I’m glad I found the second hand playhouse when I did. We’re gearing up for a big remodel at our own house, and doing a playhouse remodel first taught me a lot of things in miniature.
- I am a time optimist. Things never happen as fast as I say they will.
- Remodels take a long time, even on playhouses.
- Beadboard is a pain in the ass.
- You should read and follow directions, even on something as “simple” as adhesive floor tiles.
- Sometimes you’re better off spending a few bucks than getting the cheapest baseboards possible.
- New caulking is better than old caulking.
- Playhouse remodels are super fun and (almost) instantly gratifying.
I kind of have a classifieds problem. There, I admitted it. From the time I was about 10 I scoured the weekly free classifieds paper in search of something or another. At that time, it was an attempt to find a dog so great my parent’s couldn’t say no. Over time it evolved into my first car, first house, etc. Then came Craigslist with it’s full-color photos and lengthy descriptions! Oh, I was hooked. Antiques, yard art, vintage velvet sofas… woo hoo! I can’t help myself, perusing the classifieds is a bonafide hobby of mine. So when I saw this beauty of a playhouse pop up for $800, I zipped across town to check it out.
Now, before I get ahead of myself, this wasn’t a total impromptu purchase. My little daughter and I had been talking about a playhouse for quite some time. Seeing her imagination go wild in a playhouse at my son’s baseball practice started the ball rolling. I brought this “Backyards for Kids” book home from the library and my daughter has probably looked through it a hundred times. I promised that I’d either buy or build her a playhouse asap.
We started watching youtube how-to videos and I figured I could probably build one for about $1000. Of course, I also kept my eyes on the classifieds. I just hate buying new stuff. I was sold as soon as I saw the playhouse in person. It was super cute, built like a rock, and had tons of potential. Not to mention the entire summer it would save me of building the thing from scratch. Playhouse remodel, here we go!
The To-Do List:
The to-do list was actually pretty simple for this cute little abode.
- Tear out old wall panelling and de-wasp the thing.
- Thoroughly clean off the walls and windows to get rid of “old-mud-fight smell” (Old spice?)
- Replace sketchy sharp metal door.
- Remove 100 dangerous screws protruding from the ceiling.
- Replace wall panels and flooring.
- Add baseboards and caulking to keep bugs out.
- Move in and play!
The first step was probably the hardest. Covered head to toes (ankles) in 95 degree weather in a stuffy little playhouse, ripping off wall panels covering who-knows-what and feeling ready to get stung at any moment sure got the adrenaline flowing. Luckily, it was all in my head. There were very few nests and I got out without a single sting. Winning! Of course, we missed the town clean-up again and the old panels sit there to this day. Ya win some, ya lose some.
Clean up, Clean up…
Shop vac and some elbow grease cleaned this thing up pretty quickly. The windows are all nice and needed a little extra scrubbing. Whoa, views!
In case you haven’t noticed, I jump all over the place. Mother’s day came and I was treated to four beautiful trees. We planted this lovely “Ivory Silk” Lilac tree right outside the playhouse and my husband made a sweet little brick garden bed around it for my daughter’s new Avalanche Daisy and Coral Bells flowers. Aww.
Get Back to Work
Next came the wall paneling. Luckily, my husband got started. He just took measurements from the playhouse and drew right onto the beadboard panels. He and my son used a jigsaw to cut them out. He spent nearly a whole day on it before tapping out. I took over a week or so later and spent yet another full day on the other half.
I tried making cardboard templates that I copied over to the panels, it worked alright. Then I just took straight measurements like Hubby did. It worked alright. Either way, each piece needed a few extra cuts to get it to fit well. We still ended up with annoying little holes to patch up. We also had to be careful to make sure the beading lined up and ran horizontally not vertically.
Did I mention it was a total pain? I should have known it wouldn’t be fun because I avoid stripes when sewing for the same reason. I’d probably do drywall or plain paneling to paint if I had to do it again. Also, the caulking didn’t look nice and smooth where it ran into the beading. Doing the beadboard was one of many times I had to remind myself “It’s a playhouse.”
Even Fake Marble Looks Fancy
One of the most beautiful parts about playhouse remodeling is how little everything is. You can get away with the tiniest amounts of materials and put everyone’s remodeling leftovers to good use.
My mom gave us these sweet little adhesive floor tiles that were left from her bathroom and they fit the space perfectly. I almost left the floor plywood but since I’ve swept the floor about 200 times since, I’m very glad I stuck the tiles on, it’s so much easier to clean and really classes up the place.
The flooring was a really fun job for my four and ten year olds! Do you like our improvised floor roller? We sure did! A little leftover wall primer (you should probably use floor but hey, it’s what we had) and a quick installation video knocked this project out in an afternoon.
In an effort to keep my title as “most frugal person ever” I chose to buy these cheap boards for $10 to use as baseboard instead of real ones ($80). They worked great on our DIY hallway board and batten, but here, not so much. I think I left them out a few too many days and they warped pretty badly. After sanding and painting, I ended up screwing them in with great use of force and expletives. They’re not perfect, but caulk will fix a lot of things. Mantra: “It’s just a playhouse”.
That just about brings us to the present. The walls, flooring, caulking, and cleaning are done. Little One wants me to paint the ceiling blue. I may also paint the oddball brown window to match the others, maybe not. I’d like to add a little trim work around the windows. The exposed wooden beams are super in right now though, right?
My son officially moved in the first item: the play kitchen! It’s so bright and sweet in there. We can’t wait to really move in and decorate!
Keep your eyes out for my next post: a DIY playhouse dutch door from an old cabinet front.
Let me know what think down below! Would anyone like to see a supply or price list? Cheers!