The 2013 Dreams Happen Houses arrived at Stanford Shopping Center on Saturday, May 4. They will be on display through June 8. There are 11 playhouses and 1 doghouse that will be auctioned off at the Dreams Happen Gala event on Saturday, June 1. All proceeds benefit Rebuilding Together Peninsula—a non-profit organization dedicated to rehabilitating the homes and community facilities of neighbors in need from Sunnyvale to Daly City. For more information and to view the other playhouses visit Rebuild Together Peninsula.
Monday, May 6, 2013
image via: welsh
Controversial playhouse in Ocala, FL must meet codes or be removed.
With the weather finally warming up, it's the perfect time of year to start planning your playhouse project. Before you start picking paint colors and purchasing materials, you should determine if a permit is necessary. Check with your local code officials and neighborhood association. Many neighborhoods have restrictions or guidelines that you must follow. You may even need to have your design approved prior to construction. If approval is necessary, be sure to check on submission procedures and timelines. (The review committee may only meet once a month). If you are aware of the restrictions early enough along, you can plan for them. It may be something as simple as the color scheme should coordinate with your house colors or the playhouse must be a certain distance from your property line. If you feel your style is being too heavily governed, no need to worry. There are plenty of ways for you and your children to express yourself. Try going wild with color on the interior if the neighbors aren't keen on your psychedelic exterior color scheme. It has been my experience that most neighbors are just curious, and would even like to be a part of the project.
Personally I love driving through a neighborhood and seeing a quirky little structure...it just makes me smile. The architect in me also understands the importance of preserving the character of a neighborhood and maintaining property value. With that being said, please plan ahead. No one wants to tear their child's playhouse down.
*For the record, I think the playhouse above is adorable! From the video, it's hard to get a good perspective on how it does or does not fit into the context of the neighborhood. What are your thoughts? Please share.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Photograph by Petr Karsulin Dolce Vita Magazine, Prague
I can only imagine how my boys would react if they were to discover this! It actually looks like something my 6 year old would draw and ask me to build...and I would reply, "I'm not sure we can make a sphere in our backyard." Guess there are no excuses now!
The era of the space race was a time of mounting ambitions and anxieties for adults, but for children all over the world it was a time of great imaginative play, with new designed environments in which they could act out their own aerospace adventures. Junior astronauts and cosmonauts commanded scaled-down rockets and satellites, the most striking of which were abstract sculptural departures from the conventional forms. Nemecek's interpretation of Sputnik's aluminum sphere as an elegant concrete play sculpture, encased in multicolored ceramic an featuring a climbing tube and slide, was originally installed in Stromovka Park, in Prague. - MOMA
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Image via: Paper Scissors and Super Heroes
What a find! This whimsical cottage is located in McCrory Gardens, a botanical garden operated and maintained by the Plant Science Department of South Dakota State University. Believe it or not, it was originally a gas station. (Gas station design has changed a bit over the years). Love the storybook style roof. It looks like it even has a tiny chimney. The windows and flower boxes are nicely detailed too. I may just have to recreate plans for this one. Wouldn't it be a perfect playhouse...or garden office?
A quaint garden space, the Cottage Garden is a popular photo stop. The cottage garden is a distinct style of garden that uses an informal design, traditional materials, dense plantings, and a mixture of ornamental and edible plants. English in origin, the cottage garden depends on grace and charm rather than grandeur and formal structure. The building for the space was once a gas station located in Lake Preston, SD.
I'm still digging around for more information on this cottage, but just couldn't wait to share. If you know more about it or have interior pictures please let me know. I'll update as I find info.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Image via: Home Away
A couple beautiful sunny days here was all it took to get me thinking about playing outside again! We're back to cold and rainy, but it's still fun to think about what outdoor projects we can do this summer. Our garage, or rather our shed that's on the verge of falling down, is in need of a complete overhaul. When I stumbled upon this adorable playhouse/shed, it gave me hope. It is possible to give new life to an older structure. In this case the "old" actually adds character. I've always liked white trim with the weathered wood siding, and the over sized white watering can ties it all together adding a bit of whimsey. The flowers are a fun touch too!
Depending on where you live, it may still be a bit cold to start building a playhouse, but it's not too soon to start planning!
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
The Playhouse My Dad Built
Sometimes I wonder when my big obsession with tiny spaces began. If I had to pinpoint a particular moment, It would probably be around the time my dad built our playhouse. This humble little structure was home to many great memories, and it was these great memories that motivated me to start this blog. With that being said, I apologize for my unplanned blog break. I have no excuse other than life just gets busy at times (as I am sure everyone can relate to). I've enjoyed the last few months spending time with my kids making memories of our own.
From the picture, it looks like moving day happened well before completion day. Although, I have to say the completed project did not look much different. The interior was never "finished" or even painted for that matter. But hey, there's nothing wrong with an unfinished interior. Exposed studs are great shelves for treasures or rock collections. Mom did make curtains, and we hung a few pictures on the wall. I still have all of my playhouse furniture. Thank you mom for keeping it! The chair in the picture along with the matching table is sitting right here in my office. My kids use it for everything from art projects to snack time.
