|Project by mbfunke||posted 01-31-2014 06:12 PM||3629 views||2 times favorited||5 comments|
My daughter, Maggie, just turned three and I really had no idea what to get her. She already has all the cheap plastic junk she could want (and lots of expensive plastic junk too.) So I started looking online and I discovered that a bunch of people have turned closets into playhouses, reading nooks and the like. I decided this would be an ideal birthday present.
The only hitch is that I couldn’t sacrifice an entire closet to play space. We had a bunch of stuff stored in Maggie’s closet, but most of it would fit in her brother’s closet. But what about her clothes? Then it hit me, a playhouse with a closet!
Most of this was pre-built and then stored in the garage so that it could be a real birthday surprise. It took two days to install/finish and they were a fantastic two days because the kids helped tons. It was a real treat for us all.
The second story platform is made from two 8’6” long 2×4’s and cross braced with six 22” pieces. It is skinned on top with 1/2” ply and open on the bottom. It fit tightly enough to be self-supporting while I put 3” lag bolts into the studs. The bottom floor has a dividing wall skinned with 1/8” underlayment, which fits tightly underneath the platform and supports the closet hanging rod. A ladder made of 2×4’s leads to the top floor.
The facade was built using standard 2×4 construction and was skinned with 1/8” underlayment. I was worried the openings would look a little sloppy, but realized could just cut out the window and door wholes using a laminate trimmer with a flush cutting bit. It worked great and was super simple. Hooray for flush cutting bits!
At this stage the kids took a serious interest. The platform is trimmed with a carpet remnant matching the carpet in the room. (The carpet store tried to sell me a $200 piece of carpet before eventually selling me an $8 piece. Crazy, right?) The door, window and safety rail are cut down 2×4 attached with either trim nails or deck screws.
The part I am proudest of is the door. No plywood on hinges here. No sir. My daughter loves playing with keys and locks, so I was intent on giving her a “real” door. The door is hollow core. i made it by planning down 2×4’s, connecting them with pocket screws and skinning it on both sides with…you guessed it, underlayment. It turns out that sometimes that stuff has a pretty nice grain, so I coated it with poly.
The biggest surprise of the entire build is that the install of door hardware went flawlessly. I hand cut the hinge mortises and the handle/lock openings and then installed the door. It worked perfectly first time I nearly lost it I was so excited.
Now the kids have a playhouse and they love it. Winning!
I may make some barn-style closet doors for the closet eventually, but the wife says it’s not important so I also may not. If you do, let me know—I’d love to see them. :0)
-- Mike Funke