Julia’s Kitchen

I have always admired accomplished women and Julia Child certainly embodies that description. She is known and loved worldwide. Her awards include 3 Emmys, 4 James Beard Awards, a Peabody, a National Book award and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

She donated her Cambridge, MA kitchen to the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian in 2001. It’s where her TV show was frequently filmed. I was inspired to make this homage to her favorite room, which she described as “the beating heart and social center of her household”.

The cabinetry, counter, butcher block and stove were all hand built by me to emulate the look and feel of the space to the best of my ability. I determined that the counters would be 3 inches high and 2 inches deep and got out my graph paper to see how much I could realistically fit into a Deep Open Front Room Box which is 10 inches wide by 10 inches tall by 5.5 inches deep. The pieces I designed were cut from medium heavy chipboard and everything was assembled using tacky glue.

This room box has a front piece that adds an additional 2 inch facade to the top of the structure. Here I am holding it in place to decide if I want to include it, along with the roof/ceiling of the structure. I eventually decided I wanted the room open so all of the miniature details could be easily seen. The floor is a sheet of DCWV Photoreal linen paper that I thought looked like 1950’s linoleum. The countertop is a woodgrain paper. The walls were painted with acrylics, the cabinet pulls are straight pin heads. The sink was molded from polymer clay.

The kitchen window has blinds that I made by cutting a section of a manila folder the same width of a 4 Panel Rectangular Window then scoring it into pleats. You can’t really see the sunny blue sky outside with the blinds on top but that’s OK… I know it’s there.

When I made the decision to leave the ceiling off of the room, that left me with these upper tabs to cover. My solution was to paper the exterior all the way to the top of the tabs then glue 0.2 inch square bamboo craft sticks to the top of the tabs. Below those I glued lengths of 3/8 inch width x 0.078 inch craft sticks which emulates a crown molding at the top of the room.

That pegboard was quite a project, and Julia had boatloads of it in her kitchen! I cut chipboard to the dimensions I wanted then gave it a coat of acrylic paint. I taped a sheet of ¼ inch square graph paper on top of it and poked all those little holes using a pottery needle tool.

After deciding where I wanted hangers in each peg board, I expanded those holes using a tiny drill and threaded straight pins that I bent at a 90 degree angle through them. The pins were taped in place right before I glued the peg boards to the walls. That kept them from shifting around.

Now for the fun stuff – decorating the space with some of the Alpha Stamps incredibly detailed kitchen miniatures!

The cat and artichoke artwork she displayed on her cabinets were reproduced and set into two of the Mini Frames Set. The planter on top of the cabinets holding yellow flowers is one of the Set of Miscellaneous Flower Pots that I washed well and painted with a few coats of acrylic paint.

Between the window and the cabinet I hung a couple of mini cookie cutters and a Large Strainer (which I adore). Below the window hangs a collection of knives.

The magnetic knife strip is made from a wooden craft stick painted silver. The black ones are from a set of Miniature Carving Knives. The red handled one at the top is from a set of Butcher Block Tools.

The poly clay sink was completed with a Sink Spigot with Faucets. It’s perfect! To the left of the sink you’ll see a Miniature Dish Rack that holds another tool from the Butcher Block Tool set, a Silver Muffin Pan, Metal Scoop and cup from the Mini Pitcher and Measuring Cup Set. Below the dish rack are shelves that hold a Vintage Mixing Bowl nestled inside the Rustic Green and Yellow Fruit Bowl Set. Below that are a Set of Metal Mixing Bowls.

The kitchen counter holds a bar of poly clay soap sitting in one of the dishes from a White Plastic Mini Serving Dish Set, a mixer, a Retro Silver Toaster, the Mini Wooden Spoon and Wire Wisk Set, some items from the Kitchen Utensils Set and a miniature rolling pin. On top of the butcher block sits a few of the Butcher Block Tools. The peg board holds a Copper Bundt Cake Pan, the Mini Ladle Set, a Spatula and more of the Utensils Set.

Julia’s kitchen table is a rectangle of chipboard with a Set of Wooden Table Legs glued to the bottom. The yellow tablecloth is a piece of cotton that I dipped in a glue/water mixture that was draped and allowed to dry. I made the fruit basket and bananas from polymer clay.

The pegboard above the stove stores pot lids from my stash, a Meat Cleaver Charm, Mini Working Scissors and the whisk from the Mini Wooden Spoon & Wire Wisk Set.

The little shelf holds a White Canisters Set, a jar of mustard I made from a turned wood blank and the most adorable Salt and Pepper Set I’ve ever seen.

The stove holds a Copper Tea Kettle and some copper pots and pans I had in my stash. The peg boards between the stove and cabinets hold the Mini Cast Iron Frying Pan Set, some Copper Bundt Pans and more pots and pans from my stash that are similar to these copper and silver sets.

This project was truly a labor of love and a chance to stretch my artistic abilities. HERE is the supply list of the all the great kitchen miniatures that made this project possible.