Backyard Playhouse Renovation

A few months ago my daughter and I were daydreaming and designing some renovation ideas for her backyard. By southern California standards, it’s quite large, and with young children at home, they pretty much live outside. The kids play in the playhouse area, and the family spends much time in the backyard. I scheduled a trip to fly in for a long weekend to build an outdoor kitchen area for her. A week before my trip, I got this via text message:

Plans for the playhouse in the eyes of a four year old
plans for the playhouse from the imagination of a 4-year-old

A Change of Playhouse Plans

Gwen, my granddaughter had drawn a picture of her play structure transformed into the perfect playhouse. Currently it was less than exciting, with no roof on the upper half, and a useless built-in picnic table on the lower half. Normally the text messages I receive from my daughter are one of the kids blowin’ up my phone with emojis, but this one changed our plans! We were going to transform their play structure into the perfect little playhouse, the outdoor kitchen could wait.

before our “renovation”

Packing and Planning

I packed my tools, made a list of others for my daughter to borrow, wrote a supply list, and headed to the airport. Our plan was to first stop at Home Depot, (after a lunch at In n’ Out first, duh) buy our supplies, and then head on over to get started.

It took a bit of wood, two days to construct, three Diet Cokes, a few hours to paint, and we had a perfect little house for the girlies to play in. Basically I just removed the old picnic table, and covered the lower four sides with cedar fencing to create the playhouse. With a new corrugated roof on the top of the backyard structure, it was feeling like a real fun play area. And yes, I slid down that slide about 47 times. When wearing long pants, you have to put your feet out to slow yourself down or you just fly right off and land on your butt. Learned that the hard way.

I cut a story book door for one side, built a new ladder for another (the old one was more like stairs and taking up too much space) with a small window and shutters that open and close, and cut a large window space for added light (otherwise it was like a cave). My son was in town and stopped in for a visit. He pointed out that the big window should be open so the kids can’t close all the windows and do something “sketchy”, whatever that is. Of course, leave it to the sketchy one to come up with the idea, but he’s probably right. So the shutters on the big ‘window’ are actually fixed to the body.

In a matter of days, thanks to the wonders of online shopping, we had all the needed accessories for creative play. We ordered a new wheel, telescope, and handle set, along with a bell to ring, a mailbox for all their artwork, and a large chalk board for the back fence. I even had plenty of paint to update their current child sized IKEA picnic tables. (Color used: Cornflower by BEHR)

updating an old play area
every little playhouse needs a doorbell and a mailbox don’t ya think?

After returning home, and while the Coronavirus scare was building, I got a text message a few days later from my daughter. She sent a picture with this message: “It’s seriously such an incredible blessing that you did the playhouse right before this crazy quarantine. They were outside for forever playing today.” And then the best part, “They love it and you.” I could pretty much die happy now (but let’s hope that doesn’t happen, since the Coronavirus is real and rampant.)

I keep these pictures the girls made me awhile back by my bedside to remind me that I am loved by my littles far away (I have five more little blessings that live close to me that I see quite often and get lots of hugs and kisses and “I love you Mimi”.)

These days, with the current global pandemic halting life as we know it, it’s not hard to reflect on the things that are most meaningful in life. I may not know how this whole quarantine thing will turn out, or how long it will go on, but there is one thing I do know. My name is Mimi, and right now, I’m feeling like the best.

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