If you follow me on Instagram you’ve likely already seen a billion photos of this kitchen because it’s where Jackson now spends 90% of his time. Seriously – if this kid is awake, he’s playing with the kitchen.
I’ve had a lot of questions about it, so I figured it was high time I do a quick post giving up the details. We decided to get Jackson a play kitchen for his birthday for no other reason than we thought he might like it. We didn’t want to get him more random toys (he has plenty of those!) and we wanted something that was high quality and would grow with him. After looking at a lot of play kitchens online and not finding anything I was willing to place square in the middle of my living room, we landed on the DUKTIG kitchen from IKEA. It’s affordable and essentially a blank slate – perfect for customization!
We debated colors and styles for a long time before deciding on anything for sure. I really wanted the accessories to be gold, and Corey really wanted it to be something other than white or gray. We also wanted something classic that would fit in with the rest of our living room, since that’s where it would be going. After much back-and-forth, we ended up with navy on the outside, and leaving the white parts as the are.
We also added in some cute drawer pulls we found at Hobby Lobby to look like stove knobs. Jackson loves to twist them, and I think they add a great touch and make it feel more “real”.
One of my favorite parts of the kitchen is that it has little feet that can be added on the top so it grows with him. I think it will be usable for many years – the model that we looked at in the store was tall enough for an elementary-aged child!
We got a ton of play food from various people for his birthday, so his kitchen is always well stocked. Our favorites are some cans and a cookie-making set from Melissa and Doug, and a shopping basket full of pretend versions of the store brand food from our local grocery store – it’s so cute to see mini versions of the food that’s actually in our pantry!
I’m glad we took the time to spruce the kitchen up, because it’s visible from just about everywhere in the house. I love that because it means I can always keep an eye on him when he’s playing with it, and I actually love how it looks in the house.
Now if only I could get my actual kitchen to look half this nice!
But. When we were decorating for Christmas, we needed a place to put the gold bookcase from the living room (since it sits where our tree goes), and we figured the kitchen was the best place for it. So we temporarily (or so we thought) relocated the china cabinet to the garage for the season and moved the gold bookcase into the kitchen.
The problem was, the Christmas season ended and I didn’t really want things to return to the way they were. I liked the bottom half of the china cabinet exactly where it was in the garage, and I liked it a hell of a lot more than I had liked it in the kitchen. I had been itching for something new in the kitchen for a while now, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. So, Corey and I got rid of the top half of the hutch (we just tossed it out on the curb and a few hours later it had found a new home with a neighbor!) and let the bottom half stay where it was. We moved the gold bookcase back to where it belongs, and began the search for a new china cabinet.
I’ve been half-heartedly looking for something for several months now, and have been super disappointed with the lack of choices. We didn’t want to spend a lot of money, and we didn’t want something super traditional or boring. We’re pretty picky.
But apparently, it was meant to be. Just a couple of days after Christmas I did another search, determined to find something and I stumbled on the absolute perfect china cabinet. For $100. And I knew right then I had to make it mine.
So I did.
It’s significantly bigger than the old one, which I adore, and I’m actually loving the wood tones in here – it ties into the breakfast nook chairs so nicely.
We bought it with the knowledge that it would probably need a bit of work, but we have every intention of just living with it for a while before we make any alterations. For one, the bigger size means that our light switch for the breakfast nook is covered up. We don’t use it very often, so it’s not a huge deal – for now, we have a little plastic hanger sitting on top of the hutch that we use to reach behind it and flip the light on if needed. Long term? We’ll cut a hole in the back of the hutch so it’s easily accessed. We’ll have to open the cabinet to get to the light, but since we use it so rarely, it won’t be a bother.
There are also some spots on the side of the cabinet that are pretty banged up – it’s not a pretty look, and of course it just so happens to be on the side you can see all the time (if you look closely, you can kind of see them in the above photo – one near the top and two on the bottom half). Annoying. We haven’t figured out exactly what we’ll do to fix them, but I think we’ll start off with one of those stain pens and see if it will at least camouflage it. They don’t bother me too much for now – I never mind a piece that looks well-loved, so I’m hoping that the pen will be enough to make it blend in and look okay.
