My First Flip (play) House

Flipping houses has been a bucket list goal for me for a long time. I’ve been saving up the capital to dive into one of these projects, but let’s be honest; when you have a three year old in daycare, that really kills the flipping savings account fast!

During one of my (many) sleepless nights I stumbled upon this dilapidated play house on FB marketplace. A steal for just $100. But let’s be honest, they really should have just paid me to disassemble this mossy old thing and haul it off for them.

I brought my little guy with me to pick it up and despite my gut telling me to run and find a different project, it was too late. His face lit up with excitement and my heart nearly exploded. Two hours and a bunch of dead spiders later, this crusty old play house was crammed into my Jeep in a million bits and pieces. No doubt there is family of spiders still living in my car plotting to scare the $#!% out of me some day.

So now what? How on earth was I going to breath life back into this pile of kindling? I started by pressure washing every single inch, which simultaneously eradicated the last of any spiders that were bold enough to stick around for the car ride. Then I let it dry out in the sun.

To be honest, I thought this is where this project would die. But to my surprise, cedar really is an amazing building material. It cleaned up beautifully and once it was fully dried, I felt hopeful enough to pump some more of my flip house capital into this giant question mark project.

For new readers (hi, by the way), we live in the Pacific Northwest. That equates to way too much rain to even consider not treating this wood with at least 60 coats of quality exterior paint. Also, because we live in a townhome, where the yard is highly visible, it needed to reasonably blend with our home. Those factors made paint selection pretty simple: I used the exact colors we selected when we built our house.

All Colors by Sherwin Williams

Here’s a shot I snapped of our house this past winter. For reasons I can’t explain, the Cast Iron looks like mud and the classical white appears yellow on swatches, but in application they are much cooler toned and are quite pretty.

Before I could even consider putting a drop of paint on anything, I did the right thing and properly sealed it with a heavy duty primer. The white primer had me feeling all the Joanna Gaines magic, but then practicality set in: there were zero chances a three year old boy was getting an all white playhouse.

The next task at hand was getting color application situated. I started with the roof and the door, then worked my way into the body color and lastly the trim. I tackled this project with brush and roller application, but swore the entire time that I was going to invest in a paint sprayer for all future projects, because let me tell you – this. was. tedious!

Next came the fun stuff. Most playhouses you’ll find out there are catered to girls – which is great – but I have a boy and while he totally digs pink and purple, I wasn’t about to glam out his house. I kicked around a few ideas and ultimately settled on a cabin theme; which was perfect because Target had a bunch of great finds in their dollar spot area that week.

In addition to the cute items above, I also found a mini camp lantern, plush campfire and a couple of adorable camp mugs to round out the theme – all from Targets dollar spot.

Overall I was really please with the way the cabin was turning out. But I still had to find a home for it in our postage stamp sized yard. Placing it directly on the ground was not an option because the ground is almost always saturated with water and that would just lead to rot.

What it really needed was a deck to keep it off the ground. I had seen a few variations of sandboxes with decks that I wanted to tackle as a separate project and saw this as an opportunity to dive into that project.

Building the deck was a risk because without proper permitting we could get flagged with a violation from our HOA and our city. I did some sleuthing and determined that as long as it was a non-permanent structure, we would be okay. I will add a separate post about that project in the future to share all of the details. But overall it was a really simple and straightforward build that I was able to complete almost entirely by myself over the course of a weekend.

So that’s it. The whole project (excluding the deck) cost about $250 all in (including all the cute toys and decor. Would I do it again? Yes! Would I rehab a dilapidated playhouse again? Sure. It was so worth it to see our little guy light up with delight and the amount of fun he has had since then in his personal play area of the yard is worth every drop of sweat and dollar!

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