Sprucing Up a Play Kitchen…Again

A few years ago, I unearthed my old play kitchen cabinet from the basement of my parents’ house. It had some damage to the wood base, but our friend patched it up and I spray painted it for a quick update so my son could enjoy it for himself. FYI: You can read about the first time I fixed up the cabinet here and check out the one we built for LB here.

When I returned to my parents’ house this summer, the cabinet was dusty and the cheerful bright yellow was grating on my nerves. It felt so primary and basic. I wanted to repaint my old play kitchen a new color and really smooth out the split wood in the base, so I embarked upon sprucing up a play kitchen…again.

The play kitchen itself is about 80 years old and one of the Seller’s Junior Cabinets made in Hoosier, Indiana. Basically, a little Hoosier cabinet for your child to coordinate with the one you have in your real kitchen. A fun idea in a kit with stenciling on the doors. You can see examples of the cabinet with original detailing and colors here (Google images). For an exquisite natural wood version, visit the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis where this beauty is on exhibit.

Child Size Hoosier Cabinet at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis | EvinOK.com

So, pre-2013, this is what the cabinet looked like in my parents’ basement, I really love the color pink.


Then in 2013, I worked on it to brighten it up and this was the result (you can read about the process here). I did not love the colors. In hindsight, spray paint seemed better and cheaper, but was more effort, expense, and cleanup than a bucket of paint.

Play kitchen for LB at Grandma & Grandpa's house is done! #after


Now, on to my little project this summer so you can get an idea of what $9 in paint can do. Yes, you read correctly. I was debating what color to paint the cabinet, but knew it needed hard-wearing paint so I went to Home Depot and checked out their Oops paint shelf. If you do not know about the Oops paint section, it is a treasure for budget DIYers. Sure enough, someone requested the paint experts there match a Tiffany gift box or jewelry pouch to a BEHR custom paint and it missed the mark slightly so they rejected it (or so the legend goes). That custom request that wasn’t bought meant that a gallon of exterior enamel paint was mine for $9. You may read “exterior enamel” but I read “it can hold up to hurricane weather or two small boys”. I also picked up this quart of asphalt grey exterior enamel for $2 on a whim, which will end up being the shutter color for the house. If you have your eye on using Tiffany Blue in your house, use this formula from echkbet or try their stock color Sweet Rhapsody.

Paint options for sprucing up a play kitchen from the 1930s

The painting took less than a day total and I did other things between [three] coats. Before I painted, I used a pink-to-white wood putty to smooth the split wood and fill cracks for a more solid base. It went on easily and I gave it a light sanding once dry and more air drying (overnight plus the next morning) before painting.

When I put on the first coat, I had serious doubts. The color was amazing and so rich, but against the yellow it gave me a headache. I placed the play kitchen atop a dog training pad to protect the concrete porch floor.

Sellers Junior Cabinet makeover part 2 | Evinok.com

But after a complete first coat was on, I was happy. Very very happy.

Sellers Junior Cabinet makeover part 2 | Evinok.com

Sellers Junior Cabinet makeover part 2 | Evinok.com

Then the second coat made me downright gleeful.

Sellers Junior Cabinet makeover part 2 | Evinok.com

I left the back unpainted to preserve the manufacturer’s original stamp from 80 years ago.

Sellers Junior Cabinet makeover part 2 | Evinok.com

While painting, I was also stripping the hinges and cleaning the original glass knobs. This had never been done before, so it took time and was satisfying once complete.

Sellers Junior Cabinet makeover part 2 | Evinok.com

All the filling, sanding, and painting was done outside, so once dry (I gave it plenty of time), I brought it to what would be the play area in the family room.

Sellers Junior Cabinet makeover part 2 | Evinok.com

It functions as a play kitchen still, but can address a multitude of child’s play needs.

Sellers Junior Cabinet makeover part 2 | Evinok.com

Sellers Junior Cabinet makeover part 2 | Evinok.com

What do you think of this Tiffany blue play kitchen? What would be your color if you painted one?

Sellers Junior Cabinet makeover part 2 | Evinok.com

Project Summary:

Furniture: 1930s Child’s Hoosier Cabinet (came as a kit from Sellers brand)

Paint: BEHR Exterior Semi-gloss Enamel

Colour: Tiffany Blue from Oops shelf ($9 for one gallon)

Repairs: Done with pink-to-white wood putty and fine sand paper sponge

Hardware: Existing hinges, screws, and knobs were stripped/cleaned

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