The back of the cabinet it (obviously) the biggest problem. Ew, right? The pattern and color are super traditional and, um, ugly, and I am definitely not a fan. We’ll eventually replace the entire back (it has a small hole in it anyways) and will probably paint it a fun color or something, but I don’t want to do anything that permanent until we’ve lived with it for a while and are positive we know what we want. But I also cannot live with that terrible pattern and color in my kitchen, so I had to do something about it stat.
Enter my leftover Christmas wrapping paper. Seriously. I measured the back, cut a piece of wrapping paper to size, and used some double-sided tape to toss it back there to hide the ugly. It’s not a perfect (or a long term) solution by any means, but it was free and I think it makes a huge difference in updating the entire piece. And now I don’t cringe every time I look at it. Which is a nice perk.
I’m obsessed with our new china cabinet, and I am so excited about how much more storage it gives us than the last one. Plus, we’ve still got the bottom of the old one the garage holding most of the same stuff it held before, so we even have some empty space in this one – which is definitely going to be helpful with all the new baby stuff in our house!
Have you upgraded any pieces in your house lately? How about some temporary fixes to make things tolerable until you’re able to fix them the right way?
Seriously. I’ve considered burning it multiple times.
I even had a nightmare about it the other night.
But, let me explain. I was seriously in love with this guy when we bought it, and I couldn’t wait to get it painted and back in the room. Corey and I waffled back and forth for weeks about what we wanted to do with it,and we finally ended up settling on black. It’s a neutral color (which was important, since our wall color is so bold) but it’s a little more fun and bold than a plain white or gray. We don’t have any black in the room yet, and I’m a strong believer that every room should have a bit of black in it…so black it was.
But, there was a problem.
As you can see, the vanity was still just plain wood and hadn’t been painted. There was a very thin coat of poly on it, but nothing else. I decided to forgo sanding it (a step I skip any chance I can get), and go straight to priming and painting. Only, when I painted it the top looked terrible. Apparently it was a thicker coat of poly than I thought, because it completely messed up the texture of the paint and looked completely ridiculous.
So, I had Corey sand it down for me so I could repaint it.
And when I did? The paint cracked.
This has only ever happened to me once, and I knew what I did wrong that time (put a top coat on before the paint had dried fully). But this time? There was nothing on the vanity, it had been sanded and cleaned, and there was absolutely no reason for it to crack.
This was the first time I considered burning it.
But I forged ahead, Corey sanded it down again, and I gave it another shot.
It looked much better the second time around – I thought we had finally found victory! Until…the next day when Corey (who was genuinely trying to be helpful) sprayed another coat on the top.
For those of you who don’t know, if you wait more than an hour-ish after painting with spray paint, you should wait at least 48 hours before painting again…or it will crack
And crack it did.
(This would be the second time I wanted to burn it.)
I sanded it down (yet again) and tried one last time.
It didn’t crack this time, but there are still some spots on the top with a really weird texture. I have no idea why. I’ve just given up.
But, if you don’t look at the top too closely, it still looks cute!
I love the black in the room, and I am SO happy with how it looks in this space. I just try really hard to ignore the weird parts on the top…because I don’t know how to fix ’em and I’m just mad about it. And when I’m mad at things, I ignore them. It doesn’t make the problem go away, but it sure does make me feel better.
I added some fun fabric to the stool (which gave us ZERO problems, by the way) and decided that the vanity itself needed a little bit more fun – so I grabbed a test pot of coral paint from Lowe’s and painted the inside of the vanity for a fun surprise. It’s not something most people will see, but I know it’s there and it makes me smile.
And, with the addition of some super cute flower pulls (that I’ve been lusting after for months but Corey hasn’t let me use them yet because they’re “too girly”), I think I’m hating this vanity a little bit less now.
Maybe once I live with it a little longer I’ll even come to like it.
Have you had any projects give you a really hard time lately?
When we first moved into this home, I felt a little silly having a dining room and a breakfast nook. It felt so indulgent! Prior to living here, we had lived in nothing but tiny apartments that didn’t even have an official dining space, so it felt downright luxurious to not only have room for a giant table in our dining room (it’s 104″ long!) but to also have a breakfast nook…and with a bay window to boot!
But, after living here for over a year and a half, I’ve become quite attached to our little breakfast nook and now I can’t imagine life without it. We use it all the time. Corey eats breakfast here daily, and we sit down to a big breakfast here every single Saturday morning.
And guess what? We use the dining room too!
