A Princess Playhouse for my two girls.

It features:

  • An Interactive Magic Mirror (See Separate DIY Magic Mirror Instructable)
  • Vintage Light Fixtures
  • Stained Glass Windows
  • A Built-in Bookshelf
  • Recessed TV
  • Sound System
  • In-Ceiling Speakers
  • Network
  • Phone
  • Faux Fireplace
  • Doorbell
  • Picture Rail Molding
  • Ceiling Vent
  • Gutters
  • Laminate Flooring & Baseboard

I should also add that I'm an electronics tinkerer/computer geek, this was my first construction project. I had great help from my Dad and lots of good advice from friends and the Internet. It took me 8 months. So if I can do it, so can you with the right help.

Yes I know, it's a little over the top, but if you're going to spoil your girls you might as well do it right :-)

Rough breakdown of the costs:

8x8 concrete slab - $200
wood and internal trim - $200
electrical wiring and panel - $100
speaker wire and in wall speakers - $100
roof shingles and flashing - $150
drywall - I paid someone to hang and mud the drywall $400
tv mount and tv - $150
vintage light scounces- $80
foam panel insulation - $80
pergo floor - $120
custom sized windows - $200
see http://diymagicmirror.com for parts and costs for the magic mirror

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Step 1: Plans and Framing

After some Googling for playhouse plans, this one fit the bill, http://www.woodmanor.net/Little-miss-playhouse-plans.html. The dimensions are 8x8x8 feet.

My Dad framed it in Oregon, took it apart, and then drove it down to my place in California where we assembled it together.

Step 2: Roofing

Picture of Roofing
vent opening.jpg
roof vent.jpg
Next up was the roof. Roofing pretty much sucks. I'd probably pay someone if I had to do it again.

After the roof was on, the playhouse became really hot inside. I added a roof vent to let the hot air out which cooled things down nicely.

Step 3: Electrical and Audio/Video Wiring

The electrical was fun although digging the trench was a back breaker. The playhouse has two AC circuits and a breaker panel attached to the back.

I also pulled in structured wiring combo cable (one cable sheath with 2 CAT 5e, 2 COAX, and 2 Fibers), speaker wire, and a whole lot of wires (using thermostat wire) for the sensors for the Magic Mirror.

Step 4: The Magic Mirror

The Magic Mirror is the center piece of the playhouse. Its interactive and responds to various sensors (proximity, touch, and reed switches) that are embedded within the playhouse.

The full Instructable on the Magic Mirror is here . I also recently finished a software product version of the Magic Mirror at http://diymagicmirror.com

Step 5: TV and Sound System

Picture of TV and Sound System
vent and speakers.jpg
grand concerto.jpg
The TV is recessed in the wall and attached with a flush LCD mount.

I had a Nuvo Grand Concerto whole house audio system already in the main house and had an extra zone so I just needed to run speaker and Cat 5 to wire the Playhouse for sound. The Nuvo Grand Conerto is very nice, they run $3,500 & up retail but you can pick one up off eBay for $2K.

I picked up the in-wall ceiling speakers from www.hometech.com that weren't too expensive ($80) and sound pretty good. The speaker grills are paintable to blend in with the ceiling.

Step 6: Insulation and Drywall

Since the walls are only 3.5" deep, I did some research to find the most efficient insulation by thickness which turned out to be the rigid foam type from R-Max. The thickest one I could find at Home Depot was 2". Its not cheap as far as insulation goes and runs $20 per 4x8 panel. It's very easy to work with though, just cut it to size and screw it in. Make sure to use a washer on top of the screw for more holding area.

The drywall was the one thing I had someone else do which I'm glad I did. I found a local guy who did it for $300.

Step 7: Lighting, Windows, and Door

My wife is quite good at finding vintage light fixtures on eBay. She then takes them to a local lighting guy in town who re-wires them.

Sylvania now makes a dimmable compact fluorescent bulb which you can see in the pictures, they work great.

Step 8: Floor, Picture Rail Molding, and Baseboard

I installed laminate flooring. There are plenty of good tutorials out there for installing laminate. Do be sure to leave a 1/4" at the edges to allow for expansion.

Picture rail molding has a small gap behind it that lets you hang a hook and picture frame. You can't really see it in the photos but using a high sheen oil based paint makes the molding really pop in contrast to the flat water based paint on the walls.

Be sure also to sand the baseboard & give the top a nice rounded edge.

One big lesson learned on molding & baseboard: Spend the $10 on an angle finder toolangle finder tool. I didn't figure this out until the last few cuts unfortunately. Many corners aren't exactly 90 degrees so this will allow you to cut the exact angles needed with your miter saw.

