Woo-hoo! I can add “House Flipper” to my resume now. Does it matter that it was a playhouse? Yes, it probably does, but I’m still claiming it, haha. Either way, I flipped my very first *playhouse* thanks to Homes.com inviting me to participate in their Little Tikes Playhouse Makeover Challenge: Holiday edition along with 2 other talented DIY bloggers. But first…
Check out the BEFORE photo of the Little Tikes Cape Cottage Playhouse:
And here it is AFTER I gave it a Classic Winter Cottage Makeover for the Holidays:
At first, I thought I thought I’d replicate the all brick McCallister House from Home Alone, but adding faux brick hardboard would’ve warped over time and real brick veneer proved difficult with the plastic molding. So instead, I decided I’d make a classic Christmas Cape Cod home with winter wonderland vibes. I’m so happy with how this project turned out, but my kids might be even happier than me! They’ve loved playing in it.
My girls are 4, 5 and 8 years old so I knew that I wanted to make it as interactive as possible so that even my oldest would enjoy playing in it. That means I had to take it to the next level with sensory features such as: working outdoor lights, a battery-operated doorbell, wooden envelopes for the mailbox slot, a bubble blowing chimney, a chalkboard fireplace and even a Bluetooth speaker to blast those holiday tunes.
I kept the color scheme traditional & went with creamy white for the exterior walls, a dark brown/black for the roof, gray for the shutters, light blue for the doors and a metallic gold for the exterior light, doorbell, door handle and mailbox. All of the paints I used were Rustoleum 2x and the colors were: Blossom White, Dark Walnut, Stone Gray, Solstice Blue & Shiny Metallic Gold.
Here’s how you can transform your own playhouse:
First, unbox your playhouse. I opted to paint my pieces separately before assembly because I didn’t want to tape everything off to spray paint. There are 12 major pieces: 4 walls, 2 roof sections, 2 doors and 4 shutters with multiple clips and screws to hold it all together.
Spray Paint for Little Tikes Playhouse
To begin, lay your pieces on a tarp or drop cloth. Make sure you’re using the right type of spray paint – it needs to say it’s made for use on plastic and it should include a primer, too. Be careful not to spray too heavy-handed or else it’ll drip. A few light coats are better than one heavy coat.
When you’re finished painting, let everything dry for at least 24-48 hours before attempting to assemble. Even if it feels dry to the touch, the paint needs to cure fully. Your patience will be rewarded.
The mailbox protrudes a bit from the house, so I shaped paper towels around mine instead of using painter’s tape. Even though it was dry, I didn’t want to risk pulling up any paint.
The door is a bit slicker l than the rest of the house and scratches more easily so if I did this again, I would’ve used a primer underneath my first coat of paint. Instead, I just made sure to seal my doors well with a matte spray top coat.
The playhouse comes with cute sticker accessories, but the only ones I salvaged were the window stickers. I spray painted them black while still on the sheet, then splattered white paint on top to mimic the look of snowflakes.
Once everything is dry, you can assemble your house and get to the fun part – accessorizing! This is what takes your home from builder basic to completely custom!
Real Working Outdoor Lights
For the outdoor light, I spray painted a bronze fixture gold and attached a battery-operated puck light to the inside using a hose barb adapter. I cut off one side with a hand saw and used Gorilla glue to adhere the puck light. This way, I can easily remove the light when I need to change the batteries. It is a push on/push off light, so the kids love to play with it. I attached the entire light fixture to the playhouse with screws and scrap wood on the inside for added stability.
I also added fairy string lights around each window for ultimate Christmas vibes.
A Battery Operated Doorbell
Instead of using the flag holder that came with the playhouse, I opted for a doorbell instead. I painted it in the same metallic gold color and attached it to the house with double sided foam mounting tape. The receiver that makes the ding-dong noise is mounted inside. My youngest, Stella, begs for me to squeeze inside and answer the door so she can “wing the doorbell”.
A Bubble Making Chimney? Yes, please!
Since bubbles seemed a tad safer than say, a fog machine or dry ice, we built a chimney to sit angled on the roof line. It’s a wood box that I covered in faux brick paneling and added a brace to the inside that holds the bubble machine so that it’s level. This feature induces lots of squeals and giggles. It’s too high for them to turn on their own, which is how I wanted it. When they go outside to play, I’ll turn it on for them at their request. This involved a lot of trial & error so I don’t have plans for this, we literally build it just so that our bubble maker fit. It’s not my best work, but it’s imperfectly perfect.
Wooden Envelopes for the Mailbox Slot
The wooden envelopes get a ton of use from my girls. To make them, I just cut 4” x 6” rectangles out of ¼” MDF, then spray painted them white with 2 coats of flat white, then added the text details with permanent marker and vinyl. Finally, I sealed the heck out of them to withstand the elements.
All in all, this project has been an absolute JOY for the entire family!
DIY Wood Deck for a level playing area
Since our entire backyard is sloped, there was no where to put the playhouse other than our small patio and we want that space for outdoor living so my husband helped me build a small deck out of a few 2x6s for the frame and 1x6s for the top slats.
Time to put a bow on it and wrap this up:
To style the home, I opted for velvet red bows, a DIY doormat, a small Christmas tree and light post, then sprayed the garland on the light post with fake snow as well as the children’s boots to give some winter wonderland vibes.
Here’s one more look of the before & after. I’d love to hear your thoughts or answer any questions you may have! And a huge thanks again to Homes.com for inviting me to particpate in this challenge.