Wednesday, June 27, 2012

From Nightstand To Play Kitchen.

So I've had a few people in the recent months discuss play kitchens, and a friend today actually. She suggested I repost the play kitchen we made a couple of years ago, for any of you handy folk with children. This is the original post from our old (no longer updated) family blog. So here is a short digression from my usual home decor posts. Enjoy!

Our latest project has been a play kitchen for the kiddos, made from a nightstand!


Let's take a peek inside. As you can see, it has a refrigerator and oven. 


A closer look:

Some details:

This project has been in the works for a while. I first discovered nightstand kitchens a few months ago on a blog (

I knew instantly, I had to make one!

Then I started looking at tons of other kitchens people have made. I pulled bits and pieces that I liked from all over the place! I told Steve I was going to make one of our own.

So, I scoured Craigslist and family houses for a nightstand that would work. I couldn't find the exact style I was looking for (one with 2 drawers), but I did find a useable one at my father in laws. He wasn't using it and let us take it!

Unfortunately, because it didn't have 2 drawers, we had to do a bit more creating than I had planned. That meant that Steve was going to have to take on a pretty big role in "my" project. I suppose he assumed that was going to happen...

So, I got to work finding all the supplies we were going to need. Here is a list of all the materials we needed, and the price we paid for each. It took me about a month to compile it all.

-Spray Paint (white/silver/red/blue/black) $8 (for white primer/paint, the rest we had)
-Chalkboard Paint $4
-Wooden J for faucet $2
-Wooden trivets (4) $4
-Plexi-glass for fridge shelf $3
-Oven Handle  $4
-Fridge Handle $4
-Cabinet Hinge for oven $6
-Shelf (cutting board we had)
-Wood for back & front (Ikea as-is) $5
-Hooks for side $2
-Hinges for Fridge $1
-Magnetic Closure $2
-Support Brackets for back $4
-Towel  $.50
-Wire for curtain "rod" (had)
-Curtain (had fabric)
-6 Knobs (had)
-Stainless bowl (from my dad)
-Cookie cooling racks (2 that we had)
-Gorilla Glue (had)
-Screws (had)
-Photo for window (scoured through books for one we had!)

So, as you can see, the total was just about $50 for everything. We could have made it even cheaper since we had handles, but we opted for nicer ones that fit better. Once we had all the supplies, we got to work!

I spray painted all the accessories, as well as primed the nightstand.

Steve then cut the sink hole and figured out a way to make the fridge and oven. We were originally only going to have an oven, since that is what I had seen in other kitchens. As we started working though, Steve, being the smarty-pants he is, added a fridge! We also added the oven window along the way. He is just so
handy. It took him about 5 nights of working on it, so it was no small feat. My final contribution was sewing the curtain.

Some of the neat details:

-The window with a view (a page from the Golden Book "Wonders of Nature")
-The groove in the fridge that we cut and painted to look like it has 2 doors
-The oven window with plexi-glass
-The painted heat coils on the burners and in the oven
-The cookie cooling racks for the oven shelves
-The adorable birdie fabric for the curtain
-The cute slice & bake cookie set (with removable frosting) & baking sheet
-The chalkboard menu on the side
-Knobs that really turn
-The upside down letter "J" for the faucet

For all the food, I bought Melissa & Doug wooden sets (cutting food, food groups, & cut & slice cookies). The pot & pan are also wooden and from Melissa & Doug. The wood utensils, bowls, and plates are from Plan Toys. The coffee cups and saucers are vintage porcelain ones from the attic of my father in law, and the cake pans are tin pieces I found at my fav antique shop.

The entire kitchen is made from non-plastic materials. Oh wait, the oven window and the shelf in the fridge are made from plexi-glass. Other than that, everything is either wood, metal, glass, or fabric.

The grand total for EVERYTHING- the materials & the play items, was $100. I bought the Melissa & Doug food at AC Moore with 50% off coupons, which made them reasonable. The Plan Toy set was from (I know, weird), and the pans were from Toys R Us (with a coupon and on clearance!). I think that is a VERY reasonable price for items that are going to last MUCH longer than plastic things, and that are much higher quality. Plus, they are infinitely cuter.

