Mid-Century Modern Ikea Play Kitchen Hack!

I know I’m not the only parent that obsesses over the kids items that we bring into our house. Aside from being fun and safe, I also have a strong “need” for everything to be extra cute and match my color scheme and decor as well. I’ve done some DIY projects totally from scratch to be the most adorable possible (like this toddler activity center), but I also wanted to set Lola up with a play kitchen in our den to (hopefully!) entertain her a bit while we make dinner nearby. So an IKEA play kitchen hack seemed like the perfect project to tackle! Here’s how I customized mine!

Tutorial for this Ikea kitchen hack on www.abeautifulmess.com!General Supplies:
IKEA play kitchen
peel and stick subway tile
gold spray paint and clear gloss spray
-flat white primer spray paint
-paint for kitchen (I would suggest a lacquer paint if you can!)
-painter’s tape
-piece of foam core board
-wood glue and epoxy glue
-drill and drill bits
-wooden star decal
5″ center to center brass pulls (I used 3 of these)
round gold cabinet knobs (I used 3)

Supplies for stove modification:
12″ rounded rectangle board for stove
4″ circles (2 of them that are 1/8″ thick)
gold and white vinyl
small brass knobs

Supplies for light fixture:
wooden ball (4.5″ size)
-1/2″ wooden dowel rod
4″ wooden circle (1/2″ thick)

First, I started by painting the sections of the kitchen the colors that I wanted. I found it easier to assemble the bulk of the bottom and top halves first so they would stand upright while I painted them and then did the doors and countertop piece separately. My first tip for you (that I learned from my mistake) is to try and sand the super smooth surface of the kitchen pieces first and then do at least one coat of a good primer first before painting. The bottom half that I painted with a regular semi gloss pink paint comes off a little easier than I would like compared to the harder drying white lacquer paint that I used for the top, and I think a light sanding and a primer would have helped that a lot. I figured the lacquer would be more durable, so that’s why I used it for the counter area and I think it definitely is a harder coating.

Once the main sections were painted, I spray painted the kitchen faucet and sink with the gold paint and then with the clear gloss once the gold paint was totally dry. I “mounted” the faucet on the cardboard from underneath with screws so it would stand upright while I painted it—otherwise it falls right over!

I decided to do an undermount on the sink to give it a more luxe feel, so we just centered in on the bottom side and used 4 small wood screws to screw it in place—looks so much cooler!

I wanted to add some realistic looking subway tile to the backsplash, so I used peel and stick tile to make it happen! Since the bottom and top have a backboard but the middle section doesn’t, I just cut a piece of foam core board a tiny bit larger than the opening, and tiled the board to each edge with the tile. Once the tile was on, we loosened the top section of the kitchen enough to wiggle in the board so it was flush with the back and then tightened the screws back in again and it’s wedged in there pretty well. You could always put a brace of some sort on the back if you felt your toddler would push it through, but it feels pretty solid to me so I left in in there. We also did some white acrylic caulk around the edges to hide any of the seams and that made it look a lot nicer as well. I also tiled the top section so it looks like it goes all the way up the wall, so you’ll want the 10 square pack if you want both tiled, but the 5 square pack is enough to tile just the bottom backsplash.

I wasn’t real excited about putting the original stovetop back on since it was black and kind of ugly next to all the new colors, so I decided to make my own little stovetop by gluing a thin wood board over the hole and adding two painted circles and small brass knobs to act as the stove controls. To make the burners, I cut different sized gold and white circles out of vinyl and then layered them on top of each other so it made a bullseye effect when layered.So much cuter!

Switching out the hardware was pretty easy (although you could paint the handles as well for a budget version) and I also painted a gold star wooden decal to add a bit more midcentury style to one of the cabinet doors.

