Local craftsman Howard Chittenden built the "Kid Kitchen" while and Blue Hill resident and library patron Carole Beal provided the walnut wood from a tree that she and her late husband planted around 1976. PHOTO COURTESY OF BLUE HILL PUBLIC LIBRARY

A kitchen for kids: Local craftsman builds pretend-cooking space

BLUE HILL — Put on your favorite apron and attend a tea party starting at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 5, to celebrate the completion of the new “Kid Kitchen” at the Blue Hill Public Library. All ages are welcome.

Retired local builder Howard Chittenden, with input from three generations in his family, designed and built the play kitchen in the Larchwood Children’s Room. The pretend-stove’s burners, sink and wash basin were among the last pieces made from East Blue Hill clay at Rackliffe Pottery. The Kid Kitchen is equipped with miniature utensils and cooking implements, tiny wooden pots and pans, as well as vegetables, fried eggs and bacon — all made out of felt.

The lovely S-curved space previously was occupied by a bench. Fitting a stove, fridge, counter and cabinets into the curvilinear area required skill and talent. So, Youth Services Librarian Claire Malina and Director Rich Boulet were thrilled when Chittenden agreed to take on the project.

The walnut wood used in the miniature kitchen’s cabinets came from a tree Blue Hill resident and library patron Carole Beal planted with her late husband around 1976. Beal says the walnut shed countless walnuts, which were used in dyes and inks by weavers and local art teachers. Last year, the tree needed to come down and Chittenden acquired the wood. The builder, himself, milled the walnut as well as ash, white pine and spalted maple that also were used in the project.

In devising the kitchen’s design, Chittenden had a lot of help from his grandchildren, Celia and Clancy, and other family members. Celia and Clancy painted the window scene and decorated the cabinet knobs. Celia is currently working on some curtains for the window.

The new kitchen is already inspiring young minds. One usually very reserved young patron recently startled everyone when she yelled, “Dinner’s ready!”

The tea party is free and all ages are welcome.

For more information, email [email protected] or call 374-5515.

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