The Playhouse

One of the homes we lived in when I was a kid had an awesome tree house in the yard. I played there with my brothers and sisters and friends for hours and hours every day. I have some seriously fond memories of that tree house and I've always dreamed of giving my girls a similar place to create memories. One of the reasons we moved to Brooklyn was because the girls could finally have some easily-accessible outdoor space (it's tough to get to the park every day!). And now that we're here, I want to enjoy this yard as much as possible. For us, it was so worth the investment to buy and built our new play house.

 

Remember what it looked like before? Cute, but meh. I thought it had potential though... 

 
We bought the playhouse on sale for $450 plus shipping. I know - not so cheap. I did so much looking around on this one though - I looked at all sorts of playhouses, even sheds suitable for using as a playhouse. And I priced out the materials for just building our own. For us, it was going to cost almost $500 in materials and transportation costs and I'm sure the end result would have been questionable! I don't really trust my carpentry skills.


The house comes (very) disassembled and in a giant, heavy box. If putting together IKEA products makes your head spin, you might want to hire this out to a handyman! Luckily, Michael came to my rescue and put the house together on the lower deck with my very helpful brother in law, Matt. I forgot to paint the shingles and door before Michael and Matt put the house together, which was a bit of a pain, but not that big of a deal to paint with a roller after the fact. (I used Rustoleum's black enamel in flat finish for the roof and shutters.)


The girls helped me paint the door (it's not a perfect paint job, but I wouldn't have it any other way). We used the mint paint from this post. Isn't that dutch door the cutest?


One sort of tricky thing about this playhouse is it doesn't come with a floor, so we bought some plywood to finish off the bottom. To prevent sinking or water damage, I dug the ground out a little and laid out nine cinder blocks and sort of half-buried them. It was really important to get all the cinder blocks level.

 

Then I filled in the gaps with mulch which is supposed to help with bugs, weeds, and moisture issues.


I put down the plywood, cut to fit the bottom of the playhouse, and painted it with a gray primer. I'm planning to do something else on the floor later, but I wanted to get the primer down before putting the house up.



Once the paint had fully dried, we hefted the (VERY HEAVY) finished house on top of the platform. There is a lip on the inside of the house, so we just ran some screws down into the plywood base and everything feels super secure.


Some fun things I like about this playhouse: the funny little weathervane, the working shutters, the doorbell, the flower boxes under the windows, and the fact that I can just *barely* stand up inside the house. I feel like it's the perfect size.




We moved our trusty play kitchen inside and it fits perfectly. I was happy to free up the floor space in the girls bedroom, too, so win-win.


I got sick before I had much of a chance to really do anything with the inside of the playhouse, so it's pretty bare bones for now. I always want it to be on the unfussy side though, so the kids can really play without worrying.



So while not being my least expensive project that I've shared on LGN, I feel like we're going to get a lot of really great use here. Zero buyer's regret.


Some of you asked if my yard's all done now. Not even close! But it might just be good for this year. I feel like I can pick things up again next spring (though the upper deck will hopefully get done this fall). We've come a long way baby.

58 comments:

nicolette {momnivores dilemma} said...

Incredible.

Putting in that faux sub floor was a smart move.

Hope you are feeling better.
Nicolette

Barbie said...

What a fun reveal! Your girls must be squealing with delight to have such a fun little retreat. SO sweet. Love the flowers and decorative cabbages too. Bravo!

Marvel's Mom said...

I wish I have one !! It's so pretty, and I think my son would love to play it too :)

Laurie said...

Dreams and memories are worth the price. It is darling!

Emily said...

What an adorable playhouse! Looks great so far!

pve design said...

Oh Jenny, what, no nail heads, no roman shades or sisal? Ha...I love it. I love your little dreamy playhouse with the green door. I need a play date there. I would love to give your girls art lessons.
Hope you are feeling better, I have been praying for you and a speedy recovery.
pve

Miggy said...

Yeah I LOVE this. Such a cute house and your sprucing...well just took it to a whole new level natch. Lucky little girlies.

Jennifer said...

The playhouse looks beautiful! My sister and I had something similar growing up and spent many hours there. Your girls will love it!

Anonymous said...

I've been considering a project like this, but I'm worried that my kids have already become too big for it. Is this playhouse big enough inside for a few middle school kids? Or is this primarily for elementary school kids? Just thought I'd ask.

AND I hope you are feeling better. I love your work. :)

Angeline said...

