Friday, September 11, 2009

A little boy's playhouse revealed

Mothers of little boys take note:  you don't have to have a daughter to design an adorable backyard playhouse!

As I mentioned in a previous post, my husband and I had always talked about building a playhouse when we started a family.  Initially when we'd sit and talk about what the design would be for the house, we envisioned it for a little girl.  So when we had our son, we had to rethink how to design it to suit a growing little boy turning 3 this month (it's part of his birthday present).

I think we did a pretty good job if I do say so myself!  We made it a little more gender-neutral with the color scheme and the the overall décor (although I admit that the flowers give it a feminine touch, but hey...a mom's gotta have some fun, right?!) 

Let me preface this by saying that my husband is not a professional contractor or carpenter, and we're far from wealthy!  We built this ourselves using free scrap wood, discount materials from surplus home builder centers, lots of careful planning and shopping on ebay, craigslist, etc...and lots of ingenuity, creativity, thought, and love!  That's not to say that it was cheap to build, but that we took great pains to keep costs down and stay within our budget.

For inquiring minds, we built this for around the same cost as one of those fancy, schmancy wooden backyard playsets/swingsets that you see everywhere! At least with the playhouse, he can play in it all year long - including rainy & snowy days! (which we get a lot of in PA!)

It took my husband four months to build it!  That's working on it nearly every evening/weekend for four grueling months!  Nearly every part of this was custom-made by my husband or myself.  He's extremely gifted when it comes to anything mechanically-inclined and very creative. 

I've been adding little touches and taking photos for weeks, but I'd say that for the most part, it's as done as it's going to be.  I'm so happy with how it turned out!  And I'm so very PROUD of my husband for building this - without any plans

So I hope you sit back and enjoy the grand tour :)

His front porch decked out for fall with our garden-grown pumpkins!  We couldn't find a front door of the right proportion, so my husband made this one.

His front door features a climbing frog door knocker. 
I had the lanterns from eons ago; I freshened them up with a coat of hammered metallic spray paint and purchased wall hangers from Ikea to hang them from.  I just LOVE the Stop sign doormat! 

Below: waving from his front porch!

 The key to get in has a mini popcorn popper toy on the keychain:

Of course any true house has to have an address marker, right?  So I had one made just for his...

And now on to the interior! This is the palladium window.  I'm thinking of adding a valance at some point, but I haven't found anything that I like.

Here's the ladder that my husband built to reach the loft to the outside deck.

And here's the view from up on the loft.  He loves to peek out the dormer window that my husband made.

Below: I just love the cheery, banana-sundae-colored walls against the rich cherry wood flooring.

The Calvin and Hobbes mural was hand-painted by moi!  I'm a huge fan of the comic strip! Precocious Calvin reminds so much of my son with his wild antics and vivid imagination...perfect for a boy's playhouse! 

Below: an old pine shelf on the wall was given an updated look with some coordinating red paint and wainscotting. The handmade wooden train on the shelf was bought at a craft festival.

 We hung some airplanes from the ceiling to look as though they're soaring overhead...

Including this model biplane that my husband put together just for the playhouse...

I made a little directional sign for his front landscaping highlighting a few of the playhouse amenities :)

Here's a side view on the front porch that showcases the window boxes and lanterns (the lanterns have flameless tea lights in them and look darling at dusk).

Here's the garage husband was insistent on his son having his very own garage!

At my suggestion, my husband made these wrench handles for the garage doors.
I think they turned out great!

We hope to eventually cover the interior doors with license plates!

What's a garage without a little workbench?  My husband put this one together with scrap wood and an inexpensive peg board where I could hang our son's play tools.

Our son made the little wooden tool caddy at a Home Depot workshop for kids!  That's where he got the apron, too!

I did race track wall decals on one wall...

And my husband went to town on the others covering them in car emblems, road signs and garage know, guy stuff :)

Below is a view of the back of the house so you can see the palladium window and the deck and patio.  Next year we plan to add a slide to the back of the deck so he can slide down to the yard.

Here's a side view of the house.  The loft door handle is a brass lizard in keeping with boys' fascination with creepy crawlies...and the deck holds one of his little adirondack chairs.  The patio holds his basketball hoop, his sandbox and another chair for lounging and enjoying a popsicle.

Below: an adirondack chair on the patio that my husband built.

I did all of the landscaping around the front and made a rustic, little flagstone pathway to the front door.

His little flag out front...

I made him a little custom Westie doggie mailbox.

Some of the other landscape details include:
A biplane wind spinner...

A cute turtle garden sculpture...

And a cute wagon planter!

