Instructables
Picture of The Clubhouse
Herein is described the clubhouse I built for my kids. The final product varied a bit from the plans, but that seems to be the nature of these things. I apologize that none of the photos have captions, but that tool just doesn't seem to work for me. Three machines, no luck. [Edit: Turns out it works in FireFox. Chrome and IE, not so much.]

It was conceived as a "kids playspace" that they could decorate as they wish, spill things without consequence, and generally have a haven from the concerns of the adults relating to not breaking things in the house. As such, I had to continually be reminded throughout construction that "This is a CLUBHOUSE not a GUESTHOUSE!!" because I'd get wrapped up in some silly cosmetic detail.

Our local museum center has a few spots that are outfitted to resemble a clubhouse or treehouse and I keep hoping that our kids will use found objects to "decorate" thier space in a similar, eclectic, fashion. Unfortunately, they won't leave the yard to go find things.....

In general, you are looking at an elevated deck topped with a small shed. The roof of the shed accomodates a garden that serves a purely decorative function, although there is some small stormwater runoff control benefit. It is high enough that I will not be getting up there to harvest vegetables on anything like a regular basis. Perennials and groundcover to suit your climate are probably the best. We haven't decided much yet.

Once the paint went on, I had a new concern. I'm afraid Ronald is going to come after me for trademark infringement. My neighbors keep knocking on the door and asking where their orders are. Well, the ones who are still speaking to me anyway.....

A word on legality: In my city, a child's play structure does not require a permit unless it is over 12.5' tall (oops) or enclosed (darn).
 
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ferbettes3 years ago
illucha vayu
ferbettes3 years ago
sorry da unnela thituna enakuthanta image spoil.
ferbettes3 years ago
periya customeru .unakelam oru customer iruntha ulagam vedichirum da.
Piperious9 months ago

I cannot view your clubhouse.skp file. I've downloaded SketchUp and SketchUp viewer but I just get a text file with unrecognizable characters. I use a Mac. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.

Margot

balloondoggle (author)  Piperious8 months ago

Never mind - I fixed it.

balloondoggle (author)  Piperious9 months ago

Okay, got a work-around: I don't know what the specifics are for a Mac, but on a Windows machine, right-click on the link and select "save file as..." Change the .tmp extension to .skp and it should open up. Google has moved on with newer versions of Sketch-up, and this one is a little older. You'll get a warning that if you save it in the new version, it won't work in older ones, but that isn't likely to be a problem.

balloondoggle (author)  Piperious9 months ago

I just tried the same file type on my canoe instructible and it worked properly, which tells me there is something wrong with this one. I'll see what I can do to fix it.

balloondoggle (author)  Piperious9 months ago

I just got the same thing, and I'm not on Mac. I wonder if the switch to a new format has altered the file somehow? I'll see if I can find the original and upload it again.

Thanks for reading!

monkeyhart59 months ago
About how much did everything cost?
balloondoggle (author)  monkeyhart59 months ago
It was around $1500 , but that was a few years ago now.
Filipp1 year ago
costs too much
digimancer4 years ago
 You gotta upload a photo of the garden of 12' sunflowers coming out of the top!
balloondoggle (author)  digimancer4 years ago
 I hope to sow seeds (and discontent!) in the next few weeks.  Stay tuned!
Sunflowers would be great! Twelve footers sound possible with a full season of fertilizer and watering at least an inch per week, maybe more. I saw some giant sunflowers grown with Llama "Nuggets" eh, ahem.   :)   Over at http://LlamaPoo.Com

Did you plant any in spring of 2010? I think most of us would love to see what you got.
balloondoggle (author)  DIY-Guy4 years ago
We got a few rather spindly 6' flowers up there, but it was so dry this year they didn't do well. I had some 12' variety "volunteers" elsewhere in the yard so I redistributed the results to the club house roof to grow next year. I also tossed up a few pumpkin seeds from this year's jack-o-lanterns, so we'll see what happens in the spring.
Have you seen information on "hanging pumpkins" where trellised vines have the fruit supported by netting and good anchor points? That clubhouse could be festooned with dangling pumpkins come next fall. :)

BTW, the sunflowers would need an inch of water per week, and maybe even an inch of water (with constant manure tea application) per day during the last month of the growing season. Be sure to do it once the flowers start to show petals.

