Snapshot Saturday

About a month or so before Christmas, I had this great idea to build Cam a play kitchen. Or in other words, I told Brian to break out his power tools because Cam was going to be getting a play kitchen for Christmas. Inspired by my old high school friends creations (hey Rocky and Jolyn!), I shared their photos with Brian. And then after a bit of searching online realized there are entire Pinterest worlds dedicated to making play kitchens out of entertainment centers.

Brian, the loveable procrastinator that he is, started this project about five days before Christmas. He sweetly talked an owner out of their entertainment center for $25 and got to work. Here it is in all its beauty. Just ignore the garagey atmosphere; it’s a garage for Pete’s sake. We put the piano bench as a blockade in front of the house door to the garage so the project could be worked on without little prying eyes (and covered it up with a tarp during the day).
Snapshot Saturday

To say that the next five days involved nearly all-nighters and feverish woodworking and painting skills to get this baby done before Christmas morning is an understatement. I was put in charge of painting which morphed into a new assignment: the countertop (when Brian realized I wasn’t quite the perfectionist he needed in a painter – if you know my husband, you know one thing: that he is a perfectionist of epic proportions).

Ah, the countertop. The bane of my existence. The reason my eyes were bloodshot for three days. My plans to paint this baby with detailing tape (dude, I saw the idea on Pinterest!) didn’t exactly work. So I painstakingly had to touch up bled through paint and then use my Silhouette to finally cut out thin vinyl strips for the grout. Not that you really care. I don’t blame you. In the end, it looked kind of like a counter and that’s all that matters.Snapshot Saturday

Meanwhile as I was shedding tears over ill-painted countertops and wasted time, Brian was doing 300X the work I was – including feverishly building new cabinet doors, installing a sink with handles that actually turn, figuring out hinges, priming and painting and painting and painting, and reconfiguring the oven space complete with a metallic-painted oven door (that stuff reeks, by the way) with a plexiglass front.
Snapshot Saturday

We repurposed an old shelf-rack-thingy from our microwave, since we never used it, as the oven rack. And I can safely say that Cam is clearly too young to understand what an oven does, even a play one, because if you peer inside on any given day, you’ll usually find her dollies nestled in there. Hello yellow spoon and toy pot lid.Snapshot Saturday

The only other piece I really played a part in was sewing the little curtains for the “window.” That picture, incidentally, was taken months ago when we first moved in here and I was so happy to have a real picture from our real yard to hang in Cam’s not-real kitchen. The curtains should have been a simple project but I’m seriously the worst seamstress ever so it took about four alterations, 129 stitches torn out, and finally measuring the stinking diameter of the dowel, before they were sewn correctly. I’m such a quick learner.
Snapshot Saturday

The stovetop is simply painted coasters and super cheap knobs that turn on a little screw. I found out today that some play kitchens sold by IKEA actually have burners that glow red when turned on. For clarification purposes, yes, Cam got cheated, and no, Brian and I are definitely not at IKEA toy production level. You know, just in case you were confused.
Snapshot Saturday

Ultimately, the true test is whether this darned thing gets played with. And thankfully, oh thankfully, I can say that already it has hours and hours of use/play. It sits in the nook right next to our big kitchen. Cam is still in the mode of filling up her plastic mugs with her toy bead necklaces and shoving her stuffed animals in the sink. But the boys have made endless variations of plastic meals. Yum.
Snapshot Saturday

Overall, I’m glad we (ahem, Brian) took this on even though those days before Christmas are a blur. For the record, Brian would like to state that since December did not even see high temperatures above zero, he is everlastingly grateful for a heated garage. And I’ll give a big amen to that. I’m grateful he was a willing party to my crazy idea and that he was talented enough to make it happen. You wouldn’t have been seeing a post about this had I been the one doing the real work. Love you, babe. Love you, ragamuffin-Cam, and love you, little kitchen.

42 Responses to Snapshot Saturday: Cam’s Kitchen Cafe

  1. Amy P says:

    Wow! It turned out really well! Now that I know how much goes into those Pinterest before-and-afters (and realizing my husband is *not* a perfectionist)….I think I’m going to save myself the sweat and tears and buy one :) I can’t believe how great yours looks – it was worth it!

  2. Nancy says:

    Mel.. I think this turned out sooo great! Wish my daughter was still little like Cam to play with one (she’s 17 now..sniff sniff…the years just flew by!). Just such a great idea! Hope Cam has fun!!!

  3. Cookies4kids says:

    What a fantastic project and who would have thought of turning an entertainment center into something so cute. That’s the kind of thing that makes Christmas so very special, and one you will never forget. Your little girl is an absolute doll, and makes me smile every time I see a picture of her. She makes me think of our youngest daughter so much. She was a doll also, but those eyes were always full of mischief!!!
    Thanks for the great posts and sharing your life with all of us.

  4. katie says:

    what a sweet little kitchen! i love all the adorable touches~ cam is a cutie!
    thanks for sharing~

  5. Cara says:

    Absolutely amazing!

  6. Jill says:

    So so SO adobable!

  7. Katie says:

    That is adorable! Can’t believe you made it!

  8. Kelly says:

    Her little kitchen is adorable! Now I’m going to have to convince my husband to make one for our baby girl!

