DIY Play Kitchen: An End Table Remake!

We had a big ugly plastic play kitchen given to us a couple of years back, very generously by some kind and well meaning friends. And while our -then at the time 2-3 year old- played with it now and then, it was mostly the food that she enjoyed. So this giant plastic eyesore sat in our small play room/hallway taking up much valuable space collecting dust and old apple cores that she tucked away secretly. So one day, after we decided our kids needed to purge old toys as we generally do twice a year, we all decided it was time to let go and move on to other things.

But I kept all her food: her wooden PLAN food that she can cut in half, which she LOVES, and all the crochet food that I had made her previously. And low and behold several months later she rediscovered her love of play food and started making us all ‘food’ again. But boy was she upset when one day she remembered that she used to have a kitchen. What good is play food without somewhere to play-make it??

And so one day after hopping on Pinterest and happily pinning a ton of ideas on end table kitchens, I had the wonderful idea of putting my husband to work to make this for our now 4 year old as her Christmas gift. Being a congenial fellow he liked the idea, but our days are full. So it wasn’t until just a few weeks before Christmas that we discovered this old and unique RCA cabinet. Solid wood, glass front, and loads of possibilities. So without further ado please meet our RCA cabinet to Kitchen makeover candidate!keirakitchencomparison keirakitchen-14

The cabinet already had a drop down cupboard on the top painted black on the inside: a ready made oven. We just bought a new cupboard handle, a magnetic latch for the inside, and voila! The attractive glass door on the front that I thought would make an excellent glass door fridge turned out to be a problem. This puppy was so well made, our initial plans of taking the glass and frame out together and reattaching with hinges was thwarted by heavy duty construction. Which isn’t a bad problem to have, but just required some more work and sweat: so instead my husband had to make a smaller frame to fit inside. And due to our complete lack of glass cutting experience, let me just vaguely say that we ended up replacing the glass with 1/4″ thick plexiglass, cut to size at a local shop. And again with the shelf inside the fridge. Which is probably a much safer idea in the long run considering this is for children, but it did add another $25 to the cost.keirakitchen-4 keirakitchen-8keirakitchen-5The stovetop/countertop is the other obvious thing that needed attention and imagination. An extra dog bowl with its flat bottom served as a perfect sink, as did an old bathroom tap found at a local Restore. For the stovetop elements I found many options online, such as painting wooden trivets black, making them out of black felt circles, cutting circles out of wood, painting them directly on… but we thought we would try something new and better suited to our personalities (and also what we could find at the local thrift store merely days before Christmas). So we used small vinyl records, chosen by me merely for their colour, not musical significance. I should add for interest sake that my husband’s first purchases of Beach Boys was met with much consternation and condemnation by our Beach Boy loving brother, who thought it was sacrilegious to use GOOD records for this purpose. So we relented and found colourful options instead, and guess what he got in his stocking??The knobs were just wooden handles from the local hardware store.keirakitchen-3 keirakitchen-2 keirakitchen-1Then of course we had to decide if we had the time and energy (we as in my husband) after work to produce a backsplash. I was persistent and he gave in and worked many hours into several nights cutting wood into pieces of appropriate length, sanding the old paint off, and making a shelf for the top. And the results were worth it! I love that it looks like an old vintage kitchen wainscotting! We had originally purchased a small amount of subway tile and grout to put over it, but it looked amazing without the tile, and I think the wood backboards add an amazing amount of charm!keirakitchen-10 keirakitchen-11So to make it a bit more fun, last but not least I added the final touches: the pennant across the back, the chenille backed towel, and matching oven mitts. I happened to find a narrow rectangular teapot that fits the little shelves perfectly, and sewed lavender filled teabags for it. I made canisters for sugar and tea and flour by buying tins from Michaels and painting them (DON’T do this! The paint dried lumpy and the lids don’t fit, and the paint chips off! Use white spray paint instead. We were short on money and time…). I covered the tins with inspirational coloured sparkly scrapbooking paper which I Mod-Podged around it, and the knobs on the top mere also from the Restore. I completed the ensemble with a chalkboard label sticker. The pots I got at Value Village, as did the metallic serving tray which she used as a baking pan. And the little cup and saucer set we found in the clearance bin at Winners/Homesense. keirakitchen-6 keirakitchen-7 playfooddecember-18So there you have it! A kitchen that our daughter has enjoyed everyday so far, and one that is so well built and has such heart put into it, that I hope to keep one day for grandkids. Thanks for viewing!

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