Posts tagged cubby house
The cubby house that love (and lots of recycled timber) built - progress report

 Just to keep with our current trend of taking forever to finish things, here is a peek at another unfinished and s-l-o-w going project: a cubby for the kids. Just like last time, we decided to make it ourselves out of as much recycled timber as we could. So aside from buying the concrete, the saddles (? those metal things you put in the concrete for the main structural beams to sit in), and a few pieces of timber for the main frame, we've pretty much created a hodgepodge cubby house out of scrap materials we've found in various places. We've used bits left over from our own renovation, we've picked up fences people were throwing away, have raided council clean-up piles for long lengths of flattish wood for cladding and stolen bits and bobs from our families. One neighbour gave us his old architraves and skirting boards; the other neighbour donated old gates. An eBay slippery dip that just cost us petrol money to get was erected to one side; a found old timber ladder is screwed to the wall to allow the kids to climb to that platform for the slippery dip or the pole from our front porch that is now a fireman's pole. A tyre we rescued from the water was strung up off the small pergola and tied with rope from our boat's old anchor which is still at the bottom of the sea after getting stuck one day and being cut loose. We're planning to paint coloured polka dots on the tyre for fun and spray paint the pole in rainbow stripes using the stupid amount of paint I've stockpiled in recent years. 

This weekend just gone, we finally got around to laying the floor. Well Steve laid the floor. I helped  with the measuring then took one of our many children to one of many parties that they get invited to (all those estimates on what it costs to raise children? Do they include all the presents for their friends you're meant to purchase over their childhood as well? Cause those things add up!). Anyway the floor is a very uneven mismatched surface made from two different gates from next door. The panels were different widths, thicknesses and some had weird ridges so it's certainly not the smoothest floor going around, but they can stand on it and play. A lack of a roof and interior walls did nothing to stop the kids from moving in yesterday - Zak even hung a picture or two...

Even the broom and timber rocking chair were roadside finds (I scored a mid-century extendable teak dining table yesterday too. Yay!) and the chandelier was given to us by a neighbour at our old house for our first cubby.)

We thought about leaving the walls as is on the inside - the kids use the studs as shelves! - but they can also push out the cladding and some of the other walls are scarily hideous with all sorts of random bits of wood. No carpenter is ever allowed near our cubby!

Today I mixed up a bunch of black and grey paints I had leftover and gave the floor its first coat (it had a bit of a sanding yesterday). As soon as it was dry, off they went, dragging half the house in there with them and stayed out until after the sun went down.

Seeing as the finish line is in sight and they are so keen to play in there, I think we'll get a move on to finish it off. Famous last words! But tomorrow we'll paint the door (I said the kids could help - God help me) and I think some curtains are in order, solar fairy or cafe lights (seeing as the roof will again be clear - they should work well here!) for nighttime playing, and some scrap-fabric cushions and cheapie rug. So far it's been used as a shop, a tap-dancing stage, a house, a school, a movie theatre, a weapons storage bunker and general hang out spot. Tt was perfect timing getting that floor down in time for the holidays - yay!

This little house has been nicknamed "The Grubby House" (The Graham Cubby House). The previous one was "The Grugly House" (The Graham's Ugly House). I think this one might be slightly uglier, but we needed a new name so Grubby House it is. And oh boy, will it get grubby with my lot! It's going to cop a beating this cubby, which is kinda the point. x
welcome to... our (mostly) recycled wood cubby house

It’s done! Well aside from christening it with a sign out the front “The Grugly House” (The Graham’s Ugly House), Zak and Layla’s little cubby is finished. It’s been played in, eaten in, fought in, messed up and already had knob hooks pulled off and the curtains flown out the window as a flag. So basically, they love it and are enjoying it just as we hoped they would.

For those who don’t know, we set out to build the cubby as much as possible out of recycled wood. It started when our fence blew down in a storm and I thought it’d make great cladding. Then Steve got super-excited and started scavaging around for bits and pieces. Aside from a few structural beams, concrete, screws and plywood, the whole house – and some of the furniture – is made from found materials. Inside the walls is a carpenter’s nightmare – all sorts of scrappy, mismatched timbers – but it very much solid and structurally sound and covered, so the insides don’t matter anymore!

We used parts of a bedhead (roadside find) for the door and window frame; the window is cupboard doors from a TV cabinet (roadside find); the lamp on the outside is from the garden of our old house; the floor is wood from the nearby school they were throwing away, a friend’s leftover decking and our old stair rail; the roof is clear Laserlite and used to be our front porch. It’s UV and makes the little box extremely light as it’s see-through and though it can be hot on scorching days, if the door and windows are open, it’s breezy enough. I love that they can see the sky from inside – I want a clear roof!! Inside the walls is wood from everywhere.

As we started the finishing touches – beading to patch up the plywood, we realised just how, um, non-professional we were. So instead of fixing all our big spaces and weird off-measurements, we played it up a little by leaving gaps, breaking up the beading and gluing it on a little crookedly, not spak-filling the screws and just making it a little worse for wear. I deliberately didn’t paint the back of the door properly – to give it a little rustic feel – and we left the floor pretty uneven despite planing it as we just couldn’t be perfect!

I painted the whole inside with Whisper White we had leftover and the floor with leftover cabin paint. You’ll no doubt recognise the bunting, some of the chairs, deerhead and the wallpaper used ad nauseum inside – I had lots of scraps so might as well use them up – I don’t change my MO much do I?! I just cut out a few animal shapes and used spray adhesive to stick them to the wall. We had a plain mirror from IKEA the kids and I painted and decorated with leftover letters we randomly stuck on and I used the knobs from Layla’s dresser on the back of the door (glued them onto nails hammered into the door) for little hooks for their bags and apron.

I made the little table out of cut-down table legs I’d bought ages ago for a project that never eventuated and the top of an old IKEA toy box that was so ancient it finally fell apart. We painted it with the leftover paint from my craft table makeover and I mixed up some pink paint for the stool just to see Layla’s eyes pop out of her head in excitment about a pink stool. I whipped up some curtains from a Dandi tablecloth and just used a piece of dowel from Zak’s party to hang.

 The corner cabinet was a wall cabinet from our old kitchen. I”m not sure why we still had it but it got a lick of paint and is a temporary kitchen/shelf/cabinet until I can either make one or find something to transform into a mini oven/stovetop etc. I thought I’d found something – an old wooden planter – but it was a little too busted up. Even for our Grugly house!
And of course the finishing touch is the chandelier – the lady next door was throwing it out and pulled it back off her council clean-up pile to pass it over the fence in the hope we could use it. COULD WE?! Turns out it’s almost worth more than the cubby itself and everything inside it! I love it! And am not painting it as I originally thought I might…

 So there we have it – I hope it was worth the (very long) wait. The kids seem to think so – as did all their little friends who came over for mother’s group today and played. Until it rained and then it was much more fun to dance around in the rain in their undies. Hilarious.
Belinda x

{Images by Belinda Graham for The Happy Home}