“Pin-Spired” Play Kitchen

“Pin-Spired” Play Kitchen – Guest Post by Layne Watkins

I, like many moms with a Pinterest account, was itching for the opportunity to put together a play kitchen for our daughter (hopefully something our son will also enjoy when he gets a little older). Here are some of the images and tutorials I saved for inspiration:

play-kitchen-source-one(Source: http://www.southernrevivals.com/2014/02/vintage-entertainment-center-turned.html)

I love the drool-worthy details of this particular flip: the magnet fridge, the adorable glass knobs used as stove controls, the chalkboard pantry and the amazing color coordination.

(Source: http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2012/12/diy-kitchenette.html)

The simplicity of this mobile version of cabinet-turned-kitchenette flips my switches – it’s retro, it makes the most of each surface (especially with the genius idea to incorporate peg board backsplash), and the bright bold color is super inviting.
(Source: http://www.younghouselove.com/2012/01/claras-christmas-kitchen/)

This blog post was the one that initially sparked my interest in this project. Again, it’s simplistic, clean-looking, and creative little details like creating a hot-plate as well as marrying a plexi-glass cabinet front with a press-on light to create the look of a working oven. I adore this project.

When it came time to put the rubber to the road on our own play kitchen project, we had a couple things to keep in mind: The space we wanted the play kitchen to live was only 40″ wide – most of the entertainment centers I found on Craigslist and at thrift stores were much wider than that. Additionally, we needed the new play kitchen to pull double duty – a great place to play as well as a storage solution. When I happened upon the entertainment center we eventually brought home, I wasn’t sure the configuration was going to work but I was hopeful . Here’s our (not-so) little beauty:


What excited me about this option was the fact that it was a perfect width and would provide a terrific skeleton to incorporate a sink, an oven, a light, and a few other accessories. Additionally, the storage space provided by the top shelf seemed like a perfect solution to some of our messy toy situation.

Upon first glance, a few changes were apparent: lose the leaded glass, lighten up the piece with some white paint and swap out the hardware to look more like what we have in our “grown up” kitchen.

First came taking everything apart and sanding.


Then priming. We had some left over primer from another project we were working on (we used Benjamin Moore’s Fresh Start Multi-Purpose Latex Primer).


I used two coats of primer.

Then came the top coat. We had left-over paint from out kitchen remodel (Ultra White by Benjamin Moore in a semi-gloss base). I used two coats.

I don’t have photos of the rest of the process as my husband did the cutting for the faucet and sink, the quarter-inch plywood that replaced the leaded glass as well as the readjusting of the hinges for the oven, installing the light fixture, and installing the “pot rack.”

Without further ado, here are our after photos (please excuse the bad lighting and iPhone photos)…


You can see it’s a pretty substantial piece of furniture in our small space so it’s helpful that it’s serving as a storage space as well. I love that we were able to incorporate leftover hardware from our kitchen to use as hangers for aprons as well as cabinet pulls.


We found the little LED light switch at Dollar Tree and had to include it because our kid loves her a light switch. My husband cut rounds out of leftover quarter-inch plywood. I used leftover chalkboard paint for the burners as well as the oven front. The pendant light was a Habitat for Humanity ReStore find. It doesn’t light up yet but we have our eyes on these battery-powered light bulbs: (https://www.amazon.com/Anpress-Controller-Rechargeable-Emergency-Flashlight/dp/B0177OVHQM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474945828&sr=8-1&keywords=battery+powered+light+bulbs).


Ahhh, the big flaw in my design – not immediately incorporating a chain to ensure the oven door didn’t slam to the ground. About five minutes after our daughter started playing with the kitchen, she opened the oven and it fell down on her toes. My husband immediately installed a rope to stop the door from falling open like that again. Talk about taking the wind out of our present-giving sails…”here’s the kitchen we made for you – I’m sorry it almost broke your toes.” All is well. Even after the trauma, little girl skipped her nap because she wanted to play with her kitchen.

The best part of the project was finding the right piece of furniture and dreaming up a new design for it. A close second was accessorizing the finished kitchen. We made a trip to the Dollar Tree to find things like kitchen towels, a dish drainer, infant utensils, and the little wire basket pictured above. I headed to Target for the Melissa and Doug pot and pan set I spotted a few weeks back (http://www.target.com/p/melissa-doug-let-s-play-house-pots-pans-set/-/A-16699889). I snagged some shower curtain hooks to hang the pots and pans from the towel rack turned pot rack. As most trips to Target go, I ended up with more in my cart than I intended – I also picked up the Melissa & Doug Cutting Food Box as well as the sweet “Do All Things With Love” wall hanging (here: http://www.target.com/p/melissa-doug-cutting-food-box/-/A-528756 & here: http://www.target.com/p/do-all-things-with-love-screen-printed-glass-art-pillowfort/-/A-50087773).

We are super pleased with how this project turned out.


Our daughter was also pretty pumped.

Here’s the breakdown of our out-of-pocket costs (sans accessories):

Entertainment center: $30
Pendant light: $10
Faucet: $10
Stainless steel bowl for sink: $1.99
Towel rack: $3.00
Hardware for oven pull: $1.00
Used oven knobs: $.25 a piece ($1.00 total)

TOTAL: $56.99

Like I mentioned, we already had the primer, paint, and some of the hardware.

Before I go, here’s a link to the video of the big reveal: https://vimeo.com/184420283.

Thanks for reading – here’s to tackling those projects we’ve been thinking about tackling!


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