Lookin' Good! I love how you personalized the house: the pretty paint (I want my house to be those colors, now:),the little elephant table, the mums, purple cabbages (is that what they are?- love them) on the outside...reminds me of Sesame Street - in a warm, whimsical, inviting way! Your girls are going to have a great time there!

The Lunds said...

Thanks for sharing - I've been waiting with bated breath for this one. Looks just perfect for your girls! Glad you are feeling better.

Ashley said...

Oh, it's precious. And it's made even more wonderful after personalizing the colors. I'm sure your little girls will love it for years to come!

Pam @ bibbidi-bobbidi-beautiful said...

Oh, so darn cute! You are the best mom ever!

mtadams1208 said...

Knowing how much I would've loved that playhouse when i was little and how much use it would've gotten, when you said $450 I thought it sounded like a bargain. It takes no time at all to accumulate $450 worth of toys that barely get touched, so I think this is more than worth it! Great job!

Jen @ RamblingRenovators said...

That is the most adorable playhouse and I'm sure your girls will fill it up with happy memories! I love that the shutters work (and they are the right scale too!).

Dominique DeLaney said...

Oh em gee...it is presh!! I love all the flowers you planted around the house! I am sure your girls just died over it!!

Pen @ New York Nonsense said...

This is TOO precious. If I was a kid I would want to live in there.

Chelsea said...

I'm serious- there is no other design blogger like you. It's genius, all of it. Now... I really want a playhouse! But- are you up for playhouse decorating hire?

Veronica said...

OMG! So adorable - How much does your landlord love you?! The garden is totally transformed and beautiful.

I hope you are feeling better and over your health scare - love what you did for your kiddos - Magical!

junebug said...

You. Are an awesome mom. That little house is so perfect and magical. It's a childhood-maker.

I am so glad you are feeling better. What a scare! Hope you are 100% soon. xoxox

kylie said...

darling! and I love that elephant table inside!

Tiffany Leigh Interior Design said...

SOO cute. The girls will make so many great memories here. Some of my fondest are in my tree house as well!

Lisa Lilienthal said...

Jenny I can't imagine regretting one cent of that purchase! Mine are now 11 and 13 and without blinking we can drop that much on electronics -- this is so much more grounding and play-inspiring than any investment I can think of. Bravo!

Angry Asian said...

i love this play house, of course, but i'm most interested in where you got the elephant table.

jenni said...

I love this! I am 5'9" so I doubt I will ever find a kids' playhouse that I could stand up in. But our new house has an adorable yard that's just a smudge too small for a swingset so this would be an awesome option for an outdoor play area!

Vicky said...

The playhouse looks so great! We had a treehouse at my grandma's house when I was younger and we had a blast in it! I just love the little elephant table you put inside!

Stacey Merrill said...

too cute - well done!

Lisette said...

What a delightful little house for your girls to play in.

Julia {Pawleys Island Posh} said...

this is so adorable! Love it all!

Anonymous said...

I've contemplated a playhouse for my girls but I worry about upkeep - is there a trick to keeping out the bees and hornets or spiders? Do things inside stay mostly dry? OR does it eventually become a big dirty mess?

Kara Shell said...

I love your posts! You are so talented!

Lyndsey said...

I bought this playhouse of craigslist with the intention of putting our play kitchen out there. But what I realized it that it is not water proof at all. Do you have this problem? Did you find a solution to fix it?

Jenny at LGN said...

Thanks for the kind words, friends! We're really happy with the playhouse, even though we've only had it for a couple weeks.

As far as I can tell, you can totally paint this playhouse. The oil-based enamel seems to be working well on the cedar?

The playhouse has remained dry and leak-free through several rainy days. I was planning to go back and caulk all the seams though just as a precautionary measure. I think that will help your leak situation out.

We keep a bug zapper high up near the playhouse. It has made *such* a difference in our mosquito/fly situation. I've mentioned before that we have bumblebees, but they are really cute and docile (unless you are digging in their ground hive! yikes!). If we have more insect issues in the house, we might have an exterminator come out and spray or put in the ground stake thingies.

The elephant stool was a vintage find at the Chelsea flea. $5!

I'm 5'7" and can just barely stand up (if I'm slouching a bit) while walking in the middle line of the house. My oldest daughter, Grace, is 7 and I feel like she'll be able to play for at least three or four years more in there comfortably. She has to duck a little now to walk inside the front door, but it's no biggie. As far as middle-school age kids, it's probably too small for them. I think the suggested age usage is 3-10 years?

