DIY open-air playhouse + storage

This week on Stranger Woodworking Things, you’ll see how I built an entire house because I was tired of stepping on plastic fruit and naked babydolls.

It all started with a need for better toy storage. The longer I’m in this parenting gig, the more I realize that toys are best divided into zones. Sometimes, like in this case, you need to build the whole damn zone and direct them to it.

We were constantly rotating our daughter’s plastic play kitchen between her bedroom and the basement, while her doll cradle and highchair were sometimes two levels away. What happened when her dolls were hungry! Where should the bottles and bowls go — with the dolls or with the kitchen? It was total anarchy.

The worst part was the “stuff” that accompanied the dolls and the kitchen. I tried different storage bins but it was always a mess. Our daughter is not known for her cleaning skills — she’s more of a “dump and run” girl — and it drove me crazy. Instead of lidded bins that never seemed to get used, she needed a system that was even easier.

I rounded up a bunch of white shelves from an old bookcase we’d taken apart months ago and started seeing how they’d fit together. Armed with my new favourite toy, the brad-nailer, I built two tall bins and a third (with a hinged lid) to stack on the top. It was the perfect way to play around with making furniture because everything was already cut down to manageable sizes.

I prettied them up by glueing on a few laser-cut wooden frames and monograms, and painted the whole cabinet a pretty shade of mint (Fusion Mineral Paint in Ceramic Green.) My chalkboard paint had dried up, so I used a quick coat of dark grey (Fusion Mineral Paint in Ash) inside the frames to make little chalkboard labels for “Food & Dishes” and “Clothes & Bedding.”

Now, I could have stopped with the cabinet. I could have arranged it next to the play kitchen, cradle and high chair and called it a day. But I was deep into the Serial podcast and wanted to keep going. I wanted to build a whole house! …

Continue reading in my weekly DIY column, My Handmade Home …

 Continue reading in my weekly DIY column, My Handmade Home …

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