I still feel a little silly saying that we actually need two separate dining spaces, but, um, we do now.
It’s so nice to have this little area in the kitchen to plop down for a quick breakfast or lunch (or just do get some work done), but to also have the giant dining table for when we have guests or want to sit down and have a nice dinner at home together.
So, in summary, we love the breakfast nook. And, really, it’s the only area in the kitchen that actually feels kind of “complete”. We think the furniture in this little area is perfect, and it’s really come together nicely over the last few months.
But, can we talk about those chairs? Here’s what they originally looked like:
Ugh. I love them so much it’s almost embarrassing, but that fabric? HOT MESS. I actually like the color, but it’s gross, dirty, and completely falling apart.
We’ve been meaning to recover them for forever, but I have had complete design paralysis when it comes to actually choosing a fabric. Should I go floral? Graphic? Pop of color? Neutral?
I DON’T KNOW!
After months (and months and months) of indecision, I finally decided it was time to just make a decision and go for it. After all, it’s not like it’s particularly difficult to recover them if I hate the fabric I choose.
So, last week I finally ordered some fabric.
I went with a scallop pattern in navy. It’s more color than a black or gray fabric would have been (and this area definitely needs color) but it’s neutral enough that we can still layer in colorful accessories without worrying about clashing. And, it ties in nicely with the navy accents that we have in our dining room, which is a win-win for me.
So finally, after owning these babies for more than 6 months, I recovered them this weekend. I’m always tempted to gloss over the steps to recovering chairs, but it’s something I’ve gotten asked about a lot in the past so I’ll go over it again – I promise it’s ridiculously simple.
Remove the seat part of the chair.
Remove the old fabric. Curse at the chair many times while you do this. Remember that this is by far the most difficult part of this process.
Cut your fabric to the right size for the chair – leave a few inches on all sides. Lay out the new fabric (iron it first, please!) and plop the seat on top of it.
Enlist your handsome husband (or wonderful wife, or fantastic friend) to help, because this is a two-person job. I mean, you can do it alone if you want, but it’s much easier with someone else.
Pull the fabric tight on one side. Staple.
Keep going. Cut off the extra fabric when you’re done. I know that’s not particularly descriptive, but this is one of those things you’ve just gotta learn as you go. It’s like wrapping a present…and just remember that if you mess up, it takes just a few seconds to remove the staple and try it again!
Put the chair back together and marvel at the amazing job you did.
This might sound dramatic, but I feel like this transforms this entire little nook. The navy pairs so well with that dark wood and the gold legs, and the whole combination makes me a little weak in the knees. Also, having a bit of pattern in there makes the whole area feel so much more put together and complete.
…now if only we could do something about that terrible floor and wall texture/color. Baby steps!
So, my friend, if you have any old chairs laying around your house that are begging for a transformation, I hope this little tutorial reassures you that it’s incredibly simple to tackle a quick upholstery job on your own and there’s no reason to wait. Just jump in and do it!
Do you ever have those moments when you’re walking through your favorite store and see something you just have to have…and then you check the price tag? And it makes you want to cry?
Because that happens to me all the time. Seriously – all the time.
I’m pretty cheap when it comes to new furniture for my home – mostly because I know that with a little patience and creativity I can make something I love just as much as what I see in the stores for way less money. And that was exactly the case when I saw this beautiful wood-tiled dresser at West Elm. It’s beautiful and I longed to have one in my house, but that price tag? I just couldn’t do it!
Luckily, I’m a little bit creative and a lot stubborn, so I made one of my own.
If you want to tackle this project, you’ll need: An antique dresser
Scrap 1×4 wood – we used maybe one board total
Gray paint Gorilla wood glue (or any wood glue you like)
3/4″ dowel rods (for drawer pulls)
1/2″ dowel rod (for drawer pulls)
We started off with this beautiful antique dresser that we found at a local flea market. We loved the clean lines, the tall frame, and (of course!) those casters. Drool. Our style is a pretty good mix of modern and more traditional/vintage furniture, so we liked that using this would lead to a slightly less sleek and modern look than the original, which fits right in with the rest of our house. It was basically perfect.
The first step for us was figuring out a way to inset the drawers a bit so that when we added the wood tiles they wouldn’t stick out. We wanted the entire front of the dresser to be flush (the West Elm one has the drawers slightly inset, but we thought a flush look would be a bit more fitting for our dresser).
