What is a Magical Playhouse?
A Magical Playhouse is a small backyard structure, which is pleasing to the eye. Its design arises out of a creative, collaborative process between you and me, and is tailored to your backyard and budget. It can be built for children, adults, and even pets. It is not an ADU or a tiny home.
Do I need a building permit?
Generally, no. Check with your local municipality, but for the most part playhouses and other non-inhabited single story structures under 200 square feet are exempt. In very urban settings, such as Seattle, it can be less, while in rural counties this can rise to 400 square feet.
How much does a Magical Playhouse cost?
That largely depends on your budget. In the How I Build Section, you’ll discover that I come from a residential construction background, and still build with the same high-quality materials, level of finish and attention to detail you would expect from any custom home builder. So while I will have many questions for you before being able to give you a number on what you are dreaming of, here are some totals of what you’ll see in my portfolio.
The School Haus: $8,890
The Bainbridge Island Treehouse: $10,995
The Timber Frame Potting Studio: $12,795
Mary’s Writing Studio: $15,200
The Dragon: $24,995
The Tugboat $2,150
Keep in mind, when you build small like I do the cost of materials is nearly half of these totals, on average.
How long does a Magical Playhouse take to build?
Projects can take anywhere between 4 weeks to 4 months to build, depending on its complexity and size.
Do I need a foundation?
For the most part, no. Like me, most people don't have perfectly level yards. But a full foundation would be seriously overkill for the size of structures I build. A simple post/pier foundation is more than enough. And if your yard really is level, then you may not need anything at all, since I could build the base of the playhouse with pressure treated joists.
The only reason I would pour a full foundation would be if your local municipality requires one (which is unlikely), or your site's topography demands it.
What size buildings do you build?
To me, a Magical Playhouse shouldn’t require a building permit, so generally they are less than 200 square feet. Now, a 200 square foot structure is still 10 feet x 20 feet! For most people, that’s a substantial building to add to your backyard.
If I can drive into your backyard, I can bring fully assembled structures as long as they are no larger than 6'8" feet wide at the base, 8 feet wide at the eaves, 12'6" feet tall and 16' feet long. Many children’s playhouses I build fit within these dimensions.
Delivering children's playhouses fully assembled is particularly fun because they can be dropped off in during the afternoon and abra-ca-dab-ra! alakazam! its there when the kids come home. Plus, I'm not there for weeks in your backyard making sawdust and noise.
But I want something larger and you can't drive into my backyard...
This is much more common. I’ll do all I can at my shop, but most of the work will be completed onsite, in your backyard.
Smaller structures that I can tow down the highway, but not into your backyard can still be delivered fully assembled. Hiring a crane or a boom is more affordable than you might think. In my neck of the woods, it costs $150/hr. Compared to on-site assembly, this is a much cheaper option for small structure that just needs a "boost" to clear your landscaping/fencing.
You’re in Washington State, but I’m not...?
For those of you far away, it’s pretty advantageous to order something small I can deliver fully assembled. Cost go up when you need to put me up in a hotel in order to complete a project onsite.
Do you build tree houses?
Generally, no. My insurance agent starts to twitch when I mention the words “tree house.”
Do you charge sales tax?
I collect sales tax for playhouses delivered in Washington State.
Does the price on your 'for sale' buildings include installation?
It does if the installation is simple, meaning I show up beforehand, prepare a level space on your yard (pressure treated beams, or a compacted gravel surface) and am able to drive my trailer into your yard.