So many cubby houses, you’ll need to build a village

Kiddo by Modern Cabana

When I was very little my dad told my brother and I that there was a big surprise waiting for us – as soon as we could solve a cryptic clue. The clue was ‘The king and queen in their castle’. I can’t recall how many days it took us to work out that the ‘castle’ was in fact a new cubby house but I do remember the countless happy hours we spent playing in it. There are lots of fabulous cubby houses, or play houses, available. Babyology is taking a peek at the best cubby house designs.

One of my very favourite cubby houses, the Kiddo by Modern Cabana, was featured on Babyology last year (shown at top). The Kiddo was the equivalent of a ‘water cooler’ topic at my school gate as other mums and I pondered whether we could get a local builder to whip up something similar for our kids (the Kiddo cannot be shipped to Australia). Featuring modern lines, oodles of light and extras such as chalkboard walls and a fold down table the Kiddo is the perfect modern playspace.

Just as there are dream homes for grown-ups, there are dream cubby houses for kids. The Dutch designed Qb lets children do most of the design work – choose the colours of the walls, doors, windows and every detail, right down to the door knob as well as adding prints (above). Have fun with the design software on the Qb website to create your perfect playhouse.

Funky Bunky have designed a different kind of fantasy cubby – these look like they belong in a cartoon and children are sure to enjoy the weird angles, bright colours and quirky look.

I love the eco-friendly Phoyo playhouse by New Zealand architect Robin Hannah (above). Made of sustainably grown pine, the pieces of the playhouse simply slot together so no screws, nails or glue are required. The six pieces flat-pack away when the playhouse is not in use. It comes finished in a clear varnish or you can receive it bare sanded and add your own design.

For parents who are thinking ahead, create a playhouse that can one day serve as a backyard office, a parent’s retreat or a teenager’s bedroom (if you dare). Materialicious looked at a range of incredible ‘backyard office’ spaces that, although designed for work, could serve as a fabulous playhouse for a few years until the novelty wears off (above).

We have previously looked at some playhouses that are one-of-a-kind – built by creative parents or grandparents for the very lucky children in their lives. I’m sure that ‘Andrew’s’ cubby, featured earlier this year, sent many readers out to the shed to start similar projects, so here’s some more inspiration. Ruby’s playhouse is made almost entirely of salvaged materials and is a ‘split-level’ home. The house was built for Ruby by her incredibly creative parents, Jim Chinlund and Clare Crespo, who is the woman behind the Yummyfun Cooking series (above left). The simplicity and modern lines of the playhouse ‘Made by Joel’ are fabulous. Created for his twins, it features a chalkboard wall, lots of light and cool orange walls (above right).

In contrast is a traditional woven willow playhouse featuring fairytale-like spires (above). Created by an Etsy designer who couldn’t bear the thought of a plastic ‘Wendy house’ in her garden, she got busy with some willow twigs.

There are a handful of playhouses made for indoors from the very basic ‘tablecloth’ houses to cardboard or cloth cubbies and then more permanent structures.

Dutch designers Kidsonroof started the cardboard cubby craze with a simple, plain white design that children can decorate in their own way (above left). Other designers have extended the idea – the Villa Julia, designed by Javier Mariscal is a mid-century cardboard masterpiece complete with fabulous windows, ‘stone’ chimney and an opening door (above centre). There is also the colourful Ndebele house with a distinctive Aztec print (above right).

British designer Win Green has a range of beautiful, themed cloth playhouses. Each is appliquéd and embroidered in incredible detail from the fuel pump on the ‘garage’ playhouse to the opening and closing stable doors on the ‘riding school’ play tent (above). Or for something truly luxurious, the baby alpaca knitted Cabane by Lucky Boy Sunday would be a stunning addition to the playroom (below).

Lucky Boy Sunday Cabane

To have the space and the resources to build something such as this ‘kids’ house’ featured in Studiomama would be incredible (below). Designed as both a playhouse and a sleeping space the house features a chalkboard wall and Lego-inspired panels – the plans for this cubby can be purchased from Studiomama.

If none of these cubby houses fit the bill and you are looking for something a little grander, refer to our previous post on extreme cubby houses.

Please let us know in the comments below what cubby houses you have in your backyards, we’d love to hear from you!

Katrina Whelen

Katrina studied planning and design, did the hard yards working in a big office building and then traded it all in for a relaxing (!) life at home with four children. She now fills her time with writing, completing a degree in genetics and taxiing her children around Melbourne to their various sporting commitments (not necessarily in that order).

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