thrifting while we were in South Carolina for Christmas, and my mom found Maddie this chef's hat.  It was perfect!
 Maddie loves her little kitchen!
 All our work and planning was definitely worth it!
 Drew is enjoying the kitchen too!
 The two children have been playing together in the kitchen during the last few days of Christmas break.
I kept a list of supplies we bought and the approximate amount we paid for this project.  I tried to be fairly thrifty, but there were a few things I splurged on.  Here is the list:
Kitchen unit - free - salvaged from the side of the road
Faucet - $16.00 - Re Store (I probably could have found this cheaper if I had searched a bit more.)
Sink bowl - $1.00 - thrift store
Shelf - $2.00 - thrift store (I loved the scalloped bottom!)
Rail - $9.00 - Ikea (There was a less expensive rail, but this one was a bit more feminine - a little splurge.)
Hooks - $3.00 - Ikea
Handles - $2.00 - Ikea (in the clearance section)
Chalkboard - $2.00 - Joann's
Burners - $4.00 - Joann's
Wood trim - $3.00 - Joann's
Wood backing piece and screws - $12.00 - Home Depot
Paint - free - Ace (free quart of paint during a promotion this past summer)
A few other things we already had - paint (black and white), polyurethane, nails, gorilla glue
All together, we probably spent about $60.00, and quite a few hours, on Maddie's kitchen.  We were really happy with how everything turned out, and we are so glad that she really loves her new kitchen!


Rob said...

LOVE IT! The kids will get hours of creative enjoyment out of this. Well worth the time and minimal expense.

becka said...

We saw a similar little kitchen at Cracker Barrel that wasn't as nice as yours and they wanted $100.

Sara Neufeld said...

It looks so great!! Love the little chalkboard!!