It’s that time of year again– time for another Little Tikes Cape Cottage Playhouse™ charity makeover with Homes.com! One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I adore this challenge. It’s like a house makeover that I can execute all by myself in just a couple of short days.
Our challenge this time around was to turn our boring ol’ plastic house into something for spring. We were given a few directives:
- It had to be practical. (I had to ditch my plan of covering the whole house in Peeps…)
- It had to have window boxes or planters.
- We had to create a piece of art or yard decor.
- We had to hide something fun.
I can’t wait to show you my Spring Cottage!
Step 1. Always paint
Paint is one of the ways I love customizing these play houses. After my last makeover, I learned a little something about what might work best. There’s too much texture on the house to sand the whole thing, but this time I cleaned it well with rubbing alcohol to remove any sheen or factory finish. De-glosser would have worked even better but I couldn’t find mine and was on a time crunch!
Once the surface was dry, I went over it with a few light coats of spray primer and, following the directions on the can, let the primer cure for 24 hours. The next day I went back and painted all four walls with exterior paint by Behr.
Step 2. Assemble the Walls
After the paint is drying, assemble the playhouse according to the packaged instructions.
Step 3. Add Thatching to the Roof
When I decided to recreate an English cottage, I knew I wanted a mossy thatched roof. In order to attach the thatching to the plastic, I needed to build a wooden frame. I’m using 1x2s and laid them on top of the Little Tikes roof to figure out the layout and the two angled pieces in the middle. I used pocket holes to attach the boards of the framework.
To attach the frame to the plastic roof, I drilled holes through the wood and through the plastic roof and then used machine screws and nuts.
With the wooden frame attached, the next step was relatively easy. I was unbelievably lucky and found these pre-dyed coconut husk planter inserts as a doorbuster at JOANN. I cut them into half and used a staple gun to attach them to the wooden frame working from the bottom of the frame towards the peak.
Step 4. Window Boxes
I knew from my holiday Little Tikes Cape Cottage Playhouse™ last year that these wooden CD holders fit the windows perfectly. To change the look a little bit, I used plaster strips to wrap the front of the window boxes. It adds a little bit of texture and, once painted, conceals the fact that these are simple wooden CD crates.
To attach the window boxes I drilled a hole through the play house and window boxes and then used the same machine screws. To give the window boxes a bit more security, I added a washer on the inside of the playhouse.
Step 5. Greenery
Any good English cottage is covered in flowering vines. Lucky for me, it’s spring so all sorts of lovely faux vines were available at the craft store. To attach the vines, I drilled two holes through the playhouse wall and used a zip tie to hold them in place. I filled out the vines with some individual branches of ferns and white wisteria.
Step 6. Benches
I built a pair of rustic wooden benches to flank the playhouse. They can either be extra seating or act as a place to display spring plants.
Step 7. Yard Art
Honestly, I had a tough time figuring out what would be fun yard art. Looking around my garage, I noticed a pair of pink plastic flamingos and figured I’d give them an update! I used reactive paint to make them look like oxidized bronze.
Step 8. Extras
I used a paint pen to turn a white subway tile into a door number (#7 for the 7 members of our family). Finally… did you spot my little “Easter egg”? Not a literal Easter egg, but my fun surprise for you! If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll recognize one of my favorite things.
I’m hoping to raise money for the Amos House Women’s and Family Shelter in Providence, RI. I helped design some of their apartments for women transitioning from homelessness and the work they do for the community is remarkable. With every Little Tikes Cape Cottage Playhouse™ I makeover, I want to try something new and this one is just as I envisioned. It makes me think of that movie, “The Holiday”! I’d LOVE you to vote for my makeover and help support the mission of the Amos House!