In other comments "Idaho David" says 'you are a good Dad' and I agree, he's right!
balloondoggle (author)  DIY-Guy4 years ago
I'm more of a "hands off" gardener and in past years it's worked well for the sunflowers. I'm not growing them for harvest or anything so I'm not too particular.

I saw some hanging pumpkins at EPCOT in September and really want to try it. If the stuff I tossed up there actually roots and develops fruit, maybe we'll get a chance to try that out. There seems to be some debate over whether or not the seeds in commercial halloween pumpkins will actually result in a plant capable of fruiting however.

I've considered the three-sisters act, too - corn, squash and beans interplanted. No way am I climbing up there to harvest anything, but it would be fun to watch from the ground!
You could build steps up to the roof from the second floor with a massive gate to stop that kid you mentioned trying to jump off the roof :)
You might not have to climb up to harvest if you try "Yard Long" beans. They might hang down far enough to pick by pulling. :)
A good name5 years ago
I had a clubhouse almost exactly like it, but since we rarely used it we gave it to our neighbours, then, after we helped lug the f*cking thing over there, they decided the wood was too rotted to use, and they chopped it to pieces and threw it out, then built their own. I hate our god damn neighbours.
balloondoggle (author)  A good name5 years ago
Wow, that was a really insensitive sort of thing to do.  I hope you got to play in their new one a bit at least.
Re: A Good Name-
Could it be said that the creepy neighbors did things to lure carpenters?
Unleash the lawyers! Sue for "pain and suffering" after seeing your life work chopped to bits.

(Just kidding!) Oh how I do ache with sympathetic pain for your loss though.
hahahahahahahahahahaha, best thing I've read all day!
I dont think he will get the Lego Racer out. It will be there for the next generation.
digimancer4 years ago
Isn't that a bit dangerous???
balloondoggle (author)  digimancer4 years ago
 As long as you are comfortable with your tools and observe proper, standard safety guidelines, I don't think this project is any more dangerous than any other one here.  Probably the most dangerous part was repeated trips up and down the ladder.
 I was thinking the weight of everything on the roof being dangerous over time.
balloondoggle (author)  digimancer4 years ago
 Ah, I see.  The sort answer is "No!  No it isn't."  The longer answer involves loading, compression strength and materials.  Read on if you are having trouble sleeping.

I used conventional framing methods and materials, so from the start it is every bit as strong as your typical stick-built house.  When you consider that 2x4 studs on 16" centers can support a second story and an asphalt roof, then you start to see how strong this really is.  I put my studs and joists on 12" centers just to be sure, but I think I could put a king size water bed up there and it would be fine - as long as we behave ourselves in it.

The real weak point here, and the one that has me concerned for the longevity of the structure overall, is the foundation.  A house would be built on a continuous cement footer that is twice as wide as the foundation wall it supports.  This transfers load over "undisturbed" soil and gives the overall solidity necessary for the stud wall to remain in place while it does its job.  Our clubhouse was built on a post foundation identical to a deck.  The entire load is focused on 4 points in the sandy clay soil of my back yard.  That's not a problem for decks, even two story models.  The question becomes whether the combination of wet soil and plants mixed with the kids playing is enough to cause a pier failure.  Even if the answer is "Yes" it will not be a sudden, catastrophic collapse.  More likely is that some fine spring day I'll notice that it seems to be leaning a bit more than it did the previous fall and maybe it's time to pull that sucker down.

I have no doubt that the thing will topple over someday, but that day is many years from now and I really only expect the kids will be interested in it for about 10-12 years.  The more immediate concern is that the roof drain leaks and by filling a tub with soil I made it very difficult to repair the leak.  I should have used the roof to hold containers that can be lifted out - that 's the design pros use and the way we'll do it on an addition we are planning (to the home, not the clubhouse!).
Nice 1, Love it, as I`m sure your kids do.

