Style and Design
The BillyOh 4000 Gingerbread Junior wooden playhouse is an exciting apex roofed playhouse in a traditional style. It's generously proportioned and features an optional picket fence which extends the play area and keeps toys in order. The playhouse has two fixed windows to the front and a split stable style door. The quality construction and pleasing appearance will delight children with hours of healthy outdoor fun and enhance the garden into the bargain!
The Gingerbread Junior is constructed in graded European tongue and groove softwood with a solid sheet roof and optional floor. The roof is finished in dark grey sand felt to keep out the elements while the windows are glazed in styrene for safety and peace of mind. The stable door is secured with a magnetic catch which allows easy and immediate access when required.
The playhouse measures 6'2'' x 4'5'' (187.8 x 133.9 cm) overall. The height is an accommodating 4'9'' (143.9 cm) at the ridge with an eaves height of 3'5'' (104.5 cm). The window dimensions are 1'5'' x 1'6'' (42.6 x 44.5 cm) and the door opening 1'11'' x 3'1'' (58.6 x 94.1 cm). The cladding is mounted on 1'' x 1'' framing.
The building is finished in a red cedar water based factory basecoat prior to delivery. To ensure a long life for your playhouse a final decorative/preservative coat should be applied at the time of erection and maintained on a regular basis.
A number of options are available for this playhouse, notably the picket fence illustrated above and either an economy solid sheet or a premium tongue and groove floor.
The Gingerbread Junior is delivered ready for assembly by the purchaser. Delivery surcharges apply to some areas.
See the details of sellers and prices given above.
BillyOh produce a nice range of wooden playhouses in various sizes and the Gingerbread Junior is no exception. Its features include two large fixed windows to the front, a stable style door, an optional picket fence in a choice of sizes and an optional floor upgrade too. It has a traditional playhouse appearance with the ridged roof giving decent headroom of 4'9'' for younger children - 3 to 7 years is the recommended age range - and we think the effect overall is attractive and visually appealing. In addition, the picket fence creates additional interest and is ideal for helping to stop toys spreading all over the garden.
The playhouse is priced towards the economy end of the scale and we think the quality of the build gives you fair value for your money. The tongue and groove joins in the cladding will help maintain the building wind and watertight while the roof is finished in roofing sand felt for added protection. In common with many budget models there's a solid sheet osb floor as standard but with the Gingerbread Junior you have the option to upgrade to 11mm tongue and groove flooring. If you can stretch to it we'd certainly recommend you pay the few pounds extra for the upgrade. Solid sheet flooring is adequate in an economy playhouse but it's a little more prone to moisture damage than real wood and generally offers less strength and support. If you do leave the floor as solid sheet we'd recommend that you make sure the playhouse is located in an area where it will be reasonably dry underfoot and that you test the floor for support before you put the playhouse up. If it seems a little flimsy it should be a fairly easy exercise to add some extra cross bearers underneath. You can give your playhouse a rigid base with the BillyOh eze-base. It costs a little extra but we think it's worth a look.
The Gingerbread Junior's panels come pre-formed and the solid sheet elements are pre-cut to size so you shouldn't have any particular problem assembling the structure. One thing we would mention though is treatment of your playhouse. In common with the majority of economy playhouses the wood of the Gingerbread Junior receives a manufacturer's dip treatment which is intended to protect it only up to the point of delivery. Consequently you'll need to apply a final preservative/decorative finish at the time of assembly. We'd suggest you do this immediately before you put the playhouse together, paying particular attention to the floor bearers and underside of the floor and the tongue and groove joins in the cladding. Note that it will be easier to apply the finish to the tongue and groove if you turn the panels upside down first. If you do this before assembly you'll be able to reach any parts that might be tricky to get at later and it means the playhouse will be ready for use as soon as it's up - bound to be a popular move! Note that you'll need to maintain the finish on a regular basis throughout the life of the playhouse.
As we would expect, safety is well addressed with the Gingerbread Junior. The wood is planed smooth to minimise the risk of splinters, the windows are glazed in virtually unbreakable styrene, there are finger gaps around the door and the door is secured by child friendly magnetic catch. Just be sure to check when assembling the playhouse that there are no rough edges which need smoothing off or loose knots which might present a choking hazard. As wood is a natural material it's virtually impossible to avoid some of these issues during the manufacturing process, especially in an economy model, but you'll be well placed to address them during assembly. We wouldn't expect anything major to crop up though. We've seen some reports of the wood having a tendency to split when screws are tightened. If you experience this try pre-drilling the screw holes first - this will often help and is a requirement with some playhouses.
Overall we like the design and features of the Gingerbread Junior, especially the availability of a flooring upgrade and the optional picket fencing. We prefer it over rivals such as the Petal and the Blackberry which we don't think offer the same attractive options and often cost more - at the basic price at any rate. With the wooden floor as standard we'd be tempted to award the Gingerbread Junior five stars as a great economy playhouse. As it is we've given it four and a half - still a great buy!
If you like the feel and design of the Gingerbread Junior but are looking for something larger - or smaller - check out the Gingerbread Max or the Bunny. The Max is a super two storey playhouse but we prefer the Gingerbread Junior over the smaller Bunny on account of its larger footprint and greater headroom - always assuming you have the space and the budget.