Also, thank you for all the well-wishes and follow up questions about my health. I'm thinking about posting a follow up with some more details, but honestly, I'm just wanting to move past this whole ordeal! I'm a little embarrassed about the whole thing (Ugh! why do I always put off doctor's check ups?!), and the odds are none of you will have to deal with this, as long as you are current on your TDap. I am starting to move a little better though. I wish my energy levels were higher, but that will come back I'm sure. Things are looking up and I know it's going to be great really soon.

Hugs and kisses to you all,

xoxo

Katie said...

Simply adorable and it will be a source of many happy memories for your girls. Love the elephant foot stool! The whole set up looks like it is worth every penny.

Erin said...

Love this and what special memories to be made in there?! Great job!

john in nc said...

fall is the best time to buy perinnials

on sale !

whitney @ thecurtiscasa said...

Seriously.. this the CUTEST playhouse I've ever seen!!!! I love the way you updated and personalized it for your girlies :)

Sarah Barksdale Designa said...

I LOVE it!! You did a great job building it and making it look really pretty and special. I would want to play in that house if I was one of your girls for sure!

Karen K. said...

So adorable! I wish my mom had been as awesome as you are! I grew up playing with empty shoeboxes and xerox paper... and it wasn't because we didn't have any money.

Erika said...

I want one so I can play house outside of my big house. :) Too cute.

smidge girl said...

Oh, WOW. You are the best mom ever! If I'd had a house like this when I was little, I would have spent ever second in it. Your girls are going to have so many amazing memories!

The upgrades you made are completely adorable. While I can't imagine shipping was cheap, $450 is a steal for such an amazing little house. Bravo!

lonleybkaer said...

"Zero buyer's regret." I'd say that sentence encompasses why $450 is a freakin' bargain! Just amortize the cost over the hours your girls will spend in there ans it'll be one of your cheapest purchases. Good job!

Ann said...

Absolutely precious, I love what you've done with the place :)

Martha said...

JUST ADORABLE!

Avad Fan said...

You really have come a long way, Jennie, and in such a short time really. So glad to hear that you are on the mend. Looking forward to seeing more improvements like your backyard, which looks so inviting now and perfect for your girls.

Vera said...

I think that the playhouse is an investment that you will never regret. The memories that will be made! I always wanted one as a kid, and we had so much space too, but it just didn't happen. My bestfriend had one though, and that almost made up for it. haha.

Elfya said...

This is so adorable! I have the same kind of memories! My friend had one of those and we always used to redesign it and make it our own home! Great investment for tons of lovely memories! Oh the joy! This post makes me smile :-)

Matters of Style said...

Love love love!

riverdaughter said...

Cute. But can three little girls sit in a circle on the floor and play Sorry!? It looks like the kitchen is taking up quite a bit of footprint. How does it look against the side wall?

Emily said...

Oh What a darling playhouse! And I love how you changed it! Are you nervous at all about it getting ruined in the winter? I wanted to get that same house but with Utah winters I think it will be ruined quick! I wish there was a way to winterize it! Any thoughts?! Love your blog!!

Anna Culp said...

So lovely! I had a wooden playhouse in my yard as a kid. It often had spiders on the inside roof and in the corners. Any tips on keeping spiders out?

Carrot said...

I'm so jealous of your kids!! What an adorable little place to play. Perfect color choices, oh and the little cabbages! Can't believe I'm swooning over cabbages but I am!

Designology Interiors said...

Adorable. My daughter would love this. I love the custom color scheme.

Anonymous said...

This playhouse and the garden itself are wonderful... well worth all the work, pain, and suffering (mostly on your part). Your girls will have so much fun and remember it all their lives,

Nicole said...

look at your violets - gorgeous and blooming! mine didn't even bloom this year!!

housegirlhaley said...

I absolutely LOVE this playhouse. I'm kind of obsessed with tree/play houses. I had a really awesome one in the backyard of the house I grew up in. It was made with leftover building material from the house so it was legit. It had a real roof. It was raised and had stairs. And a little dutch door. If only it had had shutters. I would have lived for real working shutters!
I just love the flowers and landscaping you added. It makes it look like a real house!

Anonymous said...

Can you share with us where you bought the playhouse? I've searched on Google and the best price I can find is $730 (incl. shipping).

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