When I was a kid, I loved my toy kitchen set. It was three pieces -- a stove, dishwasher / sink, and fridge -- made of some kind of lightweight metal. My cousins and I played with that set until we'd mostly outgrown it and it literally fell apart. I've known since Nico was born that I wanted to get him a play kitchen of his own once he was old enough, and I knew that I preferred a wooden set over a plastic one. I wanted something nice and durable, but didn't have hundreds of dollars to spend. I asked for recommendations from friends who have purchased kitchens for their kids, and several suggested the KidKraft Vintage Kitchen.
I had a $100 voucher to use on any of the CSN Stores sites and luckily they carry the KidKraft line. I did some research on my own and found that the KidKraft products get very good reviews online and of all the one-piece kitchens I looked at, the Vintage Kitchen was the most spacious. I actually preferred the two-piece Retro Kitchen, but since it was only available in pink, I went with the red Vintage Kitchen after all. It was intended to be Nico's main gift for his first birthday in January, but we decided to give it to him a little early so that a friend's visiting toddler could play with it just after Christmas.
There weren't many negative reviews of the product online and the ones I did see mostly focused on the difficulty of assembly. The kitchen does have a lot of pieces and a lot of bits that needed to be attached to other bits by little teeny tiny screws.
It took MB about two hours on Christmas Eve to put the whole thing together, but there wasn't anything particularly difficult about it. Once it was together, I was really happy with the quality and size of the kitchen, and I actually liked it more in person than I did in the pictures online.
One of the girls I know who bought the kitchen for her son recommended getting baskets to keep food and dishes in since the cabinets are pretty big and don't have a lot of little shelves. We had a few of those small plastic crates made to hold CDs lying around, and it turns out they're the perfect size to fit in all the compartments.
Our friend's son went right to the kitchen when he arrived and started placing plastic pots and pans on the stove and stirring with little spoons. Nico is still a bit young to pretend to cook, but he loves opening and closing all the doors and taking the food and dishes out of the baskets. I know he's going to get years of play out of the kitchen, and I'm so glad we chose it.
DISCLOSURE: I received a $100 voucher in exchange for a teaser post on my main blog containing a linked keyword selected by CSN Stores. The choice of product as well as the words and opinions in this review are my own.