Style and Design
A superb tower playhouse which is available with or without an optional slide the BillyOh Bunny Max Tower is a great garden feature guaranteed to provide hours of outdoor fun for growing children. There are plenty of windows (all fixed), a pretty peaked roof, a half glazed door and a verandah to the front with a safety balustrade, all accessed by an easy to climb ladder. The slide option adds another dimension to the play.
The playhouse is constructed in smooth 11mm tongue and groove cladding mounted on 28 x 28mm wooden framing with a 'Durelis' solid sheet floor (10mm) and roof (8mm) as standard, the latter nicely finished in dark grey sand felt. Floor and roof upgrades are available. The slide is manufactured in plastic while the windows are glazed in virtually unbreakable styrene for safety. The door furniture is finished in an attractive antique black style and the door is secured with a magnetic safety catch.
The tower footprint measures 4' x 4' (1.22 x 1.22m) including the roof overhang. When the slide and ladder is added the width increases to about 7'7'' (2.31m). The overall height from ground level to the ridge is 7' (2.12m) while the doorway is an acommodating 3'2'' (97cm) high.
The playhouse receives a red cedar dip treatment prior to delivery and requires to have a final preservative/decorative finish applied at the time of construction and maintained on a regular basis.
The slide feature is optional and you also have the choice of an upgrade to a solid sheet floor and/or roof for a small additional charge.
The Bunny Tower Max is delivered flat packed with all necessary fittings and comprehensive instructions ready for DIY home assembly.
See the details of sellers and prices given above.
As an economy tower playhouse for the younger child we think the Bunny Max Tower has plenty to offer - just about everything in fact. It has a striking appearance, the well designed playhouse sitting securely atop the robust support tower, the balcony protected by the balustrade with the two step access ladder to one side and (if chosen) the play slide to the other. The playhouse itself is an established design and carries all the features you'd look for. There's decent headroom under the apex roof - 4'7'' (140.3cm) internally at the ridge, plenty of windows to make sure not only that there's a bright cheerful interior, but that you can easily see what's going on inside without being too obtrusive. Add to that the stylish lines and there's little doubt that the Bunny Max Tower is a guaranteed child pleaser.
We can't find any fault with the construction standards. The 11mm tongue and groove cladding on 28mm framing is just about what you'd expect at this size and price as are the solid sheet floor and roof. A bonus with the Bunny Max though is that for just a few pounds more you get the option to upgrade the floor and roof to real wood - something we'd suggest you give serious thought to doing. Solid sheet will do the job it's true, but in our experience it lacks something of the strength and durability of wood. Where we have the chance we'd always choose to upgrade to real wood and would suggest you do the same.
As with most if not all playhouses in this price category, the woodwork of the Bunny Max Tower receives only a dip treatment as part of the manufacturing process. This should ensure it remains protected up to the point at which it reaches your doorstep but it won't last much longer than that. So be prepared to apply a further protective and if you wish decorative finish as soon as possible. We'd suggest that ideally you do this before the playhouse is erected. That way you'll easily be able to reach parts that may be more inaccessible once the building is put together. The finish will need maintaining on a regular basis too - but it's not that big a job and is pretty much par for the course with this type of wooden structure. And by the way, when you're applying the finish make sure any open wood grain such as the bottom of the support posts is well treated as it will be very susceptible to moisture attack. We'd recommend you stand the posts in the preservative prior to assembly to allow it to soak well in.
With the Bunny Max being a wooden building and particular as it's essentially an economy model you may well find some rough edges, splits and knotholes that need attended to before the final finish is applied. Wood is a natural material and it's virtually impossible to eliminate these 100% during the manufacturing process. You just need to be prepared to do some sanding and filling of any minor blemishes you do find. It goes with the territory really. If any of the panels or components are badly damaged however that's a different matter and we'd expect the supplier to replace these without quibble.
Safety is well addressed. The recommended age is 36 months upwards and this seems reasonable to us. The balustrade should help reduce mishaps on the front balcony while the styrene glazing in the windows will give you peace of mind and the magnetic door catch deals with the risk of a child becoming trapped inside. The timbers are planed smooth to reduce the risk of splinter injury - but note what we said in the last paragraph when your getting the playhouse ready to apply the finish. We're pleased too to see safety gaps around the door to reduce the risk of little fingers becoming trapped.
Assembly will be a little time consuming but should be quite straightforward as long as a minimum of two adults are involved. Unfortunately we've been unable to track down an online preview of the instructions but the playhouse itself will arrive in pre-formed panels and the tower shouldn't add too much to the work. You'll need some basic tools to put the building together. BillyOh do offer a basic toolkit for those who are completely un-equipped but if you've got the following you'll be in good shape: power drill, screwdriver (preferably power), spirit level, hammer, craft knife (for the felt) and paintbrush (for the final finish). And you might also add some sandpaper and wood filler for any blemishes you find in the timber.
So in conclusion, when it comes to the Bunny Max Tower it all looks good. You'll find larger models, pressure treated models, models with some fancier features and definitely more expensive models. But we think the Bunny Max Tower is the ideal combination of style, price and features if your budget only extends to this price range. By all means check out the Snug Tower (no balustrade, solid sheet floor and roof), the Bunny Platform (no slide option, solid sheet foor and roof), the Sunnyside Tower (smaller with construction open to the elements) and the Bunny Max's little brother the smaller and slightly cheaper Bunny Tower - but in our view the Bunny Max offers more. We've awarded it a full house of five stars.