Today is the final day of the #DollhouseTherapy challenge. It’s been an exciting three months and now I have a lovely new and *finished* dollhouse, my very first! The State Fair is coming up, and I’ve entered many of the miniature categories. As they have one for alternate scales (not 1:12, 1:24, or 1:48), I’m going to enter this house. Wish me luck!
So the last room to tackle was the kitchen. I’d tried last month to get it done, but last month ended up being rather crazy, so I back-burnered the kitchen till this month. Let’s begin by seeing what I started with. Seriously, yikes.
There’s that bright blue floor again, but this one has an extra challenge of having staples in it. I’m assuming they have something to do with the house leg supports directly below, but they make the floor uneven. Then we have two yellow walls and an aged red floral wallpaper in the back. Add to that my mismatched kitchen set, with multiple broken pieces (the diswasher is missing its toe kick, so that’s why it’s lower) and the fridge and dishwasher doors both have broken hinges. One of the little red chairs has a broken leg too. I have my work cut out for me!
Normally, the first thing you should get done is the walls and floors, because you can’t put your furniture in until those are set. My problem was that I had no idea what color the walls or the floor should be, so I was stuck. I figured I could work on the cabinets and maybe they would help inspire my color palette.
First I had to figure out a way of making all my cabinets look the same. My first thought was paint. Paint it all white. White cabinets are in right now. But then I figured if I did the cabinets white, there was going to be a lot of white in the room and I like the wood tones. So I decided to paint just the yellow frames of the older set to match the newer set.
Then I started fiddling around with the cabinet doors, and realized that I had almost enough of both to make my upper cabinets the light maple color and all my bottom cabinets the darker walnut. Two toned cabinets are also a thing right now too, so I was set. Until I realized that most of the doors didn’t want to come off without me breaking their poor little hinges. I felt guilty about having to do that, but you know what? It’s my kitchen, and I hate the way the doors swing to begin with. Maybe one day I’ll make better hinges for them, but for now, I simply used a strip of masking tape on the inside. It’s not the prettiest, but they still work and they stay in place.
The other thing to consider were the ugly and mismatched drawer pulls. After spending 20 minutes carefully pulling them all out, I realized I could simply turn the cabinet doors around and the hole would be gone. I’d like to get some sleek metal straight handles on them sometime, but I also like the look of no pull.
Next I had to get the back splashes to match. I loved the reflective tile of the newer kitchen, so I tried to match that, but failed. I couldn’t get super straight lines drawn like that to look like tile, and I didn’t feel like cutting tiny squares to build my own. So I cut new back splashes for all the units out of some shiny paper I had in my stash.
Next I needed new counter tops. The fact that the two sets mismatched in the area didn’t bother me because I didn’t want wooden counter tops, so both would have to be replaced. I had some black granite-look contact paper and cut a few pieces of that and put them on top of new pieces of balsa wood that I had cut to size. Continuous counter tops for the win!
It looked pretty good except for the giant gap between each piece on the back splash. While that’s more handy for playing, I want this kitchen to look built in and less like doll furniture. Here’s where I really lucked out. I had purchased some shiny tape as a back up plan for the shiny paper, and as luck would have it, they were identical in both color and shine! I simply taped the back splash pieces together and it suddenly looked seamless! Should I ever want to rearrange my kitchen (unlikely, as this is literally the only arrangement that fits everything) I can easily snip the tape and I’ll have separate units again.
With the counters and cabinets well on their way, the next thing to tackle was my awful orange appliances. I had decided that the top cabinet above the fridge would actually make a nice freezer drawer, so I turned the whole unit upside down and used the hood from the extra stove as the drawer front. I have some silver paint that looks like brushed stainless steel (the kind they put on the fridges so you don’t get fingerprints). I used it and some black paint on the fridge, dishwasher, and oven. While they dried I knew that the time had finally come to figure out the walls and floors.
After a quick phone call to my Dad to be reminded of all the flooring options available in a kitchen, I settled upon linoleum or vinyl tiles. I had another pattern of granite paper that I was originally going to use on the counters but decided it was too light. I took that paper and meticulously cut out a zillion tiny 10 mm squares. 10 mm is pretty close to being 12″ in this scale, so I’m pretty happy that I didn’t mess up my scale a second time. Then I had to glue stick down a million little squares onto a grid. I didn’t get them as straight as I would have liked, but I kinda stopped caring about that into the third hour of cutting and gluing tiny floor tiles. To add the right amount of shine and to keep my floor tiles attached permanently, I laid a piece of packing tape across the top when I was done. In addition to the shine, it also gave it a tiny bit of height, so that the tiles looked a tad raised like they do in real vinyl rolled floor. Little details like that make me happy.
With the floor color set, next were the walls. They were a much bigger challenge than the wall color in any of the other rooms, except perhaps the back living room wall. I still had no clue what color to use. I didn’t want to use any of my plain blue papers again, because there were already plenty of blue walls in my house. I hit upon the idea of a black accent wall and tried that first. It looked pretty good in the back because it only showed above the upper cabinets and it mimicked the black in the counter tops. I tried going bold with the side walls as well, and chose a deep purple for it. While it looked ok, I wasn’t in love with it, and it seemed too flat. Maybe putting a beadboard up under the window would fix it? I let it sit for a few days while I thought about it.
A few days later I somehow remembered that I had a stash of fancy art paper so I went digging around in there and found a lovely light blue paper with bits of leaves embedded in it. As there were veins of blue in my granite counters, I knew it would be perfect. I was planning on leaving the black back wall up, but decided at the last minute that everything would just look better entirely blue so I took it down too.
The paper I found was too thin, so I needed to put a piece of backing paper on it. I glued it to the matte side of some photo paper I had and used the wall templates to cut everything to size. After they were dry, I put them in place and glued the baseboards in place. I had run out of long sticks for the crown molding, but I swear I did cut pieces for them. They’ve since been lost, but I’m sure I’ll find them again in time for the Fair or I’ll make new ones.
With the baseboards in place, the cabinets no longer fit right against the wall, so I needed to make new toekicks for them. Getting everything to size with the right amount of relief under the cabinet and around the corner wasn’t fun at all, but it looks nice now. Once the cabinet units were back in place, I placed a piece of balsa on top of the cabinets to help hide the seams and also because it was the only way to attach my corner upper cabinet. I made that out of the upper cabinet I had from an extra old stove set. I took the unit down to my woodshop and with a bandsaw, cut the whole thing apart. Then I sanded the edges down and voila. I also did the same with the drawer unit, so I can use that elsewhere if I like. I realized the bedroom has no clothing storage, so maybe it will find its way up there.
The fridge was the last large piece to go in. It also wouldn’t fit against the wall with the new baseboards, so I needed to raise it up a bit. I used a few beads from one of the lamps that came with the house. Originally I glued on four, one for each corner, but the back two actually tipped it forward so much I took them back off. The dratted floor staples strike back. While it doesn’t look quite right, the fridge simply rests on the baseboard in the back and uses the beads in the front.
The last thing to do was decorate! The table was the one from the original photo, but I painted it white and black. The original red chairs got swapped out for some ADORABLE Arne Jacobsen chairs I had picked up four years ago during my travels in Europe. The ‘I <3 MINIS’ wooden block is actually a keychain I carved on my CNC router and offer for sale. The rest of the items are just more stuff from my stash.
I really like how this kitchen turned out. I’d been dreading it for so long, and now I love it! I still like the entry hall and the bedroom the most, but this kitchen I’m proud to have. And here’s the entire house! Yay!
Which room is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!