Friday, July 22, 2011

The Best Playhouse You Could Imagine as a Kid (Week 7 of Fireflies at Dusk: A 52-Week Project)

Think of the best playhouse (or other fun thing or experience) you had or could imagine having as a child.  Then go make that real for your own child or some other child in your life.  

A play kitchenette made from shelves.
This is where the idea of the Fireflies at Dusk Project first sprouted from more than a year ago - the idea of parents recreating the good parts of their childhood for their own children (and making it even better!). When my daughter was younger, I put together a playhouse for her as her birthday gift.  This week I decided to do all the finishing touches I haven't had time to do over the past year.

If you look around online for ideas on how to make a homemade playhouse you'll find that a lot of parents have taken old entertainment centers and turned them into play kitchens.  With that as my inspiration, I used a set of shelves and made her a kitchenette which went into the closet under the stairs - a cozy little space. 
A little couch and side table next to the kitchenette.
A closer view of the left side of the play kitchenette

Because so many people have asked about the details of making the playhouse, here it is:

First, I assembled a set of ClosetMaid brand shelves with nine sections.

To make the sink:  I used a  stainless steel bowl from Goodwill, stainless steel cabinet knobs from the hardware section of a local store, and the top of a soap dispenser.  I took off the regular shelf here and replaced it with some particle board for easier cutting.  I used a small saw to cut out the circle to drop the bowl into it.  I used contact paper in a pattern that look like kitchen counter granite.

Casdon Toys makes realistic looking hot pots, toasters and other fun things (the more realistic, the more fun, I say!)  We are always rotating toys from storage from the garage - these pictures show what is in there at the moment - thank you to everyone who has given us fun toys for the little house!

A closer view of the center of the play kitchenette

Target has a polka-dotted bathroom set - we use the washcloths for tea towels, the tumbler for a utensil crock, and the material from a hand towel for the pillow on the couch.  We also got the cupcake set from Target.  More contact paper on the counter.  My old spice containers became her new ones.  Put up stick-up lights in any compartment you like and it starts to feel like a very real little kitchen!! 

A closer view of the right side of the play kitchenette
To make the stove: stainless steel contact paper, Folger's ground coffee lids for the burners, black cabinet knobs.
I used contact paper that looks like stainless steel and borrowed the shelf from the left side and mounted it on top of the one already there (since I used a piece of particle board and set it on top to make the stove top thicker and more realistic).
Most any time I went online to search for play toys for the kitchen, I just did online searching for 'Montessori style toys' and I found a lot of things that look realistic from Amazon or other places.  More contact paper was used for the back splash.  
This was a lot of trial and error, a lot of measuring and remeasuring, cutting and then gluing back together what I shouldn't have cut and somehow it all just came together after working on it for about 15-20 minutes a day for about three months.  You could do this in a weekend or two if you dedicated more uninterrupted time to it!  

Have fun!


Jennifer James said...

That is an awesome way to do a playhouse. Love it.

ChloeGXP said...

Thanks!! I had so much fun making it!