i always wanted a treehouse when i was a girl. something hidden, something all mine, something covered in fairy lights. a little retreat where i could go and read and draw and be alone, lost in my own world of love poems and sylvia plath.
i never did get one.
so I draped fairy lights in my bedroom instead, painted stars on the walls and convinced my father to slide a futon under the eaves and that became my hideout instead. i still remember lying on that futon mattress in cut-off jeans, reading to the thud of heavy thunderstorms cracking the heat that one hot summer we moved in. i remember the air nudging a waltz slowly through the long thin georgette curtains i'd picked out myself (for I had always wanted floor length curtains then), the hem of the gossamer fabric gathering and tangling like a gypsy skirt.
my boys are too small to crave a space of their own in the same way as i did as a teenage girl - at 3 and 2 they just want us all the time, which is no bad thing - but i'd love them to experience the magic of a hideout which belongs just to them, a place that might cultivate little imaginations and creativity, somewhere that might even mean something special to them one day.
you'll know from previous posts that we have a lovely summerhouse which we inherited from the previous owners. we had always thought it would make an amazing garden playroom for the boys. so we painted it inside and out and spent a saturday festooning the wall with pine tree stickers to make it feel like a cabin. i moved toys and books in and made a floor bed with spare mattresses and blankets for them to lounge on.
but the boys they don't really play in there at all. it's still a grown up sized space with a grown up door which needs a grown up key to get in. it's not made for small-people. they can't even get in there on their own. it's pretty but it's just a room. it's not offering them creativity or a chance to be free.
it's not magical.
so as part of the garden makeover we're incorporating a little playhouse, a den of sorts, into one space. we looked at tons online: big ones with turrets and ropes, ugly garish plastic ones we ruled out straight away, expensive luxury modern ones with amazing Japanese design (see the one below - i admit i was tempted by that).
but in the end, we quickly realised the boys don't necessarily need all the fancy extras. the playhouse we've chosen isn't big or fancy. it's not a castle or a pirate ship. it's just a little rectangular hut, with circles and rectangles cut out as windows and a swinging door. it's incredibly simple but i think that's okay. i think that's the point.
once it's painted and we've added grass on the roof, it'll match the rest of the garden and indeed our home in terms of looks - and as someone who loves creating interiors that's a huge consideration. i'm excited to see it in place for aesthetic reasons, this modern little new build in the back garden painted black, and i look forward to sharing it here.
but there's more to good design than just aesthetics. it goes beyond style and trends and trying to make your home or your garden look like it's something out of a magazine. there's more thought to it than that (this is something I've been thinking about, a lot - about adding meaning to interiors). most of all, i'm excited to see what my boys will make of it, as they crawl in and out of this hideout that mama won't even be able to stand up in. i can't wait to see what they'll dream it into, with their constant chatter and their messy fingers and the stories in their heads.
and that is what will make their little den magical.