Posted by: Small House Under a Big Sky Homestead | September 16, 2012

Playhouse Makeover

“Once upon a time there was a little playhouse near the big Allegan Forest where the three granddaughters played. Here were little red chairs and toys just for them. In fact, everything in this little house was just the right size for these little girls and they loved to play there every time they visited their hippie artist/gardener grandmother, in the deep Michigan woods.”

The freshly painted playhouse in the meadow garden.

Playhouses always seemed to me to come right out of the Grimm’s fairytales, so when I spotted this playhouse along side of the road with a sign marked, “For Sale $75.00,”I was already hooked.

The playhouse in its original drab “practical choice” country colors.

Call it playhouse envy but I’ve always wanted one in the garden and now that I have three granddaughters, I finally have my chance.

There is something about “playing house” for girls – of every age. Isn’t that how it all started for all of us? We start with little houses to practice for the big houses we now play with?

Here’s the journey of the “Little House Near the Big Woods” playhouse makeover!

After my grand-daughter was born, I began looking for a structure that could be moved and converted into a playhouse.  I considered vintage chicken coops, big box store garden tool houses, old barns and the like. But how to get them onto my property?

One day on my way to work, I found this house for sale along the side of the road with a “For Sale” sign attached to it. I screeched to a halt, plopped $10.00 down to hold it (all the cash I had in my purse) and made a promise to come back after work to pick it up. Our truck has a cap and I could only think of borrowing my neighbors open bed truck as a way of getting it home. But would it fit?

The true scale of the playhouse (before painted) in the garden under the birch tree and against the fall color of Maple and White Oak trees in our deep woods border.

Luckily we made it work and the playhouse found its new home in my meadow garden behind my art studio. I placed it under a river birth tree that I hoped could give it ambiance as well as filtered shade. I repurposed some colored cement blocks that used to provide a path to the pool making a new curving path to the playhouse through the flower bed for the girls to walk on.

This week I painted the playhouse. After considering various color combinations of pink, green, yellow and white, I ultimately choose three shades of green for a funky and fun look.

All three paint colors are from The nature Collection, Dutch Boy Maxbond, Exterior house paint from Menard’s. I need paint stand up to Michigan’s blazing sunshine, rain and cold winter snow. I didn’t intend to select  paint names that created a garden theme…it just happen like synchronicity!

What I used where:

  • Exterior walls of building – Antique Sage, N269
  • Window trim, stoop and window box – Basil Sage, N224
  • Trim – Texas Sage, N235

Playhouse in the foreground and my art studio in the rear of this photo.

A close-up view of the playhouses front porch from the side of the structure.

For now a playhouse. In the future, when the girls have outgrown it, a chicken coop.

My garden and my granddaughters have taught me valuable lessons at mid-life. And most important? You don’t need to be rich to enjoy the riches that surround you.

Small House / Big Sky Donna



  1. Love it! Great pictures!

  2. Thank you so much for your positive comments. I feel very lucky to have found this at such an affordable price. More photos in the fall planned when the sun shifts off the front of the building.

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