extreme play house

In the mid-70s my dad built us a two story wooden play house.   He and his best friend saw the play house plans in a magazine and decided that they should build two – one for each family.   They did build two that summer.   Does building play houses in bulk actually saved money on lumbar and labor?

Here is a picture of my brother and I in 1976 playing on our finished two story wooden play house.   Our playhouse had a more rustic western feel – hence the saloon doors.   Theirs had real windows, doors and carpet.   If I remember correctly, both dads used the lower floor as a shed.

The second story was all ours.   The ladder lead to a spacious front porch that lead to the fireman’s pole.   The saloon doors opened back and forth (like all saloon doors should) to a rectangular room with two window openings.

We spent most of our time on the porch and the fireman’s pole because through the saloon doors there had been sightings of spiders.

Big, hairy spiders.

Or so the legend went.

Behind our beautiful two-story wooden play house was a hill covered with trees where the most amazing swing hung.   It’s thick rope stretched up as high into the trees as I could see.   The ropes were so long that it was hard to reach the top of the swing arch with 6 year old swing pumps.   When I finally was able to swing as high as possible, the swing went out over the hill so my toes could almost touch the treetops.

Beside our beautiful two-story wooden play house was a sandbox.   My dad brought in bag after bag of sand.   A few days later he built a cover after the realization that a sandbox at the edge of a forest is really a litter box for neighboring wildlife.

In the middle of the Michigan winter I would climb up the ladder in layers and layers of winterwear and push open the saloon doors with abandon…big, hairy spiders didn’t inhabit two-story wooden play houses in the snow.

That was 35 years ago, but I recently found out that this structure was just a warm-up for my dad.   He is now in the middle of a much bigger project that doesn’t rely on four solid posts sunk into the ground with concrete – that is child’s play.   He has moved up to the trees…

Tune in tomorrow for the first unveiling of extreme tree house.


  1. OK…is he building ANOTHER tree house?

    And I was born in 1976, The end.

  2. Holly, this brings back such happy memories! Our dad also built the neighbors and us two story playhouses! (wonder if it was the same magazine?) They met over the top of the fence with a “patio” that connected, and they had real doors and windows. Wooden stairs (not ladder) led to the top and 30+ years later, that thing was still in use and looking good. 🙂

  3. Just adding on to what you have seen…

  4. HOW COOL! I love it. I would love to see pictures of the playhouse.

  5. Hi there. I love your tree house. What fun! Wish we had one of these when we were kids. My friend had a cute little playhouse though, so we enjoyed that. Like a tiny dollhouse, one floor. I have a big expensive Rainbow backyard set for my kids now and I play on it with them. Something to be said for reliving your youth.

  6. That is one rad playhouse. I woulda cut off my matching-to-yours pony tails to have that bad boy in my backyard!! 🙂

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    God Bless You ~Ron

  8. Wow! I can’t wait!

    Looks like you had a child’s dream yard when you were growing up! I was lucky, too: I had a sandbox and a swingset… and a small swamp like area with REAL frogs. We also lived next door to a farm that had live pigs, chickens and turkeys.

    (used to be reluctant housewife… hi!)

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