Saturday, January 7, 2012

Let's Get Cookin!!

So it is the newest rage... make your own play kitchen! So I joined the "in" crowd and did it! If you'd like a much cheaper kitchen renovation that the typical one, stick around...

I will do my best to give you step by step instructions, just keep in mind some of those steps include drinking, swearing, kicking the husband out of the studio for "helping" too much and many, many (fun?!) mishaps. So, with that warning, let's get to it!

Step 1:
Go to a thrift store, look on craigslist, scour the streets for a REALLY cheap desk. You want to spend as little as possible, so if it doesn't turn out as planned, you're not out much money. Because, well, I am doing this to save money. If I wan't to spend $100 on a desk to make it, I would just buy the damn kitchen. But I digress...

This beautiful piece of furniture was a whopping $5. Talk about a score! now I stood in line for 45 minutes to pay for it, but I got it for ONLY FIVE DOLLARS!!!

Step 2:
Research and make a plan. I looked at many play kitchens, and found one in a design I liked that would work with the desk I had already found. I think it is easier to find a layout to work with the piece you select rather than vice versa because you can modify it a little.

Step 3:
Draw out your plan! You do not have to be an artist, but it will make things go smoother in the long run. TRUST ME. Plans are awesome. Why do you think architects use them??

Step 4:
Dismantle your desk down to the basics. I didn't take a picture of this step because, well, it was just a bunch of boards laying around. I figured you would know what I meant, so I skipped that :)

Step 5:
Using your PLAN (you have one right?? If not, go back to Step 3!!), start building your base. I cut my side pieces of the original desk to 24". I added a bottom as well so I could put castors on it and have the ability to move the kitchen about. The castors add an additional 2 inches, so the total height was 26". I then cut supports for the sides of the refrigerator and stove. My sink was going to be in the center. I have now created the 3 work areas of every kitchen ;)

Step 6:
I was very fortunate my desk came with a hutch. If it hadn't, it would have definitely affected my plans, but since it did, I ran with it!! I used the hutch exterior as is, no alteration to the height. However, I created 2 shelves on the inside. One was for dishes, the other for the microwave. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, the microwave. This was one of my favorite parts to the kitchen! I used a picture frame for the door. Added hinges, a handle and decoupaged a keypad. Viola! Microwave.

Step 7- ????????

So this is what happened... we went to our kids first school program. I put the wrong SD card in the camera, so we had no memory left to take pictures. So I sacrificed the "in progress" photos to take ones of my children. I KNEW you would understand!

I cut out the hole for the sink and faucet during this time. Quite easy with a skill saw. Start your hole buy drilling inside the area to be removed with a large drill bit.

I also cut the doors for the refrigerator and oven. This is the part where the husband helped too much. He misread a measurement and cut one of the doors too small. It was still usable, but I was close to a nervous breakdown and another Bloody Mary. Despite this one mishap, he helped way more than he hurt. I wouldn't have finished without his help. (Thank you, Honey!) After painting the doors (and the rest of the kitchen), I installed them using hinges and magnetic closures. <------ Great idea to keep the stove from falling open on little toes. Add handles to each door, and done!!

Step Next (sorry, lost count) :
Paint it!! I started painting a little early, just to check the color, and because, well, I am quite impatient. I used oil paint paint because it is extremely durable. Messy, takes a long time to dry, but DURABLE. After the paint dried, I installed the faucet according to its directions, minus connecting it to hot and cold lines. ;) I also installed the sink.

Step 11:
The oven... I used wooden craft circles for the eyes: 2 large and 2 small painted black. For the oven knobs, I found some wooden wheels in the craft department. These worked out great as knobs. The holes were large enough to insert a screw, but still allow it to turn. After I painted them black, I screwed them to the cook top. Perfect!

Step 12 (to keep it consistent):
Make the curtains for the window and sink. Yes, there is a window behind the curtains. I used another picture frame and screwed it to the back panel. It even has an outdoor scene... from Norway! This kitchen is perched on a cliff overlooking a beautiful bay in Norway. Nice. Originally, I planned to make the area below the sink a dishwasher, but this project, as with most remodels, took longer than expected.

Step 13:
Lean the kitchen base on its back. Install the castors (if you want it mobile). Place kitchen upright on its wheels.

Step 14:
Install the hutch on top on the base. Be sure to use brackets to keep it secure on top of the base.

Step 15:
Touch up any boo boos from installing things. Just be prepared, there WILL be areas you need to touch up.

Step 16:
Unveil the kitchen to your kids that have been wondering where you have been disappearing to the past week...

I know I may have left out a few steps, but I explained the camera mishap. I also didn't want you to hear what terrible things I said when something didn't work out, or I dropped a piece on my foot. But if you have any questions, leave a comment or email us!

This is the best gift I have ever given my children. They love it, and I love it keeps them so busy!