It all started with Pinterest. You've probably seen them - the entertainment centers converted to play kitchens.
I had shown a few pictures to my mother, so early one Saturday morning she texted me to tell me about a $15 entertainment center that she had found at a local yard sale. It really wasn't what I had in mind initially, but for $15, I just couldn't pass it up. It ended up being just right for what we wanted to build.
Truthfully, I had very little to do with the whole process other than to pick the colors and dictate what I really wanted the thing to look like; my husband, David, did all of the hard work. He'd never really done any kind of carpentry or big projects like this before, so he did a lot of learning throughout the whole process. We ended up stocking his tool shelf along the way, too! I'm really impressed with how well he managed this project, even if it took so long to finish.
Now, after almost two years and around $300, it is *finally* complete. I am so in love with the kitchen - It is easily my favorite of any of the converted kitchens I've ever seen (and honestly, it's better than the real life kitchen in our house!)
Here is the final beauty, and some progress pictures during its construction!
Below was the original entertainment center. You can see my 5'7" mother standing beside it for size comparison. It's pretty large compared to a play kitchen that you'd buy in a store!
The first thing David did was gut the shelves and rearrange the structural framework to resemble something more like an actual kitchen set up. Then, he cut a circular hole for the sink and drilled slots for the faucet, which is an actual $25 faucet from Lowe's. The sink bowl was a $5 metal mixing bowl from Walmart. Lydia likes the way things clang around in the sink - it can be quite noisy!
Next, he installed a thin particleboard backing to whole left side since the original backside had a giant hole. We considered having an actual look-through window, but we knew that the finished kitchen would eventually be placed up against a wall so there was really no point in spending all the extra work. He also bought some circular wooden pieces from Michael's and planned to paint them to look like electric burners, although he ended up scrapping those toward the end and making more 3D square ones to resemble a gas stove instead.
We purchased two battery operated lights from Lowe's to put on the ceiling to allow for better light. Unfortunately, the batteries only last for a few days, even when the lights are turned off. So they don't get used very often. Everything then needed to be primed. He used an electric sander to sand down all the surfaces between each coat so that the finished kitchen would be really smooth, like what you see at the store. The painting and sanding was probably the most time consuming part.
I wanted the kitchen to be really bright and colorful, so I chose this amazing Robin's Egg Blue/teal-esque color. The pictures really don't do it justice. It is such a fun color! More painting and sanding - I think there were at least three coats of paint to get it just right.
The second biggest task was installing a ceramic tile backsplash. This was something David had never done before, so it was quite the learning process. He did a fabulous job, though, for the first time! It's a little hard to see in the pictures since it is white with white grout.
We also found a $0.99 laminate floor tile at Lowe's to use as the "granite" counter top. It had a sticky backing so all he had to do was peel it off and press it on, although he did glue it down for reinforcement. It looks pretty authentic. He also decided to use a piece of leftover wood to build up the stove and set it apart from the counter. David used some pieces from the original cabinets and purchased some additional wood pieces to create the oven and fridge doors. They also had to be painted and sanded. The original entertainment center was a bit warped and not totally level, so the door pieces aren't perfectly square. They still open and close smoothly, though, so I don't mind at all. It's hard to tell by looking at it anyway. David had to cut the square out of the oven door. He has always planned to put a piece of plexi-glass in there, but I really don't care at this point. Lydia is plenty content just shoving food in the hole, so we'll probably just leave it open.
The oven knobs came from ebay - they are actual oven knob replacements for a real oven. They weren't exactly cheap, but we hadn't really seen anything at Lowe's or Michael's that would have worked well. We found the fridge and oven door handles in the kitchen hardware section at Lowe's (it is a really good thing that Lowe's is literally a 30 second drive from our house. I'm pretty sure that David went there at least 100 times or more during this whole project!!!)
We had a shelf leftover from our first apartment that has never been put up in our new house. David drilled some hooks at the bottom of it so it could be used as a pot rack. I had a picture of a garden printed, then we put it in a picture frame and David used some square dowel rods from Michael's to create the window look. My grandmother graciously made us these amazing yellow curtains, but we can't seem to hang them up in a way that doesn't block the whole space. I'm not sure if we'll use them or not - maybe some day.
At the end, David carved out the gas burners and glued a bunch of wood pieces together. They were a lot more work than the circular electric ones he had initially planned to make, but they look pretty realistic. And they are the perfect size for her IKEA pots.
Lastly are the baskets for food - if you've never been to The Container Store, you've got to put that on your bucket list. They have some pretty fabulous items, and these wire baskets fit the space perfectly. Plus, they're super cute.
Lydia absolutely adores her kitchen, and even though it was pretty time consuming and costly, I just love the way it brightens up our playroom. It's the perfect toy for encouraging creativity!
Walmart sells small silicone kitchen utensils that match the color of our kitchen quite well. And they are just the right size for little hands!