For her second birthday, we gave Miss M her own kitchen and café, based on an IKEA Duktig kitchen and café hack. Initially, she loved just playing with the kitchen: making coffee with her coffee machine, baking biscuits out of playdough and cleaning. Yes, Miss M loves cleaning – strange child! After our visit to Brussels, we revealed the café to her.
Now she loves being the café owner, cook and waitress all in one. She gets a little bossy when taking orders, and often doesn’t have everything on the menu, but she enjoys the ritual. She also makes us knock before entering and we have to compliment her coffee – if there is any available on the day.
After sharing a picture of Miss M’s hacked Duktig kitchen and café as part of ou
Let me preface this by saying that there is nothing really revolutionary about Miss M’s kitchen. There are a tonne of Duktig hacks out there, and this is just one of many.
We knew when we bought it that Miss M’s kitchen was going to reside in our kitchen, at least initially. We wanted to make her kitchen resemble our real kitchen. Our colour and hardware choices were therefore dictated to a certain extent by our own kitchen.
German rentals + kitchens
In Germany, apartments for rent will normally come without a kitchen (and light fittings). The water and electrical connections will be ready, and there is often a tile backsplash, but the, cupboards, counters and appliances are missing.
When Peter moved into his apartment in Düsseldorf many years ago (before we met), he therefore had to get a kitchen. He chose pale green (almost mint) fronts with redwood counters. When we moved to Solingen just before Miss M’s birth, we had the option of taking the kitchen with us or possibly selling it to the next renter.
As there would be no kitchen in our house and our budget was tight with the move and a baby due, we decided to take the kitchen with us. My husband’s cousin helped install it in Solingen (while Miss M and I were still in hospital after her birth). We bought a new oven and stovetop and new tap fittings (faucet), changed the layout to fit the space and installed new anthracite countertops. Otherwise, the kitchen is the one that we had in Düsseldorf.
It was difficult to find green (spray) paint in the same shade as our kitchen cabinets to paint the door. What we found was much lighter, which didn’t really please me. Our next nearest option was lime green or neon green, both of which would have been too bright. Perhaps at some stage when I have the brushes out I will repaint the doors in a mint paint we already have to make it fit in a little better.
The handles are from IKEA and were picked based on what resembled our kitchen and oven handles best. I think they are:
- a Bagganäs handle for the cupboard (Note: all of the Bagganäs range come in black and brass coloured too, in case you are after a different look for your Duktig kitchen).
- Two Vinna stainless steel handles for the oven and microwave. Both sets of handles fit the pre-drilled holes, so there was no need to get out the spackle.
- Two chunkier Bagganäs knobs to use as the knobs for the temperature of the oven.
- Two smaller Bagganäs stainless steel knobs, attached one of each side to hold her apron and oven mitts.
There are a number of tutorials on the web about changing the “oven” cupboard to open like a regular oven would. In our case, time was of the essence (work had to be done on the kitchen during nap times when weather permitted, and it had to be ready by Miss M’s birthday), so we didn’t do it. In addition, my Dad has an oven that opens like a cupboard anyway, so it wasn’t that unusual for Miss M.
I painted the taps, sink footing and hooks. Unfortunately, none of the products used by others for their Duktig hacks were available in Germany, so I went with what our local hardware store suggested. Despite using primer and paint, I am not entirely happy with the result. If I was to do it again, I would probably just leave them as they were. The colour is not quite as I envisaged and we had some wind problems (bits getting blown into wet pain and stuck). As a result, they are not as smooth as I would like. Luckily, Miss M does not notice.
The counter is just covered in contact paper. I just chose the one closest to our kitchen counters.
Ideally, I would have painted the sides of the kitchen grey, to match our kitchen. However, time was of the essence…
We also attached small press on lights under the “microwave” to help Miss M see in winter and to match our own kitchen, which has under cupboard lighting over the sink. We got them from our local hardware store – they were cheaper than the ones from IKEA when we were looking.
What’s in the kitchen?
Most of the plates, etc in the kitchen are from IKEA. We have had a number of them break (they don’t bounce too well on the tiles). As they are from IKEA, they are easily replaced.
However, in order to prevent having to replace the dinnerware too regularly, we got a small rug to go under the kitchen. The first one served its purpose well, but was not quite the aesthetic I was looking for. The second one, which we use now, is a smaller version of the one we have in the rest of the kitchen. Miss M has commented more than once that it is the same. Obviously she recognised that her kitchen is a mini version of our real kitchen.
In order to keep some semblance of order, most of this stuff is tucked away in 2 boxes, which are the larger two of this set from IKEA. Unfortunately, it seems that the turquoise set is no longer available.
I picked up the super cute apron and oven mitt at one of our local supermarkets. Miss M thinks they are great for her alter-persona as café chef and even wants to use them when she is helping me bake. Ditto the wooden spoons and measuring cup.
Finally, the kitchen is where Miss M keeps her playdough. We have some store-bought playdoh, though this tends to go hard very quickly. What we use more often is playdough, made using my Mum’s recipe.
As I have said before, Mum was an educator. Her last position was as the director of a kindergarten. If you know any pre-school teachers, they will have the best recipe for playdough. Want Mum’s recipe?
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But wait, there’s more: this is a dual
–use IKEA Duktig kitchen and café hack!
Miss M’s Café
The big difference with our kitchen is that, when turned around, the kitchen doubles as a café. A lot of the Duktig hacks out there put up a piece of particle board or similar at the back of the kitchen and attach stick on tile sheets. We thought about doing this, but when we couldn’t find any stick on tile sheets to imitate our kitchen, we had a rethink:
What if we left the window open and made the back a feature?
Turns out, Miss M loves her café, so we made the right decision.
Setting the café up was also so easy! While we were painting the doors, we took the time to paint the “back” of the cupboard with black chalkboard paint.
We covered the back of the microwave/shelving area in spotted wrapping paper using decoupage glue. I have used the same paper in her room on the back of some mini shelving units. Eventually, we plan to put our IKEA Duktig kitchen and café hack in Miss M’s room, so I thought it might be good to have something to tie it in with the existing décor.
The rest was just decorating:
- a cake stand to display the cakes she has for sale
- a toy cash register (which she refers to as her computer)
- toy money
- a small pad for taking orders
- a banner, to display the name of the café; and
- a little DIY work on her menu (in the IKEA Tolsby frame; a similar frame is available here)
She loves changing the menu, so she is forever asking me to write something else on the chalkboard (we love these pencils!). Sometimes, “The café is not open yet” because she is busy cleaning.
Hack your own IKEA Duktig kitchen and café
If you are planning your own IKEA Duktig hack, have some fun with it! Kids love it when it is a mini version of your normal kitchen and it does not take much to customise it. Miss M and I would also highly recommend using the back of the kitchen as a café or shop.
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A tried and true playdough recipe that is cheap, easy, non-toxic and still pliable six months later. It’s the only one you will need.