Our HGTV Photoshoot!

14 May

Hi, Everybody, (Especially Grandpa)!

I’m so excited to finally be able to share some exciting news (Nope, still not a baby brother or sister).  I recently had the pleasure of playing host to the wonderful folks at HGTV when they came to shoot my humble abode for their newest publication, Toddler Geniuses Build Good Stuff. Let me share the article, you know, in case you’re not able to pick up a copy in your area.

cardboard playhouse

Construction on this one room studio home began in February 2013.  Using only upcycled materials and items found around his Mom’s house, construction was completed during the course of one afternoon, with decorating being an ongoing occurrence.  The walls are cardboard, made from reconfiguring a range and a washer box acquired from the owner’s former babysitter, now a Menard’s super-employee. “Mr. James really thought ahead.  He even saved the inner packaging as brace supports for the house.  He’s good at engineering and changing diapers.  It’s really a rarity in men these days.”

The roof is braced out with cardboard, from one of hundreds upon hundreds of packages the UPS man delivers to the owner’s Mom and Dad. “I had to find some way to use all these boxes.  I mean, one can only make so many play barns and toy boxes.”  To top it off, a brown sheet was draped casually over the braces, lending to the air of casual chic.

cardboard playhouse

To add a pop of color, the door was painted Flag Red by Walmart Craft Aisle Paint. “It really is an affordable, easy option for everyone.” As a finishing touch, the doorknob, in Duct Tape Black, was hot-glued on for extra stability from grabby toddler hands.

The owner added a flower garden.  Drilled holes act as a wonderful playtime opportunity for planting flowers.  The felt-board provides a home for bugs, a must-have staple for every little boy’s dream home.  “Me and Kitty have lots of fun playing flowers.  She jumps through the window, then I poke a flower, then she attacks the flower, then I poke another flower, then she attacks the flower, then I poke another flower, then she attacks the flower, then I poke another flower, and OH MY GOD IT’S SO FUN!”

To finish up construction on the the outside, the owner installed a mailbox using his Mom’s scrapbooking stash and his own array of magnetic letters hot-glued on.  “My mom and dad spend so much time here, they even had their mail forwarded.”

On the inside, a former crib mattress acts as a reading nook.  “I never used that damn thing for sleeping on, and since it was a bazillion dollar organic mattress, with organic mattress protector, and organic sheets, I figured I was obliged to use it somewhere.” A raid on his Mom’s pillow stash added a few pops of color and texture to an otherwise drab background.  A nearby basket of independent level books provides an easy quiet-time activity.

When the owner wants to tap into his creative side (either clothed or naked), he takes step over to his drawing pad.  A cut-in-half toilet paper tube, reinforced on the bottom with paper, provides a house for his rainbow of crayons.  “My mom has her faults, but she does allow 24-7 access to crayons, so that’s pretty cool.”

On dreary days, a bit of light is needed for optimal fun, so the owner installed Sparkles, by “Christmas” bin in the garage.  “I don’t think Daddy will miss them much when he goes to put up the Christmas lights next year.” 

As a finishing touch, a doghouse was constructed for the owner’s dog, Pudding.  “I recently visited my aunt, where there was a dog named Cookie.  Since then, I’m convinced every dog should be named after a decadent dessert.”

In the upcoming year, the owner has plans to add a 3-4 car garage. “Well, I have a racecar, and a pushcar, plus I need an area for my workbench, and a mancave would be nice.  You never know when I’ll want to have the guys over to eat wings and watch rugby without my mom nagging me every 15 minutes for a potty break.”  Other planned renovations include fresh exterior paint (in hindsight, the owner would have turned the boxes inside out before construction…), as well as some storage options (there’s no place to hide cookies).  And a table.  “Sometimes I take my snack tray in to read a book, and I have to makeshift my own table from a common cardboard box. Wait…”

This toddler was a delight to work with, and is the most creative and insightful individual I’ve ever encountered.  His eye for detail leaves me breathless.

Okay, I might have added that last part.  But I’m really happy with the way the house turned out.  In fact, I’m starting construction on my outdoor Summer home as we speak…stay tuned!

Pssst…I’m linked up over at My Healthy Happy Home for Toddler Tuesday.  Check it out!

2 Responses to “Our HGTV Photoshoot!”

  1. ahealthyhappyhome May 14, 2013 at 11:43 pm #

    Oh my gosh how fun and amazing at the same time! Love the little house and obviously Matty does too!

    • Ashley Niehaus May 15, 2013 at 8:05 am #

      Thanks! It’s got lots of play hours logged in it already. Hopefully he likes his outdoor one just as much so I can get some gardening done this year!

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