See more updates and a year later follow up here.
When we bought our house, they had this little section downstairs that was set up for a gas fireplace. But Russell didn't want one downstairs in the kid's playroom where they could mess around with it unsupervised. I wasn't really sure what to do with it. And it's looked exactly like this since the day we moved in 4 months ago:
Jonas' birthday was coming up and we decided to get him just one big present. I was thinking about getting him one of those plastic playhouses, but those seem to just become dirty and forgotten in the yard after some time. Plus I wanted something that they could play with in the winter. Then I saw this - which inspired me to build one over the existing framework for the fireplace! It was a little intimidating, because I've never built anything before. Never used a chop saw, jig saw, nail gun - but my father-in-law and brother-in-law helped me figure it out, and on Saturday Russell and I got started buying and cutting the wood.
4 days later and TA-DA!
This was really one of the funnest things I've ever done. I've always wanted to build something like this since I was little, and now I finally did! The only problem is now I don't want to stop. I'm looking at the kids' closets, going "hmmm... do they really need those closets?". It was so so much fun. But, it was messy, and it was kind of hard on my kids being a little ignored, mostly Gwen:
(her crying at my feet while I take pictures. Well, the left pic is crying, not sure what she's doing in the right. )
I took quite a bit of time really thinking out how I was going to build it, and taking a lot of measurements, figuring out a shopping list, and a cut list. And, even though I tried to cut all the wood in one day, I was glad that I found my Dad's chop saw in the garage, because even though I tried to be precise in my measurements... I wasn't. :)
I added to the fireplace framework and started nail gunning away.
I made a huge mess that Russell kept trying to clean up. I'm not sure when he's gonna learn to embrace the chaos. :)
More cutting, painting, sanding and... VOILA:
Here's some detail shots:
The window opens in. and there's a little battery touch light inside.
The mail slot is pretty fun. I think that's some play food they stuck in there. I guess it doubles as an oven.
And after all that work - the kids love it! But Jonas is disappointed that I haven't painted the ladder yet. Meh, eventually. I think I'll get some play flowers for the window box too... eventually.
The loft part has a foam camping mattress cut to size, and covered with canvas.
Here's some other cool things in the playroom. I love this vintage chair I got at an "antique" shop.
And I really love how this mobile looks with the finger painting Jonas and I did a couple years ago.
And now that we've got the playhouse - This is definitely the funnest room in the house!