One of my favorite playhouse memories was spring cleaning day. I'm not sure why this particular memory stuck in my mind. Maybe it was the sight of washed Cabbage Patch Kids hanging by their toes on the clothes line, or the horror of watching our dog, Suzie run through the yard with one of them by the pigtail. Mom made us move all the furniture out of the playhouse and wash it all down. While this may sound like a chore, we had a blast. If I'm remembering right, there was a water hose and swimsuits involved. It's about that time of year to plan a spring cleaning day. Use it as an opportunity to create a fun memory!
I am so thankful for parents that have always encouraged creativity!
I have been working really hard on an indoor playhouse line that I'm dying to share, but I can't reveal just yet. It is taking all I have not to completely spill the beans. As many of you may already know, my background is in Architecture, not product design, so this has been one major learning experience. Last week I went to the Tupelo Furniture Market where I talked to several manufacturers who were very generous in sharing information about everything from material sourcing to shipping. The Franklin Furniture Institute has also been instrumental in guiding me through this process. I have a new found appreciation for all that goes into taking a product from an idea to the marketplace. Stay tuned for our indoor playhouse launch!
Sunday, November 18, 2012
For a FREE downloadable pdf of the plans click here.
Don't forget to visit my website for more playhouse plans!
Free playhouse plans are now available! I typically don't offer free plans (a lot of work goes into producing them), but I just couldn't resist with these. This tiny house would look great in any back yard, and it's the perfect size. The simple straightforward design of the playhouse allows you to personalize it and give it a style that fits your family. This version is a bit traditional, but with different materials it could be much more whimsical or even a bit modern. It's amazing how much a different color palate can change the whole look and character of the house.
When designing this tiny house to be auctioned at Mistletoe Marketplace, I had several factors to consider. We were relying on the generous material donations of local businesses to complete the playhouse. At the time the drawings were done, I had no idea what materials would be available. Talk about making it difficult to plan ahead! It occurred to me that this is often the case with DIY playhouses. Materials are sometimes scavenged or collected as the playhouse is being built. You don't always have everything you need when you start. This very basic plan is ideal if you don't know exactly what materials you are going to have until you get them.
I have talked before about salvaged shanties, and although this is in no way a shanty, it was built based on the same concepts. Work with what you have. Thankfully we were fortunate enough to get some really nice materials to work with! I would like to point out the gorgeous reclaimed wood door and beautiful floors, both donated by Bubba Cunningham of Plantation Millworks.
We only had three weeks to comple the playhouse, which is plenty of time if that's all you're doing, but who really has nothing to do for three weeks? As a business owner and mother of two boys, it goes without saying we always have a lot going on. (For example the fridge and washing machine died the day we started construction). Since this house was being donated, the bulk of the work was done on weekends, and whenever I could scrape out time during the week. With that being said, I think this would be a good summer project. Allow yourself enough time to really enjoy the process, and get your kids involved. I realize not everyone has the luxury of time, and there's nothing wrong with hiring a contractor. We even wound up hiring a guy to build the door casing and put the hardware on even though we could have done it ourselves. Doors can be tricky and we just didn't have the time.
Ana White's site for the Lydia Daybed (very similar). She has some great stuff over there, and her plans are easy to follow. I'll post my modifications to the bed soon. Oh, I can't thank mom enough for making the mattress cover and pillows! Love the colors!
The footprint of this playhouse is 6'-0" x 8'-0" making it ideal for a garden office or potting shed after the kids are grown. With vaulted ceilings that follow the roof line, there's even plenty of room for adults to stand up inside. Oh, and the door is 2'-2" wide x 5'-8" high. I have to admit it was really hard letting this one go. I've been wanting a retreat of my own for some time now.
I hope you enjoy these plans, and don't forget to check out more playhouse plans on my website. I'm continually adding plans to the site, so let me know what type of playhouse your looking for.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
The roof framing is done, and you can start to really see the playhouse shape up! I can't wait to get the exterior siding and trim on, then you will really be able to see the character of this playhouse emerge. I love the size and proportions of this tiny house. The floor plan is 6'-0" wide x 8'-0" deep giving your kids plenty of room to play (when they're grown you can reclaim it as your own). The interior will have a vaulted ceiling that follows the roof line. This will make it tall enough for adults to stand up in...if they're invited in for a tea party. The shape of this playhouse is very traditional, but by the time we're done, it will have a style of it's own!
The roof decking is up and the felt is on. I have to say, I have really enjoyed the beautiful weather. While working inside a shop would be ideal, it has been nice to have an excuse to be outside.
The shingles are well, almost on. I prefer not showing my projects until they are complete, but I thought it would be fun to show the progress of this playhouse. Hopefully this will be helpful and encouraging to anyone building their own playhouse. As soon as the shingles are done, we'll put up the exterior siding and install the windows. After that, we'll be making furniture and finishing out the interior. Lots and lots to do!