Our original plan was to just move the drawer slides back a few inches in the dresser, which would hopefully make the drawers sit the way we wanted them, but thankfully it was an even easier fix than that with this particular dresser – there were little metal pieces on the inside of the drawers that stopped them from going all the way in. All we had to do was pull those out and make some new stoppers with some little dowel rods and we were good to go.
Next up was cutting all of our wood tiles.
Let me warn you – this project isn’t for the faint of heart…it took forever! But, I think the end result is totally worth it, so I won’t complain.
To make the tiles we took a few 1×4 boards that we had already laying around and cut them down to 1/4″ thick tiles. It was the quickest way we could think of to do it, and it also meant that the end-grain of the wood would be showing, which added some fun texture. It was a pretty quick job to cut the tiles – we just used a chop saw with a piece of wood clamped to it to make sure all of the tiles were the same size.
Our stack quickly grew, and soon enough we had a giant pile of wood tiles.
When they were all cut, we gave them a quick whitewash. I wanted a bit of variety within the tiles, so we did a whitewash on some of them and a graywash on others. It was a subtle difference, but it makes the end product look a bit more random and varied, which I like.
Once our tiles were all dried and ready to go, it was time to attach them to the drawers. We didn’t want to nail them in because then we’d have a billion different nail holes to fill, so we just used some wood glue. We glued ’em on in a subway pattern and then clamped a board to the drawer while it dried to ensure they all stuck. As the tiles got wet with the glue, some of them started to bow, so clamping it down also kept that to a minimum. We let it all dry together for about 12 hours (just to be sure!) then removed the clamps, sanded down the edges, and that was all there was to it!
The last step was creating the drawer pulls – we knew we wanted ones similar to the inspiration piece, but we also knew that actually finding and buying those pulls would be challenging (not to mention expensive!) so, we decided to make our own! Corey bought a 3/4″ dowel, drilled two holes in the back, and inserted a small, 1/2″ dowel piece . We then spray painted the whole thing with some oil-rubbed bronze spray paint, and screwed ’em in!
Once we put it all together, it looked a little something like this:
This whole project cost us under $200 (including the dresser itself!), which is just a fraction of the cost of the original dresser, and we were able to put our own spin on it to make it even better for us.
So, my friends, next time you’re in your favorite store and you see something that you need in your home but you gawk at the price, remember that it can be incredibly simple (and way cheaper!) to make your own version!
Edit: I just got word that our tutorial post goes up tomorrow instead of today. Sorry about the confusion – and the lack of a post. Please check back with East Coast Creative tomorrow to see the whole thing!
Well, if you’re following the contest then you know by now that not only did we make it to the next round of Creating With the Stars, we WON!
You guys rock. I’m just assuming you all voted for us, because you have good taste.
Since we won first place this week, our project is going to be featured on East Coast Creative tomorrow, and that’s where you can find the tutorial, if you want to read the full post. I’ll be posting it here on the blog once the contest is over, but for now that’s where you can find it.
I hope you decide to pop over and check out our post – and I can’t wait for you to see next week’s project! I’m finished with it and just need to take photos…I’m crossing my fingers that it’s another winner!
Thanks again for voting and being patient with me as I do this contest and things look a little different here on the blog. Y’all are the best!
What was your favorite project this week? I thought the knockoff Anthro lamp was INSANE!
I have always loved the idea of a bar cart – they’re gorgeous, functional, and who wouldn’t feel fancy making themselves a drink from a piece of furniture made specifically for holding all your alcohol?
They’re such a fun concept – totally unnecessary, yet somehow I feel like I must have one.
I can’t justify spending hundreds of dollars on a piece of furniture that’s meant to do nothing but display my liquor…but I can justify spending a few bucks to make my own!
Well, it’s done now! We finally got our butts in gear and got it put together and painted, and I’m so excited to share.
I won’t get into the details of exactly how it’s done, because the full instructions are in Ana White’s book and she does a much better job of explaining it than I ever could. I didn’t have much to do with putting this all together – I let Corey take the lead here, and he did a fabulous job, as usual.
We were a little concerned when we were starting out and built the first side and realized it was shorter than we had anticipated.