You may notice that I decided to leave off the rod that came with the kitchen. The pot and pans set I got for her didn’t have holes drilled for hanging and I decided that I’d rather hang a wooden globe light there instead, so I left it off. To make the globe light, I drilled a 1/2″ hole through my 4″ wooden disc and then drilled about 2″ into the top of a wooden ball. I used a piece of a 1/2″ wooden dowel rod as the connecter (which you can cut with any kind of electric or good old-fashioned hand saw) and glued them together. Then I painted it all white, divided the ball in half with painter’s tape, and painted the top half, rod, and disc gold, and glued it under the top cabinets. For extra stability, I also drilled a screw into it from the top in the microwave area—how cute is that?!

OMG, it’s juuuuust too much in the best possible way! I love how it totally fits in with the rest of our decor and looks so luxe as well. To make it more budget-friendly, you could paint the existing handles rather than get new ones, paint subway tile grout lines instead of the peel-and-stick tile, and leave the stovetop as-is rather than make my wooden version. Lola has been obsessed with it since we showed it to her this week and she also loves the wooden shopping cart, the gold/wooden pots and pans, and the wooden fruit we got to go with the kitchen. It’s definitely projects like this that make my mom heart swell and I hope you get a chance to makeover your own kitchen too—it’s so fun!! xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Project Assistant: Collin Dupree. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
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Turning Nova’s Art Into a Photobook!

When we came home with Nova nine months ago, I set aside a drawer to keep her toddler art in. I knew it would add up fast, but nobody warned me just HOW fast. I framed the first painting she ever made. I remember how surreal it felt. Fast forward and in what felt like no time at all, the drawer was bursting … literally. I couldn’t close it. I’m so happy she’s making art almost every day, and it’s a huge priority for us to keep making more. So I realized it was time to start making photo books because I can’t keep all the art in that drawer forever. Plus, this format makes it easier to actually look at and enjoy!

If you have a child who is making more art than you can keep up with, I highly recommend making one of these books! This will be the first of a series for us. Once the drawer fills up again, I will print another book.

This post is sponsored by Canon HdAlbum Photo Books—I’ve used their software for several photobooks now and am still so excited about the quality of these books! They have several options for creating them, too. The Pro software gives you a lot of customization options, including layouts and design options, so it’s super flexible for whatever type of book you want to make.

Here’s a photo of maybe 1/3 of the art we’ve accumulated in 9 months. It’s crazy how quickly it adds up!

This book begins with Nova’s very first painting—some ornaments we painted at Christmas. I can’t believe that only nine months ago she could barely hold a marker or a paintbrush. You should see her go now!

I mixed photos of Nova’s art with photos of her making art. I plan to continue doing this.

Here’s a few of Nova’s projects from her school. I only keep the best of the best when it comes to school art since a lot of them are just coloring sheets or glue stick projects.

These photos make me so proud. I am so happy I started making these books now because I can already see how it’s something I will need to stay up with in order to keep them organized.

Nova’s first big paintings. It was a big day, about a month ago, when she suddenly developed an attention span to paint several large paintings in each sitting. I obviously have a photo on my phone of every single one!

Our painting picnics. The day I sent these images to my mom she wrote me back and said that she read that Georgia O’Keeffe’s earliest childhood memories were painting on a picnic blanket in her front yard when she was 3 years old. Made me cry!

That’s it for now! I am so excited to keep this series going! I just had the idea to make each one of the spines a different rainbow color. I think I will display them in Nova’s bedroom so it’s something she can be proud of.

And obviously I will keep them all in the 8×8 Canon books so they match!

Thanks so much for reading! If you’d like to make your own photobook, you can use the code ABM18ART and you’ll get 30% off any Canon Photo Book product between now and 10/14.

xx – Elsie

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson, Photography: Elsie Larson and Amber Ulmer. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
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Part 1: Capsule Wardrobe Planning

Today, I am starting a three-part series about capsule planning! In this first post, I’ll share our free download that you can use to plan your capsule and TONS of links to items in the different categories. In my second post, I’ll share the best tip that changed the way I shop forever. And in my third post, I’ll share my fall capsule. I am SO passionate about these posts and hope you enjoy them!

How I define a “capsule wardrobe”: I define a capsule wardrobe simply as preparing your closet for the coming season and then wearing those items for the full season.

