Style and Design
A remarkable wooden playhouse built in the style of a detached town house, Rowlinson's Country Cottage has a plethora of features to keep youngsters amused: decorative window boxes and mock shutters, a stable type front door, windows upstairs and down, a miniature chimney and the jewel in the crown - an upper playloft accessed by a wooden ladder. It has plenty of playroom inside and its striking appearance will enhance your garden as well as providing a talking point for years to come.
The Country Cottage is constructed in 12mm tongue and groove softwood timber cladding mounted on a wooden frame with a 14mm wooden floor and a felt finished roof. The fixed windows are glazed in styrene and the door sections secured by child friendly magnetic catches.
The playhouse measures 8' wide by 6' deep (2.64 x 1.85m). The height at the ridge is 8'6'' (2.59m) (all measurements are approximate).
The timber of the Country Cottage is pressure treated for increased resistance to attack by rot and insects. It features a natural finish which can be painted or stained to your preference.
The foundation kit for the Sidemate is now included as standard and the shed is supplied as a complete unit. Some sellers may offer a window kit at additional cost. If purchased this will involve some cutting of the vinyl cladding to enable installation.
The playhouse is delivered in a crate with full instructions and fittings for DIY home assembly.
See the details of sellers and prices given above.
An interesting wooden playhouse falling into a higher price category and featuring plenty features and plus points to make it a good buy. A real bonus is the pressure treated wooden construction. Most wooden playhouses you find - even the more expensive ones - arrive on your doorstep either untreated or with only a water based dip treatment applied. With pressure treatment the wood is placed in a sealed container filled with preservative. When the pressure is increased the preservative is forced into the timber making it suitable for extended outdoor use without any further treatment.
In the case of the Country Cottage, this treatment leads to a natural wood finish which we'd recommend you paint or stain to your preferred choice of colour. This will stop the natural finish taking on a worn, weathered look after it's been exposed to the elements for a while. If you do intend to do this a good tip is to apply your finish before the playhouse is assembled. That makes it easier to reach all the necessary parts and it also means you can turn pre-formed panels upside down to allow the finish to penetrate right into the tongue and groove joins.
The remainder of the construction looks to be decent quality too, particularly the wooden floor and roofing. Cheaper playhouses often use pre-formed OSB solid sheet for floor and/or roof which is more susceptible to deterioration due to moisture than properly treated real wood. The roof is finished in roofing felt too which adds a further weatherproofing layer. The styrene windows are virtually unbreakable and just what you want from a safety angle, as are the child friendly magnetic door catches and piano style hinges. There are finger gaps at the front door as well to minimise the risk of little fingers becoming trapped.
There's plenty of play space inside and we think children will love the upstairs play loft with its wooden ladder. There's a loft floor to ceiling balustrade to reduce the risk of falls and for peace of mind when youngsters are playing inside. Supervision of play should be straightforward too, even with the front door closed. There are a good number of windows both upstairs and down to allow you to unobtrusively see what's going on inside. We like the window boxes which should serve a practical as well as decorative function and help youngsters to learn about the responsibilities of plant care. The only thing we'd suggest is that to reduce the risk of moisture damage, any plants in the window boxes be kept in flower pots rather than planted directly into the box and a waterproof lining should be applied to the inside of any boxes so used.
So, the Country Cottage wins on visual appeal, desirable features, safety and construction quality. Are there any downsides. We don't see many. The playhouse is styled in a very particular way which might not appeal to all - but we think it's an interesting departure from some more traditional, run of the mill designs. A consequence of the design is that assembly may be a little complicated, particularly with the chimney feature and the dormer windows upstairs. We don't see anything insurmountable to the average DIY'er though and assembly is a one off process worth taking the time over. The windows are fixed which on one hand is good from a safety point of view but on the other means they can't be opened for ventilation on a hot day. The stable type door should deal nicely with this though.
When it comes to the style, the Country Cottage doesn't have too much competition in the online market. If you're looking for dormer windows the Primrose Dorma or Two Storey Cottage are the models that come to mind although neither is a direct comparison. For something on two levels with plenty inside space on two levels you might take a look at the Bramble, Tigercub Groovy Garage or Malvern - but none of these have the style of the Country Cottage - and none of these models offer pressure treated timber. Taking it all into account we've awarded The Country Cottage 4.5 wooden playhouse stars - it shouldn't let you down.