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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Guidecraft Hideaway Country Kitchen Review

By the time we had child number 4, we realized we had WAY too many toys, and serious purging occurred. And since we either already had it from another child or already had it from another child and got rid of it, my poor daughter seems to end up with way more practical gifts than her older siblings got at her age. So when I got the chance to review Guidecraft’s Hideaway Country Kitchen, I jumped at it. Knowing that such a cool thing was coming in the mail JUST FOR HER was sooooo much fun, it was like Christmas for both of us!

Guidecraft is a family owned business started in 1964.  Their mission statement is to "stay true to the tradition of smart, beautifully crafted wood products, which allow children's minds and imaginations room to truly wonder and grow. "  This commitment to quality products for children is evident in the Hideaway Country Kitchen with with features like a clock, sink, oven, stove top, dishwasher, turn-able knobs, and so much more.


The pros: This kitchen is gorgeous. It’s made of wood, and is very sturdy once assembled. It has wainscoting and hooks for pot holders, and plastic knobs that make a child-thrilling “clicking” noise when you turn them. It’s big enough to be a fun, realistic kitchen without being so large that you find your house is redecorated in early-childhood play things. And what make this kitchen unique is that it actually folds so that it can be stored under a bed when not in use.

I wondered if its short height would be a problem for my tall 6 year old, but she never batted an eye, and is happy to stoop a bit if it means she gets a treasure like this all for herself.

The cons: Let me start with a minor one first. You know how I said it folds up? Well, it does, but not easily. In order to make it “safe”, the kitchen has a locking bolt that ensures it doesn’t fold up accidentally. However, that bolt has to then be removed with a tool to be able to fold it. So, if you are thinking you will just fold it up and slide it out of sight every day, that’s not really so practical. If you just want the ability to stow it when extra room is needed or once your child outgrows it (until you next child grows into it or your grandchildren come along), then it will meet your needs brilliantly. The second con is the assembly. To quote my husband, “It was not fun.”

We have put together a lot of “assemble your own furniture”, but this was the most challenging by far. The pictorial directions were NOT easy to follow, and in many cases, the screw holes (pilot holes) were not drilled through enough to line up the pieces and screw one piece to another, meaning power tools were required. (See the picture above-there should be two holes under each of those icons.)  By far the hardest part was putting the knobs on. You have to come from the backside of the wood through sometimes non-existent pilot holes and go through that piece and then into a small pilot hole in the plastic knob blindly. It was a source of great frustration!

For $200, I’d like to think it would be a little easier to put together-whether that means better instructions or more complete pilot hole drilling or preferably both.

The bottom line: This is the nicest child’s kitchen I’ve ever encountered. It’s stylish and clean, and it even has interesting “lines” for children’s furniture. This is no glorified box. Much thought was given to this design. We had a wooden kitchen a few years ago that was much cheaper and infinitely less good-looking, but it’s not around today because it did not stand the test of time. This one seems like it will be around for my grandchildren to enjoy someday. We have not needed to fold it up, but I appreciate that I have the option of doing just that if I ever need to. In an old house with not much storage, it’s nice that I’m not committed to that taking up floor space all the time if I need room for something else. And while $200 is more than we usually are able to spend on a single gift for one of our children, and given that I think the assembly guide needs some attention, I still think it is probably worth the money. In fact, the delight it has given my daughter is priceless!

To check out this Hideaway Country Kitchen or any of Guidecraft’s other offerings, go HERE. To see what the other members of the Crew lucky enough to review this product had to say, go HERE.

Legal Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received a FREE Hideaway Country Kitchen for the purpose of giving my honest review of this product.  That was the only compensation I received.
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Alice in London said...

Hi, I don't suppose you still have the kitchen and would be able to tell me the height from the hob/sink to the floor?

oneblessedmamma said...

Hi Alice. I don't have it anymore. My daughter is 9 now, and had physically outgrown it (although she would have found a way to play with it if we still had it!). It's definitely sized for the 5 and under crowd.

Alice in London said...

Thank you,