Santa gifted Mabrey this play kitchen last year. I didn’t find it obnoxious for a toy. But Mabrey kept asking, “When are you going to paint my kitchen?” Girl catches on quickly. Store bought items rarely stay the way I find them.
In an effort to tidy up the side of the fridge, I decided to tweak the play kitchen with paint. And by paint, I mean paint, backsplash, new hardware, open shelving and an oven light. I may have taken things too far. Oops.
The before. Again, it wasn’t obnoxious but there was room for improvement.
1 – The first thing I did was remove the chunky handles and patch the holes with wood putty.
2 – After a few applications of putty, I lightly sanded the patches and surfaces to be painted – just enough to scuff them up a bit.
3 – I taped off the oven window, control knobs and countertop.
4 – I gave the kitchen two coats of Sherwin-Williams coastal plain in a satin finish. (Btw, did you know you can purchase Sherwin-Williams paint at Lowe’s now? So convenient!)
5 – I bought two sheets of Smart Tiles subway tile in white. I had been eyeing them for a while but many sellers only sold them in packs of six and I didn’t need that much. When I saw them on sale at Wayfair for $5.99 per sheet and sold individually, I bit.
6 – The sheets are self-adhering vinyl with an easy peel-and-stick installation. The tiles are staggered on the edges for an overlapping seam.
7 – When positioned properly, the seam is barely noticeable. Lining up the grout lines carefully is key. I had to readjust the second sheet a few times to get a perfect fit. I don’t know that I would ever use these in a real kitchen (maybe a rental?) but they’re perfect for this application.
8 – I cut away the excess tile with utility scissors.
9 – I cleaned up the edges with a utility knife. I cut from the backside of the kitchen and pressed a board against the front side of the backsplash for more control. I ended up painting the top of the wood backsplash white for an even cleaner look.
10 – I used scraps cut from the first sheet to fill in small portions of tile on the second sheet. I had just enough tile!
11 – I added new handles. Because the play kitchen’s cabinet doors aren’t a standard thickness, the included screws were too long. I had to rummage around in the garage to find a few random ones that would work.
12 – (This is where Steve says I went overboard.) I cut a piece of lumber (thrifted from our garage) to fit the width of the backsplash. I sanded it smooth by hand and added a quick coat of wood conditioner.
13 – I applied two coats of wood stain. (It’s Minwax special walnut, my favorite.)
14 – I secured the shelf with two wood screws, using the original screw holes (from the original shelf) as my pilot holes. It’s super sturdy.
15 – I spray painted the faucet flat black to tie in with the new hardware. (Don’t think I didn’t consider adding a small bathroom faucet, but that really would have been too much. Ha!)
16 – The finished product!
For fun, I added a battery-powered LED tap light in the “oven.” Mabrey LOVES this new feature.
Just this morning she made me a broccoli cake ;) She couldn’t care less about the gray-green / subway tile / reclaimed wood / matte black hardware mix, but I’m all over it. One in my size, please?
Mabrey has a basket of play kitchen accessories. I keep it on a low shelf in the living room when she isn’t playing chef. She likes to carry it over to her kitchen when she’s playing. The red stool stands in as extra countertop space.
When I was tweaking the play kitchen, I couldn’t help wondering if there was a market for unfinished playthings that consumers could put their own spin on. Someone should do that. I think it’s so nice when toys (especially larger ones out in the open) meld with a home’s decor. I’m more likely to leave it out which means it’s more likely to be played with which is the whole point anyway, right? Or, I might be cray-cray.
At any rate, it was a fun little project and Mabrey seems to enjoy it. Now to tackle that messy fridge!
images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking