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  • Writer's pictureKayleen

Playhouse Play by Play

Updated: Dec 9, 2020

With what started as plans for an outdoor mud kitchen drastically changed. A million swipes on Pinterest and many hours of surfing the web, the mud kitchen idea was tossed out the window and the “playhouse” project was birthed. I will note that it was maybe Corey’s lack of enthusiasm about the mud kitchen DIY that sparked the new project to life; it’s not completely my fault we went so ham on this! HA!

After much conversation we both agreed we wanted to create a space outside that was both functional and fun for the girls during all seasons of Montana weather. My heart was set on a mini farmhouse and we finally narrowed it down to a few ideas we loved and wanted to mesh together. It takes me forever to make a decision about anything, which is probably why Corey and I make a great team. He took the initiative and bought tiny house shed blue prints and before I knew it the lumber was ordered and we were in the thick of starting this grand project.

We began a few days before memorial weekend kicked off by unloading our lumber and labeling our piles. After reviewing the house blue prints we agreed that maybe we were in a little over our heads. We called Corey’s dad “Papa Greg” and found out it was going to be raining all week in Kansas (which meant he wouldn’t be able to farm)! Gods plan, it was a perfect time to fly him in for building reinforcements. My parents live about 3/4 a mile from us, so with unpredictable weather we thought it would be easier to build the framework in their shop. Before Papa Greg arrived we built the base of the house and the deck floor. This is when we made mistake number one… We should have built the base on two planks of wood ties to drag it out of the shop later, but nevertheless it worked out fine it just made the moving process a little dicey. I knew my dear hubby was invested when on day 2 of working he was up at 4:00 A.M. constructing sidewalls and framing windows before his dad arrived. He now claims that he probably should have waited for his Dad, because we later found the house not to be the most square.

We went a little rogue on our original blue prints, it called for a loft over the entire house, but we quickly decided that wouldn’t be practical for tall parents! Therefore, we planned to only build the loft over the deck portion of the house, and add a little walkway that would lead to a ladder. Instead of having the ladder be so tall, we added in a little 2X2 landing to split the climb up. While Papa Greg manned the ladder installation/design, Corey and I began installing the loft floor beams.

Next, Corey and his dad framed the upstairs walls, and we were ready to make a trip to town for windows. At this point we were about five days into the project that we thought we would be close to done with. Memorial weekend was almost over and we knew Corey’s time to work on the house was going to be limited with his work schedule. Everything always seems to happen for a reason, or at least I believe that mantra. While Corey was shopping for the siding at S BAR S Lumber, he came across the nicest gentlemen. Long story short, Corey’s people skills paid off and we had a professional shed builder helping us put our siding and roof up on the playhouse. While Corey and his new hire put up the siding and worked on the roof, Papa Greg installed the windows and helped me design and build the shutters. It was finally starting to look like a house!

We are so thankful the girls were able to have their Papa come help and leave his imprint on their house. I am a sentimental gal, I love that when I look at the house I see little pieces and reminders of the love and sweat that each person poured into this little project. Of course we missed Nana SueAnn, but she still managed to help from afar. After snowballing some ideas via Face time we all agreed how cool it would be to frame in a spot in the loft of the house for an enclosed slide. Ordering a slide during a pandemic took about 3 months to be delivered, but it was totally worth the wait!

Moving the playhouse out of the shop and transporting it down to our house was slightly nerve racking and quite honestly a little sketchy. What we all failed to remember is that my parents have an archway that is the entry and exit point of their house. It wasn’t until we loaded the playhouse on the back of “neighbor Matt’s” dump truck we realized it was too tall to drive under the archway. That left us with one option, to drive through the bumpy filed, pass a row of trees, and skim past the barn without out knocking the house off. I am happy to report they made it in one piece thank heavens!

Once the house was delivered and placed in our yard the real work began. Thankfully, Corey thrives off of efficiency and decided to buy us a paint sprayer. We taped the windows and deck and sprayed the exterior immediately. It was then roofed, and we hung our shutters! While Corey cut/measured the trim boards I continued on the inside by sanding all the railings and window seals. Any area I thought the girls would touch, was sanded and sliver proofed. Then, I began staining the loft rails, ladder and few other pieces of wood I wanted to leave stained on the interior using a stain cloth.

How did we come up with the front door? I wanted it to have a farmhouse look, and our shed guy actually sprung the idea of a horse stall type door also known in the house world as a "Dutch Door". Corey proved to be pretty handy at this point with his craftsmanship and did a perfect job trimming the door out just as I dreamed up! That little door might be one of my favorite pieces we designed on the house! I tried not to get too wild with my ideas, but my final ask of the house was to use the left over exterior siding and hang on the inside horizontally to give the lower level the "shiplap" look. It was a total pain in the A cutting (which I didn't think about obviously), but he can agree now that it looks super cute and was worth the extra day of work.

The following days we stained the deck, completed the exterior trim and hung the shutters, laid the carpet in the loft, and placed the wood laminate flooring on the main level. The saying “Measure twice, Cut Once!” couldn’t have rang more true while we reached the home stretch of this project. The interior décor was compiled of old furniture my mom had lying around that I repurposed and the Target $3 section came in clutch! The only thing we have left on the inside is to hang our trim board for the flooring! This was all completed around the third weekend of June, 2020.

While waiting for the slide to arrive to attach to the loft, Corey took the initiative and built a swing set off the right side of the playhouse. He ordered all the swings and parts from amazon, and even did the staining himself! After hearing the girls giggle for the first time flying high on the swing set, he looked at me and claimed, “well that makes it all worth it!” and I couldn’t agree more.

Finally, at the end of July the slide arrived and it only took Corey an early morning to put together and hang. Luckily our good friend Reid was here to help and provide comical commentary! He also saved me lots of heavy lifting, because we decided to lay the rock path out to the house the same day we installed the slide. We lucked out and my Aunt had extra rock slabs from their landscaping that worked perfectly for the path! This I hope was our last leg of the project!

The girls have quite the imaginations its pretty rewarding to watch them soar as they play in the house. I have to state this will always be one of my favorite memories spent alongside my husband. We promised each other before we started we were going to make this experience fun! Though it was stressful and exhausting at moments trying to build with two toddlers around, I think we did a pretty dang good job completing the project with smiles on our faces and the best memories in mind. If we can work cows together, we can certainly build a tiny house together HA! Now that its all said and done, I love that the people closest to us all played a part in helping some way or another with the house, whether it was with work, watching the girls, or adding a tiny touch, I know I count my blessings twice for this tribe of people we have. I am beyond thankful Corey and I created this awesome sentiment for our kids, I know it about made my heart burst witnessing him pour his heart and soul into this project and really making my vision come to light.


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