I’ve seen some great DIY play kitchens the past view years. (Here’s a round up from Ohdeedoh a few years ago.) There are also great options for sale, like the above modern wooden kitchen from Melissa & Doug, and of course the many plastic variations. A few months ago while I was yard sale hopping with my mom, I spotted this wooden play stove/oven. The only thing better than a DIY kitchen is someone else’s DIY kitchen. This stove was built by the sellers’ grandfather and I talked them down to $7, knowing it would need a lot of work to get it to a condition suitable for Ali to play with.
Jason is super handy and we often do DIY projects together but I decided this was my baby. I washed it all down and painted it with some leftover wall paint I found in my parents’ garage. I was thinking of refreshing the original white until I found the mint green paint—why not make it mint green like a retro stove? I painted over the black burners, handles and knobs with a pewter metallic craft paint.
I did commission Jason’s expertise for one part. I wanted to add casters to the bottom since this is fairly heavy. I imagine it will spend some time in the playroom, some time in Ali’s room and some time in the kitchen at our new house.
At first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it being a stove and not a full kitchen. Then I started thinking up all the accessories that could be used with the oven—muffin tin, loaf pans, cookie sheets, cookie cutters, oven mitts—and with the stove—frying pan, spatula, sauce pan, spoons, tea pot—and I realized the possibilities are still endless. I found the pans and spoons second hand for a few dollars a piece. I spray painted all the pans blue to give them a unified look.
For Ali’s first birthday, Aunt Jess and Uncle Jeff got her a set of soft play food from IKEA. It’s the Swedish style breakfast set that I hinted to my sister about. We’re a quarter Swedish but I consider myself more Swedish than anything else. I love their typical breakfast fare: bread, cheese, sausage, bacon, eggs, fruit topped waffles, cheese, bread, and maybe a cookie for good measure. This set also comes with a cutting board, knife and a few veggies.
We gave Ali the stove on her adoption day. I realize she’s still a bit too small for it but she’ll be big enough eventually. I tried to make some kind of sentimental connection about her importance in our family and a kitchen’s importance in the home. Or something like that. Really, I just found a DIY project I couldn’t pass up and I had an occasion that called for a gift.
Ali seems particularly fond of the knife and likes to crawl around with it in her mouth. What the?!