Way back, when I was about 10, I remember visiting a friend who had a sweet summerhouse in the garden full of comfy cushions, rugs and books, where she (and I) spent happy hours reading our Famous Five books and Nancy Drew mysteries. Since then, I've wanted such a space in my garden and, one day, I will create a similar "grown-up" space for my daughter. But, for now, given that she is only 4, a traditional playhouse felt more appropriate.
So, last summer, we got a playhouse up and decorated and, even if I do say so myself, I was very pleased with the result. Best of all, it certainly elicited a great big smile from our girl.
We have a small garden, so it is a small playhouse, just 6ft x 5ft. We opted for a "double-height" one that can take a bunk if desired. Sweet though a bunk would be, we chose not to have it installed as it defeated the object, for us, of having extra head height to give the playhouse greater longevity and to allow us adults to snuggle in too.
The playhouse came flat-packed of course and took an age to paint and then the best part of a day to construct. The painting was well worth it though, particularly the inside, to give it a homely, "finished" look. A homemade bench seat and a couple of shelves completed the DIY aspects, then we just added a lovely wooden kitchen, a tiny old table, a small bookcase, curtains, rug, hooks, a lampshade, battery operated lights... et voila!
The curtains are made with some left over gingham fabric I had in the cupboard and a pretty floral fabric from Lulu & Nat which matches their floral bedding range that we stock here at Ginger & May. I made a lampshade out of the same fabric, although it is entirely for show as there is no electricity. The quilt and cushion from that range are seen on the bench. For the purpose of the photo, I've also popped the Matilda patchwork quilt from Babyface underneath. The little bookcase came from a market.
The patchwork quilt on the floor is one I picked up from a market and is the perfect size for a rug. It washes well so no need to worry about it getting dirty - it's actually just a fabric with a "fake" patchwork print on it, so something similar would be reasonably quick and easy to create from scratch.
The pen pots and book shelf (a spice rack) are from Ikea and are a great space saving way of keeping a few activity bits and bobs handy. The blackboard on the back of the door has been well used for playing "schools", or sometimes comes complete with a menu when the playhouse is doubling up as a play-cafe. The butterfly hooks on the back of the door are another Ginger & May addition.
The little wooden kitchen is divine - I looked long and hard to find one that I loved and could stomach sitting in the house during the winter - this is perfect and we've been so pleased with it. It's the Tidlo Country Play Kitchen and can be found at Amazon among other places. The bowls, plates, cups and glasses are from Ikea.
The bunting was handmade from various scraps and the vintage daisy-chain love hearts are in stock here at Ginger & May. You can see in these images that the curtains have a simple tab top that allows them to hang on a piece of dowling. The dowling is simply clasped in a large plastic cup-hook at each end.
Another few Ginger & May goodies have been used to accessorise this wall! The little wooden hanging heart comes as a set with a little wooden bird. The lights are battery operated (perfect for a playhouse) - the pretty crystal ones are the Bohemia Battery Operated Lights and the others are Paper Lanterns. As I mentioned before, the lampshade is handmade to match the Lulu & Nat floral bedding and cushion, the welcome sign and little wall plaques are from a local shop in Swanage.
Another shot of the shelves and, on the right, a shot that shows how the bench seat was constructed. It's simply a framework of 2 x 2 timber with a piece of wood cut to size for the top. It's topped with foam which is covered in the red gingham fabric to match the curtains. This shows the Matilda Quilt and Cushion, and also the Delilah Bird cushion which I was trying out but which didn't stay.
The exterior was painted white too, with some sage green on the doors and shutters, although I occasionally wonder whether that was the right choice, thinking that perhaps keeping it all white would have been nicer. The window boxes were planted-up and managed to stay looking nice for the summer.
A little welcome sign and a house number to finish off the door and then, done x