A lot of people do it by creating a minimal wardrobe (sometimes with a set number of pieces) and making sure everything matches so you can mix and match. I find this appealing, but too limiting, so I don’t limit the number of pieces. I also don’t limit myself to strictly neutrals. I believe that to get the most out of your experience, you need to tailor your rules to your lifestyle and goals!

Why is a capsule valuable? There are many different motivations for creating a capsule! One benefit is saving money. You can do this on any budget! You can even create a capsule using only things you already own if you want. I always end up saving money by planning and sticking to a capsule, but it is not my main motivation. Another benefit is saving time. This is my key motivation. I tend to get in a bad habit of online shopping way too much. It’s a huge waste of time! So for me I love to do this because I spend a lot of time on it for a few weeks and then I don’t really have to think about clothing for a full season.

Another benefit is becoming a more conscious consumer. This is huge and I have benefitted from it immensely. I’ll share more about this in my second post.

My capsule rules. My rules are simple! Create a closet for the coming season with ONLY items that fit me that I will wear, and that make me feel happy or confident (preferably both, lol) when I am wearing them.

Sentimental items (wedding shoes, funny clothes from high school and a dress from our first date) cannot stay in the closet unless I plan to wear them this season.

Clothes that don’t fit need to be tailored, donated or sold. Clothes that have a negative memory attached to them must go. Clothes that I am only keeping because of guilt (money spent, they were a gift, didn’t wear them much) also have to go.

Like I said above, I don’t limit my capsule to a set number of items. I don’t have any purpose or desire to get rid of all my clothing except for 40 items. So if I end up with 100 items, great—I don’t care. As long as I will wear them all, they can stay.

My goals. My goals are to simplify my process of getting dressed. I used to keep SO many clothes that didn’t fit me (either too small and I was justifying them as “goal clothes” or they needed alterations that I hadn’t gotten around to). This is fine, but when your closet is FULL of clothes like this it makes getting dressed each day super annoying and discouraging. When your closet only has clothing that fits and that you like to wear, getting dressed is quicker and more fun.

My other goal is to save time. I love shopping, but shopping every night (online) is a waste of time. When I get all my shopping done for the season it is so nice to free up all that time and use it for more important goals and passion projects in my life, like working on my children’s book, sewing for fun or writing for my family blog. This free time is valuable and it feels so good to reclaim it!

Click here to download our capsule planning sheet. Use this sheet to figure out what you already have to wear this season and what you would like to purchase.

Here are some roundups of some of my favorite items in stores this season to shop, divided by category.

Tops. I always struggle to find enough tops and I tend to do the most returning in this category—maybe it is just me!  My ideal lineup of tops is a few cozy sweaters, some blouses that look put together with jeans, some blouses that layer well (since I love overalls and layering tops under dresses) and a few cute tees. Here’s a link to my new favorite sweatshirt.

Shop Here:

Bottoms. I think this category is so key for confidence! Finding jeans that fit just right, skirts that are the right cut and length, the perfect cozy overalls and a few pairs of pants that are a little more dressy is all I really need. I used to be a hoarder of jeans and felt too guilty to narrow down my collection, but it’s so great to walk into a closet where everything fits perfectly. I’ll never go back!

This denim skirt is currently on heavy rotation.

Shop Here:

Dresses and Jumpsuits. My favorite category! If I had to only wear one item forever, it would definitely either be a dress or a jumpsuit. I LOVE them. I did realize this season that I had too many that I was only wearing a handful of times. So my mission this season has been to only purchase dresses and jumpsuits that I can see myself wearing over and over again. This dress is just too perfect for words. It’s my new favorite.

Shop Here:

Outerwear. It’s not fully winter yet and it’s not going to be (at least not here in Tennessee) for a while. My fall capsule is all about light jackets. I like to have a few options for denim and a bunch of cozy sweaters to layer.

This denim jacket is a bit oversized and so cozy. I love it with skinny jeans. I have a more tailored one that I love with dresses. Options!