Later we added a copper biplane weathervane atop his garage...

Below: sweeping his front porch with his Amish-made broom.

Hope you enjoyed the tour!


  1. Oh my gosh I am breathless at how gorgeous it is. Makes me want to get the one we have outback all done for Abby before winter but that won't happen. Next year we will do the drywall and put in new windows for her and fix it all up for our princess.

    You guys did an awesome job on it and what kid will not love it for playing and just hiding out.

    My goodness how he has grown and what a wonderful young man he looks like. You both are so lucky.

    I can't wait to show this to my hubby so he can see how yours turned out. I am loving it so very much.

  2. Judy~
    As always...BEAUTIFUL!! You and your hubby did a WONDERFUL job...and I KNOW Andrew LOVES it! :-)

    Great job.

  3. Hi Judy, Remember me from GF? I just found your blog and love it. I can't believe how big and handsome Andrew is. That house you guys made is to die for; unbelievable!!

  4. This is a totally awesome playhouse! Your hubby did an amazing job! Andrew is a very lucky little man.

    Carol ~ in Oklahoma

  5. How incredibly precious! You and your husband did a wonderful job :) I know your son will enjoy it for years to come.

  6. I expected nothing less than fantastic and was not disappointed! I knew it would be amazing!! How fun for Andrew!!! There are so many sweet little touches that make it absolutely perfect.

  7. Wow! That is an amazing playhouse for your little cutie. I am sure he will have many hours of fun in there. Great job.


  8. Great creativity...LOVE IT! I love the fact you added the kitchen to the playhouse. What an awesome place for him and his friends to use their imagination. Pure Genius!

  9. What an incredibly lucky little boy!

  10. Absolutely gorgeous! And such great little touches!

  11. So cute! My husband was looking with me. He wants one too. ;)


  12. I just found your blog and I am totally WOWed at your son's playhouse! You both did a fantastic job on it. I love the photo tour!

  13. Hi Judy, it's Judi:)
    Playhouse??? Are you kidding, I want to move in!! It's awesome. I know he must love it!

    Just dropping by from SITS

  14. Wow, what a LUCKY LITTLE DUDE to have awesome and creative parents like you two! WAY TO GO!

  15. This is incredible! I am IN AWE. This is nicer than my HOUSE, lol. This needs to be in a magazine. You should submit it. Wow! :D

  16. Judy

    It makes me smile to see this blog of yours.
    You are so smart and crafty. Your son is
    adorable and one can tell there is much
    love at your house and the playhouse.


  17. Holly Molly! I could restle your son, if I win I move in right away §;-)

    Anyway, we're almost the same size although am although am adult *LOL

    Lucky tod, huh?

    A big hugs to the parents who gave him his world come true. Job well done.

    Have a blessed week-end-

    greetings from Stockholm

  18. This is the cutest thing I've seen today! I bought plans, I think from BHG, that are just like your house,minus the garage. Our granddaughter is 21 months so we have awhile to save for the constuction. Seeing yours has made me excited to get busy on it though. where did you get the windows?Brand?
    Thanks for sharing this gem.

  19. Wow! What a lucky little boy he is! I love this.

    We're big Calvin & Hobbes fans around here, too. My 14-year old son has all of the books and has read them so many times that the covers are practically falling off.

  20. Wow! This is beyond impressive...and I was feeling pround of my bookshelf into a puppet theater project. We love Calvin and Hobbes around here husband has all the books and our 4 year old daughter loves them. She would love it if we painted her wall. She was Hobbes and our son was Calvin last year for Halloween and she still wears her costume to bed almost every night. Thanks for the inspiration. Polly @

  21. This is so awesome. You both did an amazing job!!!

    I love your blog :O)

  22. Thank you all for the kind comments! I'm so glad you all liked it!

  23. Wow, wow and wow is all I can say! What a labor of love, and it is so perfectly done. What a lucky child, and such awesome parents.

  24. This is the greatest and most original little playhouse ever! What a lovely idea to built a garage!

  25. holy freakin' cow! You know when I was a kid I would go out to my grandparents tool shed and pretend it was a playhouse. Yep, that was all mine complete with spiders and dust and rusty things....
    It's like you built the Rolls Royce of playhouses here! Well done! Its amazing! and it lights up at night and everything?? Gee...I want one...

  26. All I can say is WOW!!! The playhouse is amazing. What a lucky little boy! You guys did a wonderful job. It is simply adorable.

    Rachel@ Simply Rachel

  27. that is adorable and you have it landscaped so beautifully.

