Our New Playhouse

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If you ask our girls what they miss the most about NYC, our old playhouse in Brooklyn will most definitely get a mention. It’s been discussed MANY times in the past two years since we’ve moved – also the fact that we promised to build the girls a new one and hadn’t yet followed through on that. (Whoops!) They had done what we asked them to do and earned their part of the playhouse with extra chores all summer long, so Michael and I decided to tackle building it this month so they could enjoy it a little bit before school starts.

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There are Amish playhouse kits that you can buy sort of piece meal depending on how customized you want your playhouse to be. We bought a bare bones version both for aesthetics and to help save on costs. We had to pick up a lot of our own materials this way, but I liked getting to choose the finishes!

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We started by building the base out of 2x4s and 4x4s in a graveled area in our backyard. It had always been this strange little spot that we didn’t ever use or really know what to do with. I think maybe the previous owners parked an extra vehicle here or something since it’s not that far away from an RV gate? Not sure. But it worked perfectly as a spot for our playhouse since it’s close to the swing set, but away from the sprinklers.

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Once the base of the playhouse was built, we made floors out of 1/4″ plywood cut down to 8″ strips (a thinner version of just what I did to make floors in the studio).

 

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The walls of the house went up quickly (this is the bulk of what comes in the “kit”). The trusses and the roof took a little more work to get right. (I really wish we would have thought to pull out that rosemary bush in front of the big door beforehand! It was a pain to work around!)

 

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Once we put on the felt paper for the roof, things started to feel real and exciting and the momentum really picked up! Pretty sure the girls were squealing at this point. :)
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I didn’t want to just do asphalt shingles and actually went to a roofing supplier looking for a metal roof option so I could get that modern farmhouse style. But the price and convenience and look of the cedar shingles won me over in the end!
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So now we’re going for a cape-meets-farmhouse-in-the-desert look. ;)
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I put on the cedar shingles over the course of two mornings (with a big thanks to Heather for holding the ladder while I hung the top few rows!) using our pneumatic staple gun. It wasn’t too bad installing each shingle individually, just a little slow-going. I think it was totally worth it in the end. We paid a little more for the cedar shake shingles than asphalt, but it wasn’t as expensive as the original metal roof idea was. And I think, while I love metal roofs on houses, the metal would have made the playhouse look like a shed. Not good!
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As you can see, the playhouse gets a good amount of hot Arizona sun during the day, so I wanted to make sure to use a good exterior paint on the outside of the playhouse. I’ve been working with BEHR on their interior paints (a big how to paint interior rooms post here, in case you missed it!), and I was excited to get to try their Marquee line for this project. It’s a great paint with great coverage, in the prettiest colors. I knew I wanted to go with a warm white on the main part of the house, but I thought about doing an accent color on the door and trim. There were a few incredible navy options that were really tempting me!
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Colors from top left, going clockwise: Naturalism, Opera Glasses, Limousine Leather, Compass Blue, Curio, Statuesque, White Lie, Looking Glass (side note: aren’t those great color names!?)
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I decided to go with ‘White Lie’ (MQ3-55) for the body of the house. True to BEHR’s promise, the Marquee exterior paint covered the old bad tan in just one coat!

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I loved the all-white look so much, that I decided to hold off on an accent color for the doors and trim. I think it looks a little more modern this way, though it’s easy to go pick up a quart of paint in an accent color if we decide to ever go that route!
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While the paint dried, I went to Home Depot and picked up some cinder blocks and pavers to make little stone steps and to curb out the new mulch we laid down after raking out the gravel.

 

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I used cement glue to attach the pavers to the cinder block.
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And then we added two trellises and white bougainvilleas to the side.

 

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Bougainvillea in any color will always be a favorite of mine! The big blooms are so happy and the plants do so well in the heat here.
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The girls helped me plant a few sweet potato vines in the planter boxes. I love their bright green color and they also do well in full sun.

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I think they’re so pretty against the clean white paint color!
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The inside of the playhouse is small, but still bigger than our last one – perfect for our growing girls.

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My designer-mommy heart has been bursting with pride, watching them draw up floor plans and pick paint samples and fabric for little cafe curtains. Though I’m not so sure I’ll be giving them sign-off on horse wallpaper and pink floors. :)

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I’d like to just paint everything in here white (same color and paint as the Marquee on the outside), so that it looks brighter inside. We’ll see if I can convince the girls to be satisfied with some horse art and maybe a painted-on pink rug or something. :)

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I am SO glad we decided to build this playhouse! Before we started, I was really intimidated by the idea of doing this without professional help, and initially I wanted to hire a handy man, but Michael told me he thought we could handle it and that he really wanted the girls to see us building it for them, so I got over it. Some of my favorite childhood memories were spent in the tree house and the playhouses my dad and mom built for me and my brothers and sisters at the different places we lived growing up. I remember my parents working hard for us and feeling like it was SO cool that they could do tough things.

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I feel like this was such a success and I’ve been giving us major pats on the back all week. It WAS hard, but we did it! And we had fun doing it. And I know we’ll be loving and using this playhouse for so many years to come. :)

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This post is brought to you by BEHR. Color that’s True to Hue. If you feel it you can find it. Visit truetohue.behr.com

  1. Carrie

    So beautiful and fun! I love the 'kids' posts… keep 'em coming! And, I too have a baby Margot. :)

  2. Jenny! This is amazing and so so inspirational! I cannot wait to see what you and your girls do with the inside! We really need to tackle our own playhouse project. Sending hugs! xo

  3. So so cool. My kids would DIE over this! Just wondering- what playhouse is this? I was looking at the catalog and couldn't figure out which one you had. Thanks so much!