Shop Here:

Shoes. I have been trying to branch out and try new styles of shoes these past few seasons. I am still in the middle of slowly reworking this part of my closet. My ideal mix of shoes are a few casual flats (I’ll always love my white Converse!), a few pairs of flattering boots and heels and a couple statement pairs, because there is nothing I love more than statement shoes.

These heels are so cute and flattering that I bought them in white and then went back for the black pair.

Shop Here:

Accessories. OK, I am going to break these sliders up into bags and then other accessories.

Shop Bags:

This season, I am loving scarves and dainty gold jewelry (this is nothing new!).

Shop Other Accessories:

Here are a few of the outfits made of pieces from my fall capsule (all these items are linked above except the exact Madewell overalls, which are sold out now).

I’ll share more soon … I am still finishing my returns and finalizing the capsule. That part is a lot of work (I have returned SO MUCH stuff), but it’s totally worth it. I am really enjoying the feeling of being super picky now that it feels normal to me.

OK! I hope this post inspires some of you to create your own capsule in some form or another. Here’s a bit of reading material that I loved if you want to learn more about this subject …

The Curated Closet – This book is SO GOOD. I am currently reading it for the second time. It has a lot of homework that helped me to figure out my closet “issues.” I highly recommend it!

The other book I would recommend if you just need help cleaning out your closet is The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up. I tend to get a lot of mental blocks when cleaning out (like people on the show “Hoarders”) where I just feel like I can’t get rid of stuff, and the things I learned from this book always help me to keep making those decisions.

I’d love to chat in the comments if you have any questions or thoughts about planning an autumn capsule! xx – Elsie

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson. Photography: Amber Ulmer. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
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10 Things I Love Sunday


You guys, there are pumpkins on my porch—woah! I guess that means it really is fall, huh? We still have temperatures in the 90s here in Nashville so the fall feeling hasn’t fully kicked in, but I bet it will within the next few weeks. We did a little family photo shoot recently and the above is a little moment between my “mini worrier” and me. I started doing that worried brow look within the first few months of being born and I still do it anytime I’m lost in thought, so it’s funny to see that Lola immediately did it as well for her thinking/concerned face too. Here’s what else I am loving this week!

1. I recently started watching the first season of the show “Great News” (Tina Fey produces it), and I think it’s a lot of fun! I was sad to see that I guess it got cancelled this summer after just two seasons (I haven’t seen the second one yet).

2. Tried this line of 9-free nail polish this week (also vegan and cruelty-free) and it’s great! This color is really pretty and the bottles are gorgeous if you’re the kind of girl who likes to display her polish.

3. Eyeing this for the movie/snuggle nights about to hit us as fall progresses.

4. In an effort to make a little more breathing room in my life, I decided to take a break from my personal social media accounts this month. I have to say that so far it’s been really nice to have a few less inboxes to check or things that “need” my attention during my time with my family or in my few hours of free time. I don’t think I’ll quit forever, but it’s a good reminder to think about who-is-controlling-who in your life and create a structure so that those outlets are fun and helpful rather than draining and demanding.

5. I was totally ogling this dresser a few weeks ago—so fun!

6. Suuuper soft high-waisted jeans for fall—yes, please!

7. It’s on my list this week to find a little farm nearby that does all the pumpkin patch/hayride stuff so we can take Lola soon. I would l love to take her where they have a little petting zoo so you can meet/feed some farm animals, I’m pretty positive she would LOVE it and I get so excited just thinking about it!

8. Feelin’ fine all the time.

9. It’s September so let the season of gorgeous coats begin!

10. Maybe my next dining chairs? Love the aqua color!

Don’t forget you can keep up with our favorite items on our wish lists on Pinterest and our blog—we update them weekly, so check back for all the goodies! Hope it’s a little cooler and more fall-like wherever you are this week! xo. Laura

P.S. And because I know someone will ask, here’s the link to Lola’s romper and my dress is an old Zara dress (there’s a similar one here).

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