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’splayhouse.com’, 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.
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.)
At 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….
Here’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.
After 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.
Whilst 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.
They 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.)
But 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.
And 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.
Here, 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.
After 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.
I 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.
Truthfully, 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.
I 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?
So 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.