Two weeks on, and our playhouse is still bringing us barrels of joy. Kids love it, it is still clean and tidy (relatively) and friends are popping by every other day. It is a beautiful gift for my children from my dad.
Time for the “Making of”, even though there are still some unfinished corners.
Probably one of the most difficult steps in making something is the waiting. Waiting to get started, waiting to see how it’s turning out, waiting to see it completed. That time warp that is triggered by the sketched up idea and finally set free by posting photos of it on Facebook (or blog…) Questioning whether the expectations of the dream you have created in your mind will be met by the actual result or will you have a big expensive hurtful let down. This dream of a playhouse has definitely been one of the biggest DIY projects I have ever undertaken/commissioned. Every thought and minute has been invested, there was much to loose. It is somewhat easy to admit it now, hindside, seeing that it has indeed worked out.
My dad is wonderful when it comes to projects. He has experiences ranging from building huts in Siberia to welding to carpentering and everything in between. He has never let me down, if anything, he has always gone far above anything I have ever asked for.
It has happened before. Asking my dad a small question about Physics homework would always turn into an hour long lecture. Asking for a small Noah’s Ark for Grade 7 Science project, he would build me a near perfect replica of the ancient vessel… Two years ago when I asked for a little doll house for my daughter, my dad built us a meter high doll house with three floors, stairs, garage and all the other little trinkets you could wish for in a doll house. (True story, check it out here: Doll house)
It has happened before. My dad seems to enjoy taking my vision for a project and turn it into something a lot bigger and more complex than I could possibly ask for. When I asked for a playhouse, I should have known that my dad would hear his own measurements. And that’s exactly what he did. After we have discussed my idea, which was a playhouse no larger than a dog house, on our first visit to see what he has done thus far, we were faced with…
A Russian-style iron frame standing almost 3 meters above the ground.
Gasp! Who is this playhouse for? Giant children?!
On our next visit, we were greeted with a wooden box that looked a little more like a house. Still as tall as ever! The door could fit a giant – not just a giant child, I am talking about a giant adult!
To be honest, however, I was very pleased to see wood as the dominating building material. It was starting to look homely. And smell it, too. Dad insisted on taking on the cost of the built, at which point I was relived, because wood is not at all affordable in Cyprus. Especially in these quantities!
And yet, it felt like this project has swallowed the “drink-me” potion that makes it increase in size by the minute, like Alice in Wonderland.
Dad attached wooden planks to the metal bars, and to the wooden planks he attached huge sheets of plywood on the inside and planks of stalking wood on the outside. He also insulated the roof – I mean who does that for a kids’ playhouse? My dad does.
He layered in aluminium sheets into the roof to make it watertight.
One little thing that we disagreed on was the size of the door. Dad really wanted a big door! He insisted that a grown up should be able to walk in and enjoy the playhouse, too. After some convincing and demonstrating the difference between a playhouse and a shed, we agreed to make a small kid-size door. Once dad understood what I meant, he embraced the idea and even created a little canopy over the front porch.
Inside was coming along quite nicely, too. As dad built the playhouse adult height, we could now split it into two kid-size levels, and create a neat little loft. I loved that we could do that, as initially it wasn’t in my plans – I couldn’t have ever asked for this! In fact, my plans now seemed completely obsolete next to dad’s potential.
Day by day, the project was getting bigger and bigger, and my original vision – smaller and smaller, in comparison to the new. Dad welded steel banister and railing for the loft.
The time came for painting the interior, and that’s when I am at my most excited. I love the instant effect that you get from painting. I settled on off white colour for the loft to create openness and feeling of air. As both of my kiddies were going to use the playhouse, I wanted to make it suitable for both girl and boy, so making it purple seemed like a liable option. Chaz can vote for a different colour when he is old enough.
With time, my dad cut out windows on the back wall, left wall and front facade. As the house was going to stand next to a building in our garden, we decided not to make any windows on the right side. The windows on the left would have to be windows that can open, but windows on the loft level should not open to prevent kiddies from falling out. Have to consider everything!
In addition to everything else, dad has decided to build a little porch in the front, and welded together an incredibly strong structure that looks deity, yet was instrumental in making the house mobile! Dad has all the details, I wouldn’t know how to begin explaining it. It looks super special, and that matters to me.
Finally, the outside was finished, and it was time to paint the exterior walls. As usual, I went to choose my paint from the discounted section in a DIY store. The advantage of that is buying paint at half price, however there are disadvantages, too. First of all, the colour selection is limited to what has already been pre-mixed by mistake. Secondly, the amount might be limited. And finally, it is very difficult to mix the same colour if you run out. So, with that in mind, not allowing my hopes to soar, I went to the DIY store. Oh, how happy I was, when I found exactly what I wanted, as much as I wanted! I couldn’t have picked it better myself! It’s a perfect blue-grey shade, that will work perfectly outside, for a boy/girl playhouse! Serendipity, what can I say?!
The day before the set completion date, we worked till sunset.
And then, the D-day, aka. Delivery day!
We have been preparing for this day for ages! We’ve arranged for our little ones to go to their grandparents’ house, for strong men to be available for loading and unloading, and for all the last minute details to be taken care of.
The playhosue was lifted slightly, using pivoting system, and loaded onto a trailer specially welded for this purpose. I don’t remember breathing that day, I was so nervous.
Sunday morning, a friend at church told me that last night, while out driving, he saw a little blue house being transported, and he wondered if we had anything to do with that…
Charlie fell asleep before the house was delivered, but Lexie was up, waiting anxiously. Witnessing her childish excitement was priceless!
The next few days were spend on “interior decoration” and moving in.
Make it to love it!
You may also like to check out my other posts related to the making of Playhouse: