The playhouse grand unveiling


Well, this has been a long time coming. The playhouse

I have blogged about this playhouse so many times that I have only half-jokingly considered ditching any aspirations I once held to improve our own house, renaming the blog ‘www.rachel’’, and then moving myself into it. The girls could have free run of our actual house, happily writing on the walls and causing mayhem, whilst I could live peacefully in the calm confines of the playhouse, making myself pretend cups of tea, and re-arranging the plate rack.

Before the renovation - the playhouse

I retrieved some old pictures from an old phone, and was pathetically pleased to find these ones of before I’d done any work to it at all. Here the playhouse is, all new and fresh, and wooden. (And here’s India, all small. Sniff.)

The playhouse interior - beforeAt this point, I would look at the playhouse and fondly imagine things like painting it, and making curtains, and finding furniture … and what with the demands of looking after two small people, and then being pregnant again… well, it all felt very far away.

In my last playhouse update I shared how I’d finished painting the inside. This time I can reveal that the whole blooming thing is just about done. I made curtains. I laid carpet tiles. I hung bunting.

Are you ready?

Here you go….

The playhouseHere’s what you see when you prepare to go in (and believe me, if you’re visiting me at home, then you’re going into the playhouse. If Rosa is around, she will INSIST on taking you in for a quick tour. If she isn’t there, then I end up forcing visitors in myself. Once, both my parents, and one of my sisters were found sitting in there all at once…)
What’s that? Did someone say ‘lovely curtains’? Did someone say, ‘Oh, look at the doormat!’?
Why thank you.

The playhouse interiorAfter my agonies with the laminated cotton, I found a shower curtain in Argos printed with butterflies, and bought two of them. Making the curtains was really simple, but I have promised myself to pull together all my photos and to write some detailed instructions and publish my first tutorial. Not here, though. This post is purely about showing off.

Playhouse curtainsWhilst I was doing my photoshoot, I was trailed by India, who was increasingly disbelieving that I wanted to take pictures of the playhouse and not of her. So she appears a few times here. I don’t mind too much as I can pretend she’s modelling it for me, and also because she’s rather gorgeous (she is, though, isn’t she?), and finally because she is in the ‘before’ pictures, so it feels appropriate somehow to show her in big reveal. Although her increased size does rather reveal how long this has all taken me…

But in the picture above you can see the curtains. We all love them. They are bright, and breezy, and just on the right side of girly whilst still feeling a bit modern. I don’t know how they will stand up to the damp of the great outdoors, but I reckon it will be the work of only a few minutes to unscrew the net curtain wires and to throw them in the washing machine on a hot wash periodically.

Playhouse curtainsThey are a little bit ‘bunchy’, especially here by the door where there is no real space for curtains to fit between the windows and the door itself. (It’s almost as if this playhouse was designed for playing in, not kitting out like a real house. Bizarre.)

Playhouse curtainsBut they actually close. And isn’t this all anyone could ever want from a pair of playhouse curtains? I felt it was desperately important they should actually close, and I was confirmed in this belief by the fact that when I finally (reluctantly) allowed the girls into it, they immediately closed all the curtains and left them that way. Which was pleasing.

Playhouse carpet tilesAnd look! I laid carpet tiles. They are slightly imperfectly put down (it was a voyage of discovery for me and the ‘stanley knife’ which I think I bought from a pound shop when I was a student). But I do think they look great, especially paired with the doormat which I bought on a complete whim at Homebase.

Playhouse climbing roseTalking of whims, on the same trip I also bought a climbing rose to climb up the trellis. I know it is indulgent. And I realise I will probably kill it. But I just love how it looks.

Playhouse interiorHere, you can see the whole playhouse scheme coming together. I went for pastels, which is not my usual aesthetic, and lots of white. The ill-fated laminated cotton did in fact make some lovely miniature bunting, which provided a great finishing touch when I strung it up. Pinks and blues, flowers and butterflies. Far too twee for me in the actual house. But here? Perfect.

Playhouse interiorAfter I first posted about the letters on the wall, they kept falling off. So I decided that the sticky dots I’d thought I could rely on were evidently not up to the job, and instead stuck the initials on with PVA. That seems to have done the job.

A blackboard for the playhouseI was slightly obsessed with the idea of having a blackboard in there, and unable to relax until I’d found one. On ebay, of course. Once it arrived, I painted the frame with one of the girls’ paintbrushes, and a matchpot that I found in the basement. I hadn’t thought it through massively carefully as I was trying to paint fast during Persephone’s nap. So it felt like lucky happenstance that the teal colour almost perfectly matched the teal of the blue butterflies on the curtains.

Playhouse plate rackTruthfully, the plate rack is still one of my favourite bits. Whenever I go in, I am unable to resist spending a few minutes hanging the cups up, lining up the spotted plates, and generally beautifying it. I am just so pleased with how it looks. And of course it helps to keep the teaset and other accoutrements tidy, which is a bonus.

