We built a beachy treehouse from our old play structure

Oh yes we did!

However, we did get lots of inspiration and plans from the talented Ana White

Without Ana’s plans or her readers brag posts, I would have NEVER, EVER, EVER attempted this project.

Like EVER.

But because I had read how other people made their own playhouses/treehouses, I figured we could too!

This idea to make our very own treehouse wasn’t just my own idea, it was also Elle’s, my 10-year old little designer.

On a recent trip to Ocean State Job Lot, I told my girls that they could pick out a toy or book, as long as it was under $5.00.

Myah, my 8 year old chose a cute little stuffed turtle.

Elle chose this book.


Job Lot has the best books at such reasonable prices.

This “KIDS SPACE” book has so many really great ideas for kid spaces, including a chapter all about playhouses.

That’s when Elle started planning “our treehouse”.


As a little girl I always loved making forts, which mostly consisted of old discarded plywood and things my friends and I would find in the woods.

But I had always dreamt of a real treehouse, I mean what kids doesn’t ??

I started looking around the web for ideas and found several beautiful ones on Pinterest, but most of the designs weren’t going to work for us.

Then I found Ana’s play house.



When I told my husband Michael what I was planning, he responded something like “mmmmhuh…uh huh….sure…yeah…sounds good”

( he wasn’t really paying attention, as he was busy in his office at his computer )

But I took it like “oh great honey, I think that’s a wonderful idea!! “

Gotta love when the hubby agrees with your ideas huh ?!?

My mentality for this project was to “work with whatcha got”.

and this is what we had….


We’ve had this play structure for several years. We bought it used on Craigslist and it has been well used over the years.

It is weathered, but structurally sound so I decided to use the existing play house as the base for our new treehouse.

Our base was not the same size as Ana’s, so I did have to modify our plans, shopping list and the cut list, but it was a great place to start.

Our treehouse base was 4′ x 7′ and although I would have loved to have made it bigger, I did not want to start from scratch.

Why “reinvent the wheel” ?!?

To really plan this endeavor, I decided to remove most of the wood from the base of the play house to give me more of a “blank canvas”.

All that wood was cluttering up my brain and I needed a better visual.

That’s when Michael stepped outside and said “Umm, Shell ?!? Do you really want to do this ????”

To which I responded something like“trust me sweetheart, it’s gonna be great. I promise”

After all of my crazy DIY projects and impulsive projects, Michael HAS learned to trust me, which makes me so very happy and grateful.

After removing most of the wooden slats and top canvas.


I had to ask the big guy for some help cutting the big chunky pieces of wood.

I had no idea we even had that tool ?!!


I’ll admit, at this point I WAS definitely a bit nervous. I mean, what if I couldn’t pull this off ?!?

My kids would be heart-broken.

That thought alone got me through most of this project.

Time to frame our house.


The framing happened pretty quickly.

Next, time to prime it.

Our little ladies were very helpful even though it was pretty cold and windy outside…


Next, moving on to the walls.

Michael was so helpful, helping me out in the chilly weather right up until he had to leave for the airport for business.


Myah was getting so excited and was also a big helper.


To ensure that we (I) measured correctly, we put the walls up on the base to make sure they fit, then removed them to paint.



Believe or not, I brought the walls inside to paint them since it was going to rain for 3 days straight.

And it did.

( FYI ~ obviously, we don’t have a garage )

I started by painting the trim white and the walls grey.

The grey is a solid exterior stain by Benjamin Moore and this stuff is AMAZING.

It is typically over $50 per gallon, but I lucked out and found a “mis-tint” for only $15 !!

benjamin moore


I really liked the grey and white, but I wanted our house to look more like a real house.

I decided to paint some faux clapboard.

To do this, I just used a pine board and traced pencil lines along each wall.

Then lightly painted over my pencil lines with a black acrylic paint.

Then I white washed everything.


Our cute little turquoise shutters were made with scrap wood.


Every beach house needs a name.

We decided to name ours “SHORE smiles” for many reasons, but mainly because we live by the shore and playing in our house is “shore” to bring lots of smiles.


yuck yuck


Instead of a barn star, I thought a star fish was more fitting for one of our gable walls.


And a nautical wheel on the other, with the word “welcome”.


Time to assemble our house.



In my opinion, figuring out the angle cuts for the roof framing was the most challenging.

Luckily, my husband is the King of angle cuts and got it done.

Thank you Michael !



I really didn’t want to add more weight to our structure using plywood for the roof, so I headed to Lowes to see what other options we had.

I was thrilled when I found some light-weight corrugated plastic roofing material.

It came in many colors, but I settled on the pretty blue.



Once the roof was done, I painted the inside using leftover paint I had on-hand and white washed the entire thing, keeping with our beach-theme.


Our little barn door matches the turquoise shutters and adds a rustic feel to our beach house.

Elle was so excited to see some of her ideas were coming to life.


We added a window flower box and decorated the inside a bit with lacy curtains, bunting and some beachy decor.

( I know, I should have painted the roof framing BEFORE putting the roof on, oh well.)


Look how much light comes through the roof.


Kitty really LOVES her new little hideout.


We added Christmas lights and a mini chandelier.






We attached the swing set to the house and decided to paint that as well.

I added curtains and a bamboo shade where the slide sits and it looked good, but it wouldn’t block the wind or keep out the rain.




So a few weeks later, I added an interior sliding door.


Ahhh, much better.


Everyone is happy with our treehouse and we have all spent lots of time enjoying it.

Michael and I have even spent some time chilling in there.




BTW, I know it’s “technically” not a treehouse, but it sits within our cherry tree so we’ve always called the play house the “treehouse”.


Myah playing before the Sock Hop dance.


This was by far my most labor intensive DIY project.

But….it’s by far, the one I am most proud of.





Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

Have a wonderful day.


Linking up here :

The 36th Avenue

6 thoughts on “We built a beachy treehouse from our old play structure

  1. Such great inspiration!  We are building a treehouse for my 5 year old son, and  was trying to find some ideas.  Ours will be very modern on the outside, and in a tree in our big front yard.  I want it to sort of blend organically with natural colors to not stand out too much.  I’m such a color girl, so this has opened my world to adding a bit of color to the interior.  
    Living in Colorado, but from NJ, so I think you’ve also inspired us to take a family vaca to the Jersey Shore next summer!
    thank you for sharing.

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