In the unlikely event of any further subsidence, jack up offending corner or side and install a simple cross member at or below ground level, thus spreading load over large area.  Just like you have already done between the front legs,

I my humble opinion, the back legs could have run up to the roof, thus bracing entire structure.  If you do find any movement in frame, especially with the swing attachment. Brace the corners (where legs meet the deck) this will fix any sideways or twisting motions.

Well done, brilliant, inspirational job and thanks for posting.
wander-in5 years ago
Looks like a fun place.  A couple of things though.  Wood shakes need to have the roof at a slope of I believe either 4 : 12 or 5 :12.  If you don't, a high wind could peel them off.  Also how secure is it now?  To keep it from racking or tilting usually you would put at least one "X" brace on the legs.  I think you could get away with putting small 45 degree braces on both sides of the corners and that would work.  Ok, one last thing.  If you could of lined your roof garden box with single ply roofing that would really make it last.  Single ply roofing is basically swimming pool liner.
Looks very good, but if you want to protect your kids you could put asmall gated rail around the rope ladder entry. Worked for yearswhen I did my son's club house. Also a solid ladder to one side ofyour front deck would be a great addition. I am sure this will give yourchildren years of enjoyment.
balloondoggle (author)  CHIEFGR8TWOLF5 years ago
We were going to put a ladder in just like you say, for easier parentalaccess.  Then the kid down the street started jumping and wedecided to put up railings all around instead. 

Balloondoggle,
        I feel your delima. You want to protect your children without endangering your nieghbors. The addition of a slide to that side would eliminate jumping. And a small fence surround would keep out unwanted critters (4 legged as well as 2) and add an extra measure of security for your kids.  The best part of what you have done here is that when you get ready you can add swings and sandbox under the club, for all weather play.   Best of luck to you and yours.

Outstanding instructable, great parent! Like IdahoDavid, I, too, would like to live in something like it.

And ten extra points to Bob, provider of beverages, helper supreme, walking palindrome among men :-)
balloondoggle (author)  TheOlMaestro5 years ago
Bob has been indispensible on many projects.  Sadly, he has not undertaken any projects of his own that required my help, except that one time with the water heater.  His help has so far been unrequited.

He's my hero.
My pleasure, Rob.  You just needed a second hand on occasion. You were the man with the well thought out plan and the gumption to gofor it.  I admire your "who says I can't do this"approach to these projects and I learned a few things from you along theway, as usual.  And it's always fun helping out on these projects,especially when it's your money, lol.  The kids will rememberthis guesthouse, err, clubhouse  for a long time, well afterthey've outgrown it.
 Awesome parents! Awesome project! Thanks for sharing. My father built a fort for my brother and a playhouse for me maaaaany years ago. That was back when you could go to the local dump and scrounge for materials, which he did... yep! long time ago. Anyway, what does a project like this cost these days, if you don't mind me asking?
balloondoggle (author)  1-2BGardening5 years ago
I originally wanted to build it from salvaged materials.  Our local Easter Seals society runs a construction material reuse buisness, as does Habitat for Humanity.  Unfortunately, dimensional lumber of useable length seldom shows up at these places.  There wasn't much else I could use because of the scaled-down size.  A door intended for a room with an 8' ceiling will not fit a room with a 6' ceiling and I'm not about to put real glass windows on this thing!

The original budget was $1500 USD, but when all is said and done it will come a bit closer to $2k.  If I left off the green roof I could have used cheaper materials, but I wasn't about to risk that sort of loading on 2x3 studs.  That would have saved the cost overruns I think.  One of those cedar playsets that the pros come install would have cost about the same, but we had a lot more fun doing this.
This is a very good instructable, good idea :)
did you use SketchUp for drawing the first pic?
balloondoggle (author)  TechNerd10125 years ago
Yes, I used Sketchup for the full plan set.  The first pic is just a .JPG of the finished assembly before I exploded it for component details.

I can't recommend GSU enough for simple construction projects.  You can really fit things together in the virtual world and have measurements to work from so you don't have to risk arithmetic errors wasting your materials.  Plus, it's free!
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