Kitchen Nightmares

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.  P1000228

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.

P1000262The 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. P1000313 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!

6 thoughts on “Kitchen Nightmares

  1. HOORAY! Just what I needed to beat the Sunday Night Blues – another installment! I cannot believe the time and attention to detail that goes into this! Amazing work and creativity. This house is so beautiful – love the pictures. So you really don’t think you’ll have it done in time? I’m sure your real job would understand if you took the week off…..with pay of course. 🙂


    1. Thank you, Cindy! I appreciate your lovely comments! I was actually going to take a one year sabbatical from my real job to finish this house. And to get the real atmosphere necessary for authenticity, I think they should rent a house on the Cape for me. And pay the utilities. And the cable bill. And have meals brought in. And make sure I don’t run out of Cool Ranch Doritos, champagne and orange juice (for those little mimosa pick-me-ups in the morning), and enough Ben & Jerry’s Chunkey Monkey to fill a huge bathtub so that I can lie in it on hot days. Think they’ll go for it?!


  2. Your house continues to amaze me and you deserve a Pulitzer for your great wit. Every time I saw that door I had to stare for a while (guess I’m attracted to doors) because it is superb. For better or for worse, we’re in the home stretch on the UU, and it has been wonderful to read your posts. Hope you don’t mind a long-term blog follower ;-).


    1. I LOVE doors! I lived in Salem, Mass for a while and they have gorgeous doors everywhere! Thank you for your kind words! I haven’t checked in on your blog since the start because I was so amazed at your work I was sure if I kept up with it, I would punk out! I’m so looking forward to seeing everything you’ve done once you win! I don’t mind a long term blog follower, if you don’t. 🙂


      1. Yay doors! We should get T-shirts. And aww, haha I hadn’t read your blog in a while for the same reason. I’ve been thinking you were going t0 win for your attention to the details, even when they drive one to insanity, and your sense of design. Best of luck!


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