The Princess Playhouse




About: Al is a wearable tech entrepreneur and creator of a line of smart phone controlled LED handbags With 22 years of experience in the IT industry, Al is currently Senior Director of Info...

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 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, 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

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

Step 5: TV and Sound System

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 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

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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    60 Discussions


    1 year ago

    This is truly awesome! My dad built me and my sister an amazing playhouse kind of like this growing up, and now I'm trying to recruit him to help my husband and I build our kids one. :) I dabble in stained glass, and I'm wondering about how you put the stained glass windows in, if you found those already made and built the window shape around them or vice versa, how you installed them, did you protect the outside, etc. etc. - basically anything you can share about that process. I sure would appreciate it! And like others have said - you're a great dad!

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    Hi , thanks for the kind words. My dad made them , he’s into stained glass. He did the glass and then mounted the glass in a wood frame and then we made openings to fit in the playhouse including drywall on the inside. Didn’t do anything to protect the glass and that has been fine but have needed to recoat the wood frame on the outside with polyurethane a few times. Good luck!


    3 years ago

    Nearly completed - still need to put in some hexagon windows and fix the soffit!
    Is there any regrets you have or improvements you can recommend in hinds sight, before i finish it off? Particularly ideas about power in it.
    For anyone planning this project save your money and avoid buying the plans. Sit down with a pen and some paper and work it out.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    very nice! thanks for sharing. the only thing I wish I would have done different is making the front door a bit taller (which looks like you did?). What electronics and sensors are you putting on the inside?


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    9 years ago on Step 9

    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

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    here's the plans for the structure the playhouse plans were $35, here's the link


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Very Nice, except the TV.
    Doesnt that defeat the purpose of a playhouse which is to encourage the imagination?

    1 reply
    David McWhite

    7 years ago on Step 9

    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!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    OMG they have a better house then mine!!! hahahahahha