We got very nervous, but we decided to bring it in and see how it measured up against the little table we already have in there…
A little shorter, and definitely not as tall as we’d like, but it works! We typically don’t like to do “just for now” solutions, but we know that this will be exactly that – we love the console but it’s just in here until we find our dream antique piece, then it’ll go live somewhere else in the house. So, it’s definitely not the end of the world for it to be a bit smaller than we eventually want. Anything is better than that tiny little white table!
Once we knew we were on the right track, it was back out to the shop to finish putting it all together!
After we had it all put together, it was time for me to step in and finish it off. We debated doing a fun color, but decided against it – this will sit right next to our (very) colorful curtains and we really just wanted something that would blend in nicely and not stand out too much. So, we decided to go with white on the bottom and a stained wood top. Simple, pretty, and versatile enough that it’ll be a no-brainer to move it to another room once we find a better fit for the space.
And once it was painted? Time to bring it in! It’s still not completely finished in these photos because we haven’t bought drawer pulls or baskets for the bottom shelf yet, but you’ll get an update as soon as that’s all finished!
These photos turned out pretty dark for some reason (maybe because I was in a hurry to snap photos and get our Christmas village set up!) – but you’ll get a lot more (and better) photos when I share the village soon, promise!
It’s still definitely not the perfect piece for this space, but it is so (SO SO) much better than what we had there before. And it’s such a good feeling to look over at this little guy and know we built it with our own hands. We’re so proud of it, and it’s oh so exciting to finally have a larger console over here. We’re pretty pleased with how it turned out – and are even more excited about it now that we’ve got it all set up for Christmas with our Christmas village, which I can’t wait to share soon!
Now we just have to track down some drawer pulls (we already found some baskets) that can take it up one more notch. Wish us luck!
Have you ever built a piece of furniture for your house? How about getting a piece of just-for-now furniture until you can find something better? It’s not ideal, but sometimes it works!
I mentioned a few weeks ago that Corey and I got a copy of Ana White’s new book and that we had half a million things that we wanted to make out of it (that may be a slight exaggeration, but you get my point). Well, we recently decided to stop dreaming and start doing and that it was high time we pick up some wood and get to building.
What did we decide to start with?
This beautiful (gorgeous, amazing) console:
You see, we’ve been looking for a console for our front entry way for what feels like forever. We found one that ended up being way too large, and haven’t been successful in finding anything else because we’re too picky and too cheap. We still want something antique for the entry way in the long run, but we finally have come to terms with the fact that it just might not be in the cards for us right now. The type of console we really want typically runs around $400 on Craigslist, and usually the only one we can find are painted or refinished in a “shabby chic” style, and that’s so far from what we want. We have a very specific idea in mind (and don’t really want to spend $400 on it), so it’s just going to have to wait for a while.
HOWEVER, we really want a console for that area right now. The too-small table that currently sits there is driving us crazy, and we don’t want to feel rushed to find something and end up settling on one that we don’t love. So when we saw this guy in Ana White’s book, we knew it was a perfect solution. All of the wood ran us less than $100, and it’s a super-versatile piece, so when we do eventually find a beautiful antique console to go in the entry way it will be a no-brainer to find somewhere else in the house for this one.
We bought the wood for this project a couple of weekends ago, and then when we went outside to get to work on it, we realized we had a problem…
I hesitated to even show you these photos because, um, EMBARRASSING, but I like to keep it real around here. Somehow or another we had let the whole workshop fall into complete and utter chaos, and there was no way we were getting any work done in here until we cleaned up. So we spend a couple hours one Saturday evening cleaning, and we got it to a much-cleaner-but-still-not-perfect state.
At least it’s clean enough to actually work in now! So, now that we had a clean workshop, it was time to deal with all of this wood that was staring at us:
So, we got to cutting! Corey did the vast majority of the cuts, but he did let me do one of them just so I could try it out…
Can you see the terror on my face? I’m not so sure about this whole power tool thing.
Corey, on the other hand, looked like a pro doing his cuts.
Annnd that’s about as far as we’ve made it so far. Womp, womp.
Corey has actually drilled all of the pocket holes and we’re at a point where we are ready for construction, we just haven’t gotten around to it yet. So, while this may go down in history as the most uneventful blog post of all time, I promise it will have awesome results in the end. Sometimes things just don’t end up happening on the timeline that I’d like for them to!
Anyone else in the middle of some exciting projects? How about trying out your hand at building something for the first time?