Introduction: Shed/Playhouse

About: I am an engineer who enjoys tinkering with projects in my spare time.

After we moved to a new house I needed to build a shed. As the designing processes got underway I decided (ie. was told) that the shed "could not take up half the yard", so with that in mind I started my design. We really only had one corner of the yard that a shed would even fit, and because our kids were coming into the 'playhouse' age category, I decided to build both in a shed/playhouse combo. And because it had to be positioned in the corner of our yard I decided to try and make it a cool looking yard feature.

Previous to this, a friend of mine found an old yellow curly slide buried deep under junk in some guys yard while buying a trailer off him. He asked if it was for sale and the guy said he could have it. My friend blasted out a text to see if anyone could use it and I was the first to text back, so he loaded it up on his new trailer and brought it over. So I started my sketches around this slide.

Most of the ideas I found on the internet did not satisfy the coolness factor I was looking for so I started from scratch. I ended up with a smallish (7ft x 10ft) mostly rectangular shed on the bottom and a curvy playhouse with a balcony on top.

Step 1: Building the Shed

I don't have many pictures of the base because I was raring to get going. But after building a base out of pressure treated 2x6's and a 3/4" plywood floor, I framed the shed wall with regular 2x4's. My boys 'helped' me quite a bit which was great but it ended up extending the build time by quite a bit.

My design called for the small side section of the shed to have a curved roof as well as the top of the door and window. I cut these out of 2x6's or 2x8's depending on the curve.

My son helped me 'stress test' my construction by showing off his new pull up skills.

Step 2: Balcony

After the shed section was framed I started on the balcony. This was built with pressure treated 2x6's again and over hangs the front and the side by 3ft. You can't tell by these photos but the front board is curved as well. I accomplished this by kerfing the 2x6 every 2 inches.

I also sheeted the walls of the shed with 3/8" plywood to give the structure more rigidity before starting on the playhouse section.

Step 3: Building the Playhouse

I designed the curves so they could be cut out of either 2x8's or 2x10's. To make sure my curves were right I used AutoCAD to determine my radius's so I would not screw things up. To mark the radius on the wood I used a pencil on a string that was measured to the correct radius.

Up to this point (and after the project was complete) I was happy with the decision to have curved walls. From this point until the project was complete, I hated the decision to have curves in the design.

Construction came to grinding halt at this point because of the curves and moved very slowing during the next stages of the playhouse. I cut each stud out of either a 2x8 or 2x10 with a jig saw. I had to use FIR 2x10's as Home Depot did not have Spruce 2x10's in stock. This FIR wood was extremely hard and took a very long time to jigsaw through. The roof curve was done this way as well and I needed 8 curved pieces as per my design. Maybe there was a better way to do this but at this point I don't want to think about it anymore.

After many long hours, and a sore wrist, my jig sawing was done and I got to work framing up the play house section. The top plates of the walls were kerfed 2x4's.

Step 4: Walls and Roof

After framing everything, finally, I sheeted the top with 3/8" plywood and added pressure treated 2x6 boards to the balcony. I also built and hung doors.

The roof was made using the curved pieces I had cut earlier. I needed eight curved pieces, four on each side, two boards wide. In between these curved sections I installed 2x4 beams and then attached plywood on top of that.

Step 5: Siding and Railing

My next step was to install the slide. Because I had this slide before I began the project, I had measured an exact height of for the slide, and built my playhouse height accordingly. The entrance to the slide is inside the playhouse so I had to cut out a hole in the plywood and a section out of the curved studs.

I decided to use vinyl siding for the whole structure and some plastic faux rock panels for the bottom half of the shed front. I looked into better faux rock but decided the kids might wreck it and went with some cheaper stuff.

For the railing posts I used pressure treated 4x4's. To make the curved 4x4 posts I took a 4x4 and cut it into 1/2 strips. Then I glued them back together in layers and clamped them into a curve using a jig I made. I don't have any photos of this process because I was still in the frustrated 'why the hell did I use curves' stage of the project. After the glue was dry on these I put them through a planer to smooth out the sides. This process worked quite well.

The straight posts are just 4x4's and the railings are pressure treated 2x4's.

After this I finished the siding and trim and installed 1/4" plexi-glass for the windows.

I then built a stepladder on the back side so the kids can get up to the balcony. At my wife's request the stepladder is broken up by a platform, so there will be less injury when a kid inevitably falls while climbing up.

Step 6: Finishing

My finishing steps were to install some 3/4" nylon rope into the balcony (to prevent nasty falls) and shingle the roof. I used roll shingle for this. It is not the best looking shingle but I was worried that regular shingles might give me problems due to the low slope on the roof. Also, you cannot see the roof from any vantage point in our yard so it didn't really matter.

When I installed the shingles, and the plywood walls, I made sure that the screws or nails only went into the framing so that there would be no protrusions on the inside that could poke someone.

The last step was to load up the shed with junk, clean up the mess I had made and let the kids enjoy the playhouse with some of their friends.

Overall I am happy with the way this project turned out. It has the right amount of coolness I was looking for and I am now over hating the curves. My only complaint would be that the shed is too small, but I think that even if it was 20x20ft I would be saying that.

The kids are enjoying the playhouse and I think I will finish the inside next year. Also, the neighbour boy comes over a lot more now.

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