  9. Brenda says:

    Wow, that looks so awesome! I don’t do woodworking (and neither does my husband) but I can see the hours and hours of LOVE that went into the project. /

  10. Kathy says:

    Gorgeous. When can you build one for my niece?:)

  11. Alycia says:

    WOW!!! That looks far better than any little kitchen one could buy (red-lit burners or not!) plus it was made with so much love. HOW AWESOME!!! I LOVE your recipes, I enjoy your Snapshot Saturdays, your writing talent is so entertaining…I am living vicariously through you! :)

  12. Kristi says:

    Oh wow, I am so impressed! That’s an amazing transformation for TV stand to café.

  13. Sheila H. says:

    Santa brought ours (it is plastic) but I really want yours. That is too cute and handmade is always better. Love, love, love Snapshot Saturday.

  14. Sheila says:

    I’m always telling my kids, “Love is an action”. What a treasured gift you gave to little Cam — the great sacrifice of love! It looks amazing. I laughed my way through the blood, sweat, and tears. :-) And I kept thinking, I am so thankful I am not a perfectionist! Love Snapshot Saturdays and the wonderful knowledge of five adorable little ones who have such loving, involved, caring parents.

  15. Maria says:

    That is so darn cute!!! And creative. What a lucky little lady.

  16. Becca says:

    That is TOO cute! The two of you did an amazing job. I bet this little kitchen will be a childhood memory she’ll cherish forever. =)

  17. Carolyn says:

    Oh. my. gosh. Soooo much nicer than the plastic ones! I love every aspect of this little kitchen. You thought of everything!
    I want one, please :)

  18. Betsy says:

    What a great idea to make it out of an old entertainment center, I can’t wait to try this!

  19. Stacey says:

    Truly impressive! Now I expect Cam to start crankin’ out top-notch recipes on her blog!

  20. AnnMarie says:

    I think it’s great that your boys play with the kitchen, too. I think sometimes play kitchens get pigeonholed as a “girly” thing, but hey, my dad loves cooking while my mom does it because the family needs to eat. (By the way, having a dad and a brother who takes after him and who are awesome cooks kinda spoils you for any future men, ha.) But I bet in a few years Cam will love her play kitchen and the chance to be like her momma. ^_^

  21. Kim in MD says:

    I’m very impressed! Best play kitchen EVER! Who needs IKEA?

  22. Anna says:

    OMG that is so stinkin’ adorable!!!

  23. Jackie says:

    SO SO SO CUTE! The counter top is especially amazing… it really looks like tile!

  24. Mimsie says:

    I just discovered your blog by googling “lemon squares”, which, by the way, I wish I had known about before I made an inferior recipe this morning. I’ve printed your recipe off to try in a few days, since I bought some Meyer lemons and thought they would work nicely. Anyway……this kitchen is jawdropping cute. You and your husband are a great team, and your little ones, boys and girl, will get an incredible amount of fun out of it.

  25. WOW! So impressive! Y’all did an awesome job! Hopefully this is something she will play with for years and years!

  26. Auntiepatch says:

    I can’t believe how much she’s grown! What a cutie!

  27. Andrea says:

    Love, love, love it! It brings back memories of my kids playing with their plastic toy kitchen. They are 19 and 17 now. I told my husband we will do this for our grandchildren some day!

  28. Katrina says:

    That is so cute!! I love the picture as the window!

  29. Jennifer H. says:

    Mel, I thoroughly enjoyed this — Like so much…..Cam is darling! Great job on the project!!

  30. Teresa R. says:

    Great job! It’s amazing how much your daughter has grown. She’s a cutie pie!

  31. Wow. So adorable and clever and amazing!

  32. Melynda says:

    Turned out super cute. Cam is growing so!

  33. Stacey says:

    Wow, this is one of the best play kitchens that I have seen! The picture and the window treatment are great! I would say it was worth it :)

  34. Debbie says:

    This is so stinking cute! You did a great job! To bad my kids are a bit past this stage -this is a project we would have loved! And yea my husband would have started it 5 days before Christmas too.

  35. Melissa says:

    Very impressive. I am buying my nearly 2 year old daughter one for Christmas as my husband is a huge procrastinator and I am afraid it won’t get done…I love yours! How old is your daughter? I am hoping my wee one isn’t too young for this type of play toy.

  36. Barbara says:

    Huge kudos to you both for this magnificent work of heart! It is simply beautiful! My granddaughter is about Cam’s age, and I’ll bet she’d just love one, too. I’ll have to show this to my son!

  37. Megan A says:

    It’s absolutely darling!!!

  38. Ruth says:

    So, so cute! I love all the details. This is something that Cam and the boys will enjoy for many years to come. In fact, I see this as something that is pased down to Cam’s children one day. I envision many happy memories being made in this kitchen!

  39. Cammee says:

    Very impressive! I can’t get over the picture of Cam on the phone!

  40. kelli says:

    You inspired me–we’re now in the process of building one for my daughter’s birthday. I love the paint color–would you mind sharing? Did you spray paint or brush? I looked around on pinterest after seeing yours, and yours is still my favorite! Although my daughter will probably be getting a different countertop–I’m definitely not patient enough to do the tile!

  41. Mel says:

    Hi Kelli! What fun – you’ll have to share pictures of the finished kitchen! We used a paintbrush, not a sprayer, and it went pretty fast. Ok, so I didn’t do much of it, but it went fast for Brian. :) The paint color is the True Valu brand “Soaking Wet” Hope that helps!

  42. kelli says:

    Thanks so much–glad it wasn’t a spray paint. It’s still much too cold here to paint outside, and I worried about all the fumes in our unfinished basement. I don’t think I’ll be brave enough to share pictures after seeing how professional yours looks, but hopefully my daughter won’t mind!

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