  28. Great Job! It's so refreshing seeing a playhouse designed for a boy. Love the details.

  29. Yes! I enjoyed my tour! This is so cool! When we were looking at playhouses, I looked online everywhere for inspiration and this is the best! Great Job! Wish we were closer so we could come and play, I have a little girl but she would love this. I just found your blog so Im all over the place. I just started a blog last week. Come on over.

  30. Oh, Wow! Can't believe all of the talent & work that went into this incredible playhouse!!! Everything is amazing! What a perfect play spot for any child....can I admit that I'd like one for ME? :)

  31. I've been looking for playhouse inspiration and I think I hit the jackpot here!

    I loved this so much I blogged about it and linked back to your blog and posts about it. Let me know if you want me to remove the images on my blog.

    I'm off to check out the rest of your blog - I bet it's amazing! xxMelissa

  32. I am absolutely blown away by this! What a fabulous project!

  33. what a truly amazing project! found you through ohdeedoh...we just moved out of the city to an inherited 100yo family home. i am working so hard to repurpose and recycle all the things that were left there including an old/ shed garage. my boys would love to have their own place to i am so inspired to try something like you did. thanks so much for sharing!!!

  34. I am absolutely awe-struck!! Came over here via undomestic mumma's blog and I am gasping in amazement. You and your husband have done such an amazing job on your son's playhouse - he is one lucky little boy. I love all the little details you paid attention to like the spanner handles, the STOP doormat, the house number, the gorgeous mural and the cute bunting. Wow!!!

  35. Wow, that is amazing! Your little boy must love playing in there. I love the Westie mailbox too :)

  36. AMAZING!! We are getting a house built right now and I think I'd rather live here ;) My four year old son was watching this with me and really wants us to "buy" this house. Let me know when it is for sale :) It is so darling! I'm drooling!

  37. Oh my, that is totally AMAZING! What a blessed little boy to have you make that for him! WOW is all I can say!

  38. I want to live there... :) How cute! I'm so glad you left your link on my Mom-Monday post so you could share this! Tell your husband great job, and great job to you too. This is one special playhouse! :)

  39. I am in total awe. WOW. As a mom of two boys (and two girls ! :) I sooo wish we had one of these- they'd be in heaven. GREAT job to your hubby and you for the incredible ideas. What a blessing to your son, for sure.

  40. Too stinking cute! I love all of the details. The pictures are lovely.

  41. This playhouse turned out better than I ever could have imagined! I love it!

  42. This was fantastic. Can you say the ultimate playhouse?? Great work!

  43. Okay that "playhouse" was nicer than my first apartment!!

  44. This is simply amazing. The detail that you have put into this little house is incredible. I love every square inch. Thanks so much for sharing - You have done a wonderful job, I bet your little guy is in heaven.

    Oh and the garage is tdf! The icing on the cake!

  45. Wow, this is amazing. I don't even know how I found you. I built a playhouse, someone commented on it and invited me to visit their site to see the one they built and then in the comments I saw you invite them to go see yours(Long expl). Anyway...this is unbelievable, amazing, astonishing. My daughter wants a playset, I might have to show her this and see what she thinks. Awesome!

  46. Oh dear lord, I just died and went to heaven! Your little boys are the luckiest fella on the planet. x

  47. Hi Judy

    Amazing playhouse, excellent job on the project it looks awesome. I was searching the net for some inspiration to build my daughter a playhouse, which is where I found your sons. I like it so much I am going to model mine off yours. I am writing you to ask a favour. I was woundering if it is possible to get some basic dimention of your playhouse? I intend to put a slide where the deck is, not build a garage and have the basic design the same except with a, I suspect, smaller footprint. What I would like to know is:
    1. What is the dimension of the main building (footprint)?
    2. How big is the verandah?
    3. What is the wall height?
    4. What is the pitch of the roof?
    I hope this is not to much to ask, but I am not familiar with US construction techniques as I live in Australia? Once I have that information I will be able to start the build and hopefuly have a basic, functioning shell ready for christmas.

    Victor Seg

  48. Wow. This is just downright magical! I'm bowled over by the little garage!! I have three boys, and they would BEG to LIVE in their playhouse if they had one as awesome as this : )

  49. Love, love, love the playhouse!!! It is absolutely adorable. It reminds me of one I've admired for years from Posh Tots.

  50. Just found wow. wow.

  51. Would you sell the plan for this... It is amazing!

  52. great job! loved the playhouse, i'm sure your son does too.

  53. Good work! I really like the design and style... I love all what you`ve done it so Amazing... =)

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  54. The blog and data is excellent and informative as well.
    Playhouses for kids


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