room for kids : cubby house

posted on: Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hidden in the backyard of a Devonport home is this delightful cubby house complete with kitchen corner and bunk bed.

Artist Tina Frantzen created this playful space for her granddaughters (and named it after them too).

The view from the bunk looks over the sun-drenched play space. "As we have lived in our house for thirty two years and intend to stay here for ever," Tina reflected, "I built it with my great-grandchildren in mind as well! I enclosed a time capsule in the wall cavity for posterity – I definitely have a long term view for this little house."

Charming secret cottage meets functional play room. Tina's sons originally had a play house in the same spot that was made from an old car case. When her granddaughters came along Tina decided to create an updated hideaway for the girls.

who plays here?
Jess 6 and Kate 3 (Tina's granddaughters who visit regularly) in Auckland, New Zealand.

Tina decked the space out with bookshelves filled with books, a wee wooden table and chair set, a doll house and miniature kitchen corner.

Most of the materials were recycled, including leftover resources from the main house. The interior was made from recycled floorboards that had been donated and the windows and door were also recycled.

Jess and Kate busy with one of their favourite activities, dress-ups.

Although Tina had worked on her own house she enlisted the help of her nephew who taught her the principles of construction. This allowed her to be hands-on with the carpentry, including installation of the door and windows.

baby space fave
Having had the pleasure of visiting this wee house, I must say the little kitchen was a delight to behold.

top tips

Tina says, "First of all decide the function of the house. For us it was a place for the girls to have fun and be creative in, for role play, dress-ups, drawing and making things. We didn’t have the space to provide a play house that catered for largely active play, with slides, ladders and rope swings. Our two will eventually have that at their own home. Each type of play house has completely different building requirements and degree of finishing. All children love a hideaway place and that can be achieved very simply with marine ply, much imagination and minimal cost."

Thanks so much Tina and family for sharing your space with Baby Space!


  1. Hi Bron,
    What a sweet grandma she is, wish we had the space to build such a playhouse, my girls would love it! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Welcome back Bron! This is an awesome space! XX

  3. That is just wonderful:)
    I love this post so much
    Hugs and kisses

  4. Welcome back to blogland :) This is an adorable little house.

  5. Oh how gorgeous! What lucky little gells!

  6. I would have loved this when I was a kid! Or even now! So cute :)

  7. I would take one of those for my husband and me! XX!

  8. Oh my goodness! I love this space! What kid wouldn't love it???

  9. Oh wow, they actually had this place constructed? That is too cool.. I want to be her grand child too. lol! It's just so fun and beautiful. What a gorgeous setting too..

  10. How beautiful is that! What a wonderful Grandmother. :)

  11. How fun that you got to visit that room!! have a good w/e :):)

  12. oh my gosh, that's the cutest little kiddy house....I love it! The perfect little haven for kids : )

  13. these are so cool! nooks and fort spaces are the best! loving your little space here too!

  14. A good girlfriend of mine used to have a "doll house" in her backyard when I was a little girl. It was called the doll house but it was for us little girls! This reminds me so much of it (in my mind's eye of remembering back so many years!).
    (I've tried to follow along but google won't let me. Please leave a comment on my history blog so I don't loose track of your lovely blog.)

  15. How sweet! This is like every kids dream!

  16. Yay! These pictures really remind me of my kiddy years. They both look really cute. I love dressing too. It makes me want to go back to those years.


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