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The Playhouse under the Stairs

Updated: Jan 4, 2022

When we first toured the house we were about to buy, I saw the under the stairs storage/coat closet and my inner child grew excited. I knew we had to do something for the kids there. All of their spaces were upstairs and having one downstairs where we spend a lot of time was important to me so I can keep an eye on them, watch them play and cook dinner or get some work done. I have heard it called the Harry Potter closet, and The Chronicles of Narnia also came to mind, like a secret hideaway behind all the winter coats. But the more I thought about it, I knew we would be updating the nearby utility room to accommodate for these things and we also had an additional hanging clothes room in the large downstairs suite closet we could use. Taking this need to hang coats out of the equation meant I had the whole space to work with and my playhouse under the stairs vision with the girls in mind started to come to life!

We let our girls and their friend Stetson have fun with paint on the walls prior to us painting. It actually is the only "before" picture I had unfortunately. But it wasn't much to look at before...pretty boring except for the novelty of it. The depth and shape of the space meant I needed to establish designated areas for the kitchen, living and dining. Ryler's birthday was in about a month so we made this project a priority so we could reveal it to her as her present. It wasn't easy to keep her from peeking, but well worth it in the end!

The closet was too dark, and we wouldn't be able to enjoy watching them play in their playhouse so we had our contractor create a window into the living room. We accessorized it with a few shutters and shadowbox with flowers and succulents. It was the best decision because the girls LOVE using it to serve us all those yummy "homemade" meals from their kitchen.

Even with the window cut out into the living room, we wanted to brighten up the space, so we added the globe light, small pendant and used a tracing light up art board to create a faux window! Smart, right?! It gives off 3 settings of light too! My mom completed the window with some curtains using fabric we found. And for additional coziness, the back part of the closet is where we put their sofa that folds out into a bed for fun with friends. They can set up the IPAD on the Melissa & Doug kitchen table for a movie night!

We got started updating the wall treatments by using some of the leftover dark green/teal paint from the dining room. For the opposite walls we used a black and white Magnolia wallpaper with a herring bone print. I loved it as it seemed scaled to the perfect size of this "mini" house. We also love the "STAY AWHILE" sign from their Hearth & Hand collection at Target that you see upon entry.

I wanted the white shiplap look for the other walls to break up the dark color and print, but also needed to keep it to scale. We chose a wider plank breadboard, which reduced the number of cuts and the price tag. It turned out perfect! We even used it on the entry slant ceiling to make a more finished look. The hubs is really getting a knack for this kind of thing!

My handy dad was helpful in making the kitchenette. I had scoured the internet and there wasn't anything that was just the right dimensions or price so we got to making it ourselves, just how we wanted. I found the sink and fixture on Amazon and my dad used these to create the rest of this perfect piece! I decided to paint the unit a soft rose, a color that is also being used as an accent color throughout the main living areas. The girls were “tickled pink” when they saw it for the first time! We added the open shelving, a side board for pretend cutting the banana bread and the racks for the oven for the pizza and cookies. I found the knobs at Home Goods and it complemented the fixture and hardware so well! My mom sewed the skirt for under the sink storage and lastly, I painted the cook tops to make it seem more realistic.

We had most of the play food already, but we added the cutest little pretend pressure cooker that actually steams! I found a few more decorative items that were just the right accessories for this charming little house. Finally, we added some gallery photos for above the playhouse window, which turned out beautiful and captures them at this fun age even more. I can honestly say that I have just as much fun pulling up a chair and small table next to them as they serve me like I'm at an outdoor bistro. They make some pretty cute shop owners IMO. Not only has this space brought our family so much happiness, but all their playdates love it too! We didn't have that perfect tree to make a tree house as others may have here in The Woodlands, but I think this turned out pretty great as an alternative. And they can still enjoy it when it rains. Did I mention they make a mean hot cocoa? :)

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