  4. Amazing!! Makes me
    Think of a curtain playhouSe I could do in our lanai! Looks stunning

  5. Abby

    OMGGGGG. I want one! For the kids, of course… :) Beautiful as always, Jenny. xo

  6. Joanna

    Beautiful job! I would live there.

    Also cannot believe how big your girls have gotten! ????

  7. Shauna

    My kids would go nuts for one of these, maybe for christmas? It is darling, can't wait to see it decorated! Gotta ask, where are the red pants from? We are drowning in school shopping right now ;)

  8. Precious!! I love all the details. How special!

  9. This makes me smile on every way! What a beautiful playhouse…you and your hubby do great work. Your girls are darling! Horse wallpaper and pink floors, haha ;)

  10. Linda

    Please, please reconsider letting your kids pick the floor color. What a blast for them and a memory they will look back on fondly. Let go a bit!

  11. I think horse wallpaper and hot pink floors sounds fantastic- especially because this is their playhouse after all. The cool, modern look on the outside with a funky, colorful look on the inside! Letting their creativity go wild is one of the best parts of having kids.

  12. So, so good! You've hit it out of the ballpark again. Can't wait to see what you and your girls scheme up for the interior. Inspired, as always.

  13. Can't wait to see the interior reveal once the little designers are done. I always wanted one … or a tree house (no big trees, alas). Are you insulating to help keep it cooler in your extreme heat?

  14. This is so great, Jenny! It's great you and your hubby worked on it together and your girls are darling. I can't wait to see what they come up with for the inside.

  15. Can you give us an idea what this project cost? Including the extra's; such a fun idea.

  16. Juli

    Shauna, I just saw the red pants on the Gap website and they're 40% off today! We've already started school and I thought we were done with shopping but I might have to make an exception for those. :)

  17. Kim

    Jenny, it looks sooooo goooood! I love it! The white looks amazing with the cedar roofing. :)

  18. Sharon

    Their desert-cape-not-a-shed-farmhouse is a dream. Really. And nothing, nothing beats dutch doors ♡

  19. This pics of your girls enjoying it are too cute. This is my dream playhouse!

  20. This is the picture dictionary definition of magical. xox

  21. kelly

    the exterior on this playhouse is better than my REAL house. seriously!!

  22. Hi there. I have a couple of questions. Which one did you choose and how much was your project at the end of the day?
    It really turned out super cute. My boys have been wanting a clubhouse of their own I'm just wondering how much are we looking at here???
    Thanks
    Michelle

  23. Hi guys!

    Thanks for chiming in! I don't have the exact bottom line number added up, since we bought everything separately – a little here and a little there over the course of about a month, but it was not cheap. The roof shingles alone were pricey – about $250 I think. I hope that helps give a little more direction for those looking to replicate! I think it's a great investment for a family property.

    Never fear – We will definitely be letting the girls have a big say in the decorating here! I didn't mean to give the impression that I am a control freak about this playhouse. Just joshin around. :)

    Evie's pants are from gap kids! xoxo

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  25. I really like the pictures you have posted they are so adorable. Feeling great to see your work. There are many innovative sites with which we makeover our small bathrooms with creative bathroom floor tile and bathroom design ideas and get your bathroom looks wonderful.

  26. Darling! Can't wait to follow along the transformation of the inside. You always hit it out of the park with design. Way to work hard.

  27. Best mom ever! What a dream come true for little ones. Love the Dutch door, how sweet!

  28. So so sweet. What a beautiful house for your girls — they are so lucky! And how amazing for you and your hubby to build it for them. They will always remember that. I have memories of my grandfather building a treehouse for all of us grandkids in their backyard that I will treasure forever. The treehouse is still there, and though all of us grandkids are too big for it now, it is the sweetest reminder of our childhood. Now the great-grandkids get to play in it. :-) Anyway, beautiful job, and your girls will forever remember this.

  29. Just gorgeous! I was just talking about playhouses yesterday with a friend. Mine was an old packing crate, nothing fancy, but I pretty much lived in it – especially in summer. I would have thought I'd died and gone to heaven if I had a playhouse like this!

  30. This is so adorable! Great job! It's so special your girls were able to see you and your husband build this for them. I think they will cherish that memory as much as they will playing in the house. Thanks so much for sharing your project with us! I love it! =)

  31. This is absolutely amazing! I made my partner come and have a look at it, because it's so inspiring. Wonderful work, the kids will LOVE it, I'm sure.

  32. When I was a little boy I had the pleasure of building a playhouse with my grandfather that looked nearly identical to the A frame you all made for your daughters. Aside from the covered porch that we had built surrounding the perimeter our playhouse, from the door, to the paint, to the gardening it looks as though ours would have been your new builds sister.

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  34. Gene Reif

    Interested in making the steps – what sizes were the pavers that you used? Loved the idea!

  35. Susan Gardem

    I saw your post of the steps on Pinterest as I also had in mind the tinder blocks but I had not thought of gluing pavers to the top and sides. I’m making steps to several levels of gardens in my small back yard (Australia) and this idea will be perfect. Meanwhile I loved looking at your beautiful playhouse. What lovely memories you are making for your family.

  36. Becky t

    Have you done any more work on the inside of the playhouse? Wouldn’t love to see what you and the girls did!!! Planning for a playhouse for my girls for Christmas and very interested on the interior plans!

  37. Cindy

    Cement glue never heard of it. Is it more expensive than just using mortar ?

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