Hooks for the playhouseI put up a row of hooks on one wall as well. I think I was having a bit of a rush of blood to the head. I couldn’t see any useful function for them until I noticed one day that Rosa had hung her stilts on them. Well. Every girl needs a row of hooks for her stilts, don’tcha know?

India loves the playhouseSo there you have it. Perhaps in an ideal world I would add a few more items of what I described as ‘naff homeware’. I think a small metal sign saying ‘home sweet home’ wouldn’t go amiss. A little picture of some kind. And I definitely plan to add a door knocker. And a small plaque for the house name, which will say, ‘The Play House, number XXa’.

But to all intents and purposes the playhouse is finally completed. I am thrilled with it. The girls love it. All my ideas and half-thoughts about how lovely it could look have been realised. And it is making our actual real house look scruffier and less complete by the day.


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19 Responses to The playhouse grand unveiling

  1. Oh, I love what you did Rachel! So many of your ideas I have planned too, but I think by the time I do them all the boys won’t want to play in there anymore :-(

    Love the ‘shower curtain’ curtains – what a good idea, our cotton curtains are always getting wet and soggy when the door gets left open. Rose trellis and miniature bunting – cute! I’ve had the same fixation about a chalkboard inside ours – I wanted a really big one, and a row of hooks for dressing up accessories! I’ve even made a sign to go over the door, I just don’t know what words to paint on it yet… Yes a door knocker would be good, we fixed a working battery operated door bell to ours! xx

    • rachel says:

      Hooks for dressing up accessories! Genius. And I love the idea of a huge chalkboard. I keep imagining all the places on our house we could have chalkboards. I should get on with it, really…

  2. I love it! I wish I had the vision, skill and patience (not to mention the garden!) for something like this.

    • rachel says:

      Thank you! I am so pleased with it. It has required a LOT of patience (and I am very impatient) but we got there.

  3. Angeline says:

    Wow! Absolutely amazing what you have done with the place! We have one of similar size and a shed too and this has given me ideas to do something with both. I would love a wee place to disappear to when blogging or reading, a place to escape to which isn’t far…ahh the ideas that you have given me?! If only i had your skills though! I have the sewing machine and the will but not the talent..

    • rachel says:

      Making curtains is really very easy! I have taken pictures and will post a tutorial.

      • rachel says:

        Hmmm. I’d like to correct that comment. Making PLAYHOUSE curtains is really very easy. Real curtains I am yet to try. Playhouse curtains are, to use the playground parlance of when I was nine, ‘pips’.

  4. Oh my goodness that is fab! When can I move in!! Me and the husband have been talking about doing something similar for our kids but umm… I’m way too lazy?! More than happy to swoon over pictures of yours instead :)

  5. Jen says:

    I just love the end result. That pretty butterfly fabric is so cute…. a labour of love indeed. :)

  6. Gillian says:

    I love it! It’s just gorgeous, what lucky girls. It’s looks like the same style of playhouse that my two have and I’m kicking myself for not thinking of some of the things you’ve included. Shower curtains for the curtains – that’s genius. No damp or mould! And the plate rack is so pretty, and the climbing rose. I went mad in our playhouse with bunting and tie backs and window boxes, and all manner of pretty-country style decor I would never have in our actual house and good lord it was fun! When I started picking a posy for the little table I knew it was time to step away from the playhouse…

    Gillian x

    • rachel says:

      Tie backs? A posy for the table? I can feel myself starting to obsess all over again. And – NO! – it’s time for me to dedicate some time and energy to our actual real house that we live in.

  7. Kerry says:

    How did you make the wooden window frames/dividers? I am on the process of doing up a playhouse for my soon to be 2 year old Matilda. All it has are open windows cut out with space to fit plastic windows,but I want them to look like yours with 4 little windows. Could I just stick some wood doweling in a cross on the inside of the plastic? Also, did you use plexiglass or special plastic for windows? What paint can I sue for interior? Thanks

    • rachel says:

      Hi Kerry, I’m afraid my playhouse came with the wooden dividers already in. But I don’t see why you couldn’t make some if you are a bit handy with a saw? Some flat bits of wood cut to size and held in place with screws would be all you’d need. In my playhouse, the wooden window dividers are what holds the plastic ‘plexiglass’ in place. I bought a replacement piece for the one that got broken from an ebay seller who was selling various different sizes for, I think, greenhouses.
      As for the interior paint, I used good old Cuprinol. It’s a paint especially for wood that is outside, and so far it has held up well!

  8. Lia says:

    Beautiful house – I’d love to see it and all the decorations someday!

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  10. Michelle says:


    We have just brought my daughter a playhouse, we have finished painting and laid down carpet times.

    I was looking for some ideas for curtains and your show curtain “curtains” is amazing I would have never though of this. Your house is amazing and lovely.

    & yes your daughter is very cute. So many ideas now to put to use.

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