If you think you’d heard bad language on Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, all that bleeping is NOTHING compared to what my dear husband had to endure as I struggled to finish the Cape Cod dollhouse kitchen. I think he snuck out to CVS and bought some ear plugs. I had a love/hate relationship with that room. I hated it and it loved to make me hate it!
I thought I was being clever by buying a compact kitchen kit from ELF Miniatures in the UK. It’s a long countertop with sink, stove/oven, refrigerator and cabinets. Perfect for a small house.
I chose a sleek, black little number and figured I’d have it done in a snap.
Now, I might have done if I was a more accomplished person and had a clean room in my house. As neither of those things were in place, I had a fight on my hands. The entire kitchen is meant to be covered in black “film” – something like very thin, glossy contact paper. And it looks great — until you odd little blotches from paint or flying debris or whatever — and then you have a kitchen unit that looks like it’s been spray painted by vandals and hastily covered over again. So I ripped all the film off.
Not yet defeated, I sanded it down, and painted it black. The flat finish wasn’t what I was looking for. Sanded it again and stained it with Mixwax Jacobean, which is fairly dark. It looked sooty and charred, as if my little householder had dragged it off a fire pit at the dump. It was too depressing to even bother taking a pic.
I briefly contemplated smashing it to bits with a hammer, but talked myself down. Instead, I ripped off the doors and drawers, covered the whole mess with illustration board and waded in again.
I rummaged though my increasingly eclectic stash of odds and ends. Found some “wainscoting” that looked like cupboard doors. I stained them and cut one up to make three drawers. Made knobs from black eyelets with a tiny black brad tucked in to fill the hole in the eyelet and attached them.
I salvaged the stove front and replaced its “clock” from the kit with something I found on Google images. I had accidentally destroyed the kit stove top because I thought it had an adhesive back and only realized it didn’t when the whole thing ripped. Again, Google images provided what I thought was a nicer stove top which I printed on photo paper and added a couple of rows of silver pin striping tape, then glued it down to the counter. The “film” I had chosen for the counter top looked far better on my monitor than in real life. So I got some contact paper and used that for the countertop.
I used another piece of wainscoting for the refrigerator door. I painted it black and then dipped it in Triple Thick Glaze to try for that glossy fridge door look. Almost made it, but Triple Thick and I don’t get along and it has glaring BUBBLES in the finish that irk me every time I see them.
One day, that fridge door will by pried off and replaced! I simply can’t stand thinking about those ghastly bubbles. I punched a hole in the sink and installed a drain – how can you have a sink with no drain?! I kept the kit faucet, but the handles were indistinct blobs of metal, so trashed them and made handles from jewelry findings. By the time all this was done, I was beat.
What did I learn? The shortest distance between two points isn’t necessarily a straight line when on that line there are great big holes filled with tar that you keep falling into and wallowing around in for days at a time. Next time, I’ll just make the whole unit from scratch. I think ELF Miniature kits come out beautifully –when somebody else assembles them!
My ELF Miniatures kit bash!
I had also bought the upper cabinet kit, but by the time I got to it, I had wised up and simply fitted it out to match what I’d done with the compact kitchen.
While I was wallowing in those tar pits, I managed to put together a coat rack and a boot tray which will be filled with rocks (I saw these on the internet and LOVED them – what better place to kick off your wet, sandy flip flops or walking boots?!).
I also made some pictures for this room. The pictures were downloaded, printed on photo paper, Mod Podged to take the gloss off and glued to balsa wood. I found some really neat velcro stickies for posters, cut them into bits and used them to “hang” the pictures.
I also finished the front door with a replica of a colonial door knocker, handles and dead bolt.
The coat rack is up and the boot tray is tucked in just waiting for a little coat and shoes to finish them off. I added the kitchen table and chairs and an HOM kit piece just to see the kitchen come to life a bit, but please excuse any bunny hair floating around in the photos. I have six of them all shedding like they’re prepping for a tropical getaway.
With the deadline only a week away, I have no illusions that I’m going to finish this house! But if I get the living room complete by then, I’ll be content. It’s a good thing I’m not a contractor – there’d be some poor family camped out in their back yard for YEARS while I was putting up their house in fits and starts. They’d finally throw their tent and sleeping bags into their car and abandon the whole shebang while I was busting out the kitchen with a sledgehammer for the third time.
I’ve started the sofa using a tutorial on the MitchyMoo blog, and by halving the measurements, assembled a matching chair. Now, if I don’t change my mind 15 times on what color the upholstery should be, I may just have a living room together by this time next week. But don’t bet on it yet. You might have better luck with the next multi-billion Powerball drawing.
But I’m keepin’ on keeping’ on!