Hopefully this will last through all our children, and maybe even be passed on to the next generation.

All in all, I designed (mostly), shopped, sewed, and helped paint. Steve did ALL the building, helped with the design, and did the top coats of white.

I think it was a pretty collaborative effort, but I have to give Steve the credit for the actual construction- he was in the garage for HOURS. The kids absolutely LOVE it and have been playing with it non-stop since we finished it. That definitely makes it worth all the time and effort.

(Sorry some of the photos are blurry, I had a baby in my arms.)

*So there you have it friends! Back before I honed my photog skills. Also, I should add that it has been over 2 years and it is still in GREAT condition. The oven window bit the dust, but that has been the only casualty. I was mentioning today, that it has been the MOST played with, MOST loved toy for 2 years straight. Every child, of EVERY age that has come into our home has absolutely loved it. Definitely worth the work!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hello Friends!

Hello blogland! Have you been wondering where I had disappeared to? Thanks for all the sweet, encouraging notes during my absence! I am still here, doing just fine. Being that it is summer and wedding season, I have busy with outdoor projects and loads of photography work. Whenever I manage to find time to sit at the computer inside, I have been overloaded with post-processing, editing work.

Some things have been getting done around the house though. We have managed to finish the top, raised level of the deck, woohoo! Steve finished the stair railings last night actually. Now we have to complete the ground level portion, and then also do the fascia and we'll be good to go. Here is where we are now.

We still have to finish the underpart of the deck/fascia. So you won't be able to see any of the wood under there.
Ahhhhhhh so nice! Pardon the rain, by the way. I am absolutely LOVING how it came out! It has been so nice to be able to go out back and relax while the children all play in the yard. When the lower deck is completed, we'll be putting the picnic tables on it after we re-stain them. Eating our meals under the umbrella on a hot, sunny day has been just lovely. We are really enjoying it so far. Which is great because it has been a LOT of work (and as much as I am frugal and love DIY, this deck has NOT been inexpensive)! 

I am extremely happy with the mahogany color we chose, and the white railings. They look great, feel great, and most importantly, won't need to be stained every summer. FANTASTIC. I like how the baby can roll and crawl around and his sweet baby skin won't get splinters. The composite is extremely solid, which is nice. It also is a LOT larger than I had anticipated. For some reason it didn't seem to look that big when it was just mapped out on the grass or even when it was framed. Overall, I am even more pleased with it than I thought I would be!

So now we just have to secure all the lower deck boards (right now they are all just lying on the framing), do the fascia, and put in the replacement sliding door that we purchased already. Oh and I want to look for a new exterior light. The rusty brass one that resides there currently is just not doing anything for me! Same with the ones on the front porch actually. For some reason though, they seem to always slip my mind anytime we are at Lowes...

Here are some phone shots of the progression!
Steve sledgehammering a huge rock standing in his way of digging a post hole.
Noah in the hole. THAT is how deep they are. He is standing! Annnd Steve dug TWELVE of them.
Holes are dug, posts are sunk, framing going up!
Railing posts added.
Holden playing on the "stairs". Boards lying down to flatten.
Steve fastening down the boards. Look at that pretty picture framed edge.
Oh heavens! The table the kids and I put together! Boards done.
Oh goodie! The first railing section.
The boys all helping daddy with the railing.
VIOLA! Our current state.
Now let's see...I owe you a post on wall decor, don't I?? Let's see if I can squeeze that in soon!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Well now, ain't this the truth??

"We women have a lot to learn about simplifying our lives.
We have to decide what is important and then move along at a pace that is comfortable for us.
We have to develop the maturity to stop trying to prove something.
We have to learn to be content with what we are.
As you create a home, don’t get distracted with a lot of things that have no meaning for you or your family.
Don’t dwell on your failures, but think about your successes.
Have joy in your home.
Have joy in your children.
Have joy in your husband.
Be grateful for the journey."

-M. Hinckley