Wednesday, 21 July 2010

An English boy's home is his castle... ...

Well today was one of those day's, I had intended to go into the garden and carry on stripping the paint of the crib we got for our daughters dolls, however this was not to be, well not straight away.

After about half an hour of being outside we decided to open up the castle (yes I did say castle) it sits at the bottom of our garden, and was built with my own fair hands (well gnarly old hands) 
I built it 3 years ago now for my sons third birthday, and it's probably the best thing I've made, or at the very least it's the thing I'm most proud of.
He had always climbed into those plastic play house type things that some diy/garden centres sell, so I came up with the bright idea of building one.

I got a load of wood from our local builders yard, sheets of plywood and a load of 3x2, which I got cheap as it was old stock, and some big screws, and set about building the thing a couple of days before my sons birthday, which may have been a bit too close to be honest, but then forward planning isn't really my strong point :-)

The castle has sat un-used for the most part since his birthday, and today we decided to see what our youngest (2 years old) would make of it, as it turns out she loves it, so it may well get more use now ? I was surprised at how well it's weathered, to be honest I thought it may have suffered more than it has, I did cover it with a small tarpaulin just to make sure the roof didn't leak, even though I did take steps to water proof it.

It has some damp spots on the outside, which kind of adds to the outside look of it, but we will re-paint it with the grey coloured masonry paint we originally used (we actually had a colour made up for it) hopefully we will get it finished, I know, 3 years and it still isn't finished ! well the only thing left to do is to add some paint effects and maybe some bits of plywood around the door to make a stone kind of look, which are just extra touches really.

And here it is - 

Castle Mo.
It wasn't built from any plans, apart from the ones I had in my head for it, and basically it was built in 6 parts, those being the 4 sides, the roof and the floor.
The most complex part was the roof, which is essentially a wooden pyramid shape, and if I was to build another castle I would find another way of doing it, it was a pain to get it all lined up, but worth it in the end I guess.
The whole exterior of the castle was painted in a grey masonry paint, it's a textured one, which gave the thing an extra stone like feel, doors and windows were all cut out from the various sides and then fitted back in, and then I used an antique oak look wax we got from a pound shop, I also added wrought iron look fittings for the doors, handles and hinges.

Here's another picture, with one of my sprogs enjoying the castle.

Queen of the castle.

I had to include a drawbridge type feature, I had wondered about some kind of pulley so the kids could close the drawbridge, but decided against it in the end, I did have to add some steps to the drawbridge to make it easier for the kids to climb up, although as it turns out I had to make the steps larger as there wasn't quite enough wood for the kids to get their feet on.

Another picture.

King Mo.

If you look closely you can see one of the small windows I added to let some extra light into the castle, there's one on each side. but apart from the door and windows there is no other light source, so I'm thinking of converting a couple of solar powered garden lights to add some extra light inside when the door and windows are closed.

We chose a nice spot for the castle, it sits at the very end of the garden, by the pond, we've created a kind of grotto at the bottom that's surrounded by trees, it's nice and peaceful to sit there of an evening with a glass of something, or a cup of tea.

So if you want a good sturdy (this is very sturdy) and easy to make play house for the kids, why not build them a castle too.
I am working on some plans for the things I've built, and time depending I will eventually get them on here as well, so you can see how to build things like this.

Thanks for reading.


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