This is the Lantern House … My 2014 design that was built and submitted to Dallas CASA for their Parade of Playhouses Charity event. I have been doing these playhouses for 7 years and I think my entry into this years event is one of my favorites. It meets all my personal playhouse criteria and despite the fact that a majority of the people who will see it will mistake its clarity for simplicity, it was constructed so well that I’d be happy to put this into my own backyard.
The picture above is the finished product while it was still sitting at the construction site where it was built.
This is one of the original design drawings for the playhouse – looks pretty similar to the finished product … funny how that works out. There was a fairly significant design modification from the original design to the final product. I decided to eliminate the cedar shakes on the exterior along with the exposed building framing. Once I started considering how I was going to detail that out in a way that would keep the playhouse in good shape for years to come, I decided a change needed to be made and I clad the framing with 1×10 cedar boards running up and over the exterior of the playhouse.
I am very happy with how that decision played out.
I need to give a huge thank you to the contractor on this project – BufordHawthorne homebuilders. I have mentioned before that the cost to build these playhouses is a design criteria for me and that all my playhouses need to be designed with consideration on how they are to be built so that the playhouses are affordable. I think I owe that sort of financial consideration to BufordHawthorne considering that they donate their time and their money to support this cause. I must be a doing a good job because they have built a playhouse for me every year for the last 6 years.
They rock … and I’m not talking about sheet rock (although they do that as well). As always, here’s a walk-thru on the construction process –
This is Dan “The Man” Fancher from Buford Hawthorne homebuilders and he was the guy responsible for getting this years playhouse built. Dan did a terrific job and one more than one occasion, I had to tell him something was okay, that something didn’t need to be replaced … he wanted perfection.
I always build my playhouses on a deck made out of pressure treated lumber for the supports and then top it with cedar. I even wrap the exterior face of the structure with 1×6 cedar as sacrificial boards so that the grass can grow right up to the playhouse and you don’t have to worry about weed whacking the bottom in a way that can’t be easily fixed should you choose to do so.
All the hidden framing was done in Southern Yellow Pine #2, but all the exposed framing was done with 2x cedar material.
The interior of the playhouse is framed out in unfinished medium density overlay 4×8 panels and the exterior is covered in 3/4″ exterior grade sheathing.
I have used G90 metal siding for the flashing on the playhouse. I like the gun metal gray and since I am not finishing the cedar out in any way, it will silver and gray over time and will match perfectly with the flashing.
In this picture, you can see the cedar framing quite clearly. I pulled the sheathing back on this entry side of the playhouse to create some visual interest as well as highlight the manner in which this playhouse was framed.
The cedar slats were wrapped on the interior face of the entry and I was very happy to see that the guys installing the slats paid a considerable amount of attention to make sure that the pacing was consistent all the way around and everything align just right.
I love it when that happens.
I actually have a running joke with this particular contractor … actually it’s his joke, but whenever I stop to point something out in the drawings, some detail that I want to make sure he knows is incredibly important to me, he always responds “will you be okay if we build it like you tell us? So if I follow the drawings, that would be good?”
Such a joker. Yes … following the drawings is a good thing. Carry on.
We didn’t want the screws to read too strongly on the exterior so the slats were installed using finish brads. We had to add a couple more in a few areas – so if you get up close you can see them with no problem – but from a few feet away, this attachment method allows the geometry of the playhouse to remain pure.
Nerdy? Sure is … that’s how i like it.
This is a close up look at the entry door framing and how it meets the deck. Pretty straightforward but it’s nice a clean.
Here is a detail shot of the where the 1×10 cedar boards roll down from the roof to the wall … we angled the edge of the roof board so that we are able to maintain the shape. I love it!
So here it all is put together. I am very happy with how the structure is expressed, it’s not a hot box of death, the longterm maintenance will be ZERO and it was extremely cost-effective to build.
How effective? I’m going to save that until the end … but it’s worth the big reveal.
Here is a few of the rear of the playhouse – the G90 flashing plays a slightly larger role on this elevation but it reinforces the geometry of the playhouse.
I had to include my daughter Kate in at least one image … Kate has been my “scale figure” for 7 years. For your information, Kate is 10 years old and is a healthy 4-10″ tall.
I don’t think I could call this “The Lantern House” without actually showing some night-time shots of the playhouse actually lit … you know, like a lantern.
The night before the playhouse was scheduled to be delivered, I went over to the job site and uncovered the playhouse so I could take some pictures. Once I pulled the tarp off, I plugged in the lantern house and
it was all “lantern-y”
That, my friends, is a lantern playhouse. Not bad, right? If you would like to build the “Lantern Playhouse” for yourself or a loved one, you can find all the construction drawings here.
Okay, so it’s time for the big reveal … how much did it end up costing the contractor to build this playhouse?
Nope. Maybe $4,000?
Try again. It had to cost at least $2,000 right? This is getting stupid. $2,000 has to be right. Right?
Try $1,400. #scoreboard
I should make sure it is understood that nobody is making any money on this playhouse. BufordHawthorne Homebuilders pays for everything out-of-pocket and without them, there would be no Lantern House. The subcontractors that get asked to work on this charity project normally donate their supervision but the actual workers get paid their normal hourly rate. The breakdown is:
Carpentry Materials and Labor = $1,050
Flashing = $250
Misc. Materials (switch, lights, etc.) = $100
Grand Total = $1,400
Who doesn’t want this playhouse for $1,400? Someone who likes sitting in the dark – that’s who ….