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The Woodbury 4x4 or Shire Playhut
Wooden Playhouse

Size; 4' x 4'

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£149.99
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Price from £149.99

The Woodbury 4x4 or Shire Playhut
Wooden Playhouse

Style and Design
A nice little 4'x4' wooden playhouse, no frills but plenty of character and practicality.  The Woodbury 4x4 is built in a classic traditional wooden playhouse design with an apex roof and will afford an attractive garden feature as well as delighting children with hours of healthy outdoor play.  The compact dimensions and simplicity of the Woodbury 4x4 mean it's also ideally suited to indoor use.  There's a front window to allow light into the interior and the playhouse is a delightful little hidey hole for smaller children.  The Woodbury is also marketed as the Shire Playhut and the Fairwood 4x4.
Materials/Construction
The Woodbury 4x4 is manufactured in 12mm FSC approved shiplap whitewood pine mounted on wooden framing.  There's a solid sheet roof and floor, the roof finished in sand felt for weatherproofing, and the window is glazed in shatterproof styrene for safety.  The overall finish is planed smooth to minimise the risk of splinters.
Dimensions
The playhouse measures 4' x 4' nominally.  The exact dimensions are 1.19 x 1.12m.
Finish/Treatment
A basecoat dip is applied to the playhouse prior to delivery.  It will be necessary to add a final decorative/preservative finish at the time of construction or very shortly thereafter.  The illustrated example has been nicely finished in blue with white trim.
Options
An assembly option is available at significant extra cost.
Delivery/Assembly
The playhouse is delivered with all necessary fittings and instructions for home assembly.
Availability
See the details of sellers and prices given above.
Our Verdict

There are no frills with the Woodbury 4x4 but it's a solid, practical and pretension free little wooden playhouse which compares well with its rivals.  As a budget model it's largely what you'd expect at the price, a simply designed playhouse in a basic, traditional style with more or less everything you'd need in a small playhouse - but no more.

The 12mm shiplap cladding coupled with the solid sheet roof and floor will give a strong, robust finish in this size of playhouse.  True, this grade of cladding is more susceptible to splits and knotholes than heavier grades and you might find you need to do a little filling and smoothing of rough edges when putting the playhouse together, but we don't see this as a great issue in an economy playhouse.  You certainly wouldn't expect a higher grade of cladding at this price.  The cladding is in the tongue and groove style which, combined with the roofing felt supplied should give you a little building with good resistance to the elements.

The window will allow light into the playhouse and let you catch a glimpse of what's going on inside without being too obtrusive.  We would however have preferred to see more than the one window to brighten up the interior.  The Snug and Bluebell wooden playhouses for example manage to provide more than one window at around the same price.

A word on the finish.  As you'd expect with this type of model, only a basecoat dip is applied prior to delivery.  This will be perfectly adequate to protect the timbers prior to assembly but you will have to make sure you apply a final decorative/preservative finish at the time of putting the playhouse together.  This gives an opportunity to add your own unique finish and is an essential step in avoiding early weathering of the wood.  The finish will need to be maintained as necessary during the life of the playhouse.  Assembling the playhouse itself shouldn't give you too much difficulty.  We'd advise against purchasing the assembly option on the basis that the cost is out of all proportion to the price of the playhouse itself.

We do find the door handle somewhat uninspiring, consisting only of a solid and not very attractive rectangle of wood.  You might want to think of investing a pound or two in a decorative handle to replace this - though that would just be our preference.  There's no way of keeping the door closed either and while we appreciate that it's necessary to make sure children can't be trapped inside, we don't think it would have been difficult to incorporate a child friendly magnetic catch into the design.

So we've picked up a few points you need to be aware of with the Woodbury 4x4 but that shouldn't detract from the fact that it's a perfectly adequate economy playhouse representing decent value at the price.  It compares well with its rivals but lacks the extra windows and decorative door of the Snug or Bluebell and the headroom of the Bunny Max.  We'd recommend you take a look at the others then make your choice.  All things considered, we've awarded the Woodbury 4x4 three and a half stars.
 
Pros
  economy

   no unnecessary extras

  sturdy build
Cons
   rather plain

   no door closure

   only one window
Our Star Rating
(3.5 out of 5 stars
Review by the Wooden Playhouse Guide)

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