Step 9: Built-in Bookshelf

Picture of Built-in Bookshelf
space for built in cabinet.jpg
leila putting a book in.jpg
bookshelf clsoseup.jpg
inside bookshelf.jpg
The built in bookshelf has bead board on the back and sides. The shelves are stained & lacquered Redwood which are glued on the shelves notches with Liquid Nails construction adhesive.
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hamidu22 years ago
wow that is an awesome playhouse, my little sister would LOVE that
bajablue2 years ago
Beautiful work! What lucky little princesses!!!
CrLz2 years ago
Simply amazing! What an awesome gift!
tlanning4 years ago
This is Awesome! I wonder if I can do this?
alinke (author)  tlanning3 years ago
This was my first construction project ever. So if I can do it, you can too. What I learned is that construction is not actually that hard, it just takes time. The nice thing about doing it yourself is there is no rush, just take your sweet time and you'll be fine.
devilclarke5 years ago
hi this is wicked i just woundered do you have any schematics of the protosheil as i would like to make one of these for my young sister
alinke (author)  devilclarke3 years ago
here's the plans for the structure the playhouse plans were $35, here's the link http://woodmanor.net/Little-miss-playhouse-plans.html
bgarrett4 years ago
Very Nice, except the TV.
Doesnt that defeat the purpose of a playhouse which is to encourage the imagination?
alinke (author)  bgarrett3 years ago
i suppose so, the TV actually is more for me when I'm in there :-)
Sweet playhouse. As soon as I get an extra $1800 I'm gonna build one.
This is unbelievable, great job! You love your children so much, what a lucky pair of princesses!
KuRoKun5 years ago
OMG they have a better house then mine!!! hahahahahha
hahahaha then mine too!
DragonX7775 years ago
That is very artistic, and decorative.
Pinky2125 years ago
What a wonder playhouse!  I love the bookshelves using the space between the studs.  Did you choose the interiror decorating yourself?

I hope those two beautiful little girls know how special their Daddy is!!!

I didn't read every step (sorry -- no time) so maybe you said about the cost of the plans.  I didn't see that cost reflected in your "rough breakdown".

Wonderful details!  Come and build one for my granddaughter?  I'll do the interior decorating.  LOL
alinke (author)  Pinky2125 years ago
Hi, thanks, my wife did all the interior decorating, was a fun project for her, she bought some of the fixtures and other items on eBay

the playhouse plans were $35, here's the link http://woodmanor.net/Little-miss-playhouse-plans.html

yes the girls like it, its also quite popular with the neighborhood kids
njdjs5 years ago
WOW my grandbaby would love that. She would really love that mirror but WOW couldn't afford the hardware or software. It is very cool and ya did a wonderful job on it. Those are two lucky girls you have there.
alinke (author) 5 years ago
yes, if I re-call, I used 3 inch deck screws, the ones with the coating on them so they go in nice and easy, also had the star heads as opposed to the traditional philips
Coleman19775 years ago
Are the walls secured to the wooden base of the concrete pad?
I would like to do something like this. What should my estimated budget be?
alinke (author)  dianakcollins5 years ago
I didn't track the costs but here's a rough breakdown:

8x8 concrete slab - $200
wood and internal trim - $200
electrical wiring and panel - $100
speaker wire and in wall speakers - $100
roof shingles and flashing - $150
drywall - I paid someone to hang and mud the drywall $400
tv mount and tv - $150
vintage light scounces- $80
foam panel insulation - $80
pergo floor - $120
custom sized windows - $200
see http://diymagicmirror.com for parts and costs for the magic mirror

Hope that helps
Allowance105 years ago
when can I move In? LOL
shes getting tall should ahve made it a lil bigger then when they grow to old u can hide in it
Awesome design. You will be lucky to get the kids out of there for anything. Or, was that the idea in the first place?
how rich are U LOL magic mirror LOL if u actually made that and u are loaded
Crucio6 years ago
Fantastic project. It's great that your dad was so involved.

I particularly like the stained glass he made--an instructable coming for that? Please? ;)
GymMama6 years ago
I think the inside is nicer than my own house! Great job!
AMAZING MAN! love it :)
prolixia6 years ago
i don't know -- it's gorgeous, but isn't it a little.... much? i think of a playhouse as a place for filling in the gaps with imagination, not the consumption of all mod cons. it is lovely, but it seems to set the bar for "gimmee" awfully high.
Ahh shut up! ITS awesome :)
You must really love your children. Can you make me one? But bigger, and more manly?
hcold6 years ago
aeray6 years ago
Impressive project. About the baseboard: never try to miter an inside corner. Always butt or cope an inside joint.
christyw6 years ago
This is awesome. When I was a kid, I always wanted a house like this! great work!!!!
this is incredible!! very well done : )
CherreAnn6 years ago
Absolutely Gorgeous!!! I want to have kids just so I can build it! =D Or maybe I will just build it for me!!! ; D
Thanks for the step by step info on it! AWESOME! :D
cutekitten6 years ago
omg that is to awesome i want one myself
amando966 years ago
thats better than my house... lol i should make one of these for my Lab/bike-mechanicisms... would be cool
The house is beautiful. I was wondering, why not send it to HGTV to have it featured on television.
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