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Ever since my kids could walk I'd wanted a playhouse for the garden. My husband was never keen but I was always on the lookout. I initially looked at plastic versions from the likes of Little Tikes, but they seemed like too much money for a large lump of plastic that would more than likely fade and crack in the sun; and wooden ones always seemed to be too expensive. That was until I chanced up this website - www.waltons.co.uk - and found that they had a large range of big and small wooden playhouses at reasonable prices. So after a few stern words with my husband, we decided to order the Honeypot 5' x 5' Poppy Playhouse, priced at £219.99 with free delivery.
==Sold On Specifications==
It was the following information on the website that really sold it for me:
(My condensed version) 'The Honeypot Poppy Playhouse (4'11" x 4' 11") is a favourite amongst children...TUV safety tested...Interior and exterior made from long lasting hard wearing materials. Doors and windows are fixed and safety glazed with styrene. The house is strikingly eye-catching...displays a charming 0.25m veranda with a shady roof overhang. The roof is covered in roofing felt which increases durability in unpredictable weather. The door has a 12mm gap around the door frame to protect children's fingers from getting trapped'
So as you can see, it has a favourable list of positive points that would sway any sensible browser to take the leap from browser to buyer. To me, it just seemed like the ideal house, a good size with good features, will last through winters, and the gap around the door - a finger getting trapped is one of my biggest fears!
==Delivery, Moving, Painting, Assembly & Moving (again)==
When the house arrived (on the day which I chose myself!), the delivery man had to leave it in our front garden because they are not allowed to enter your house, due to too many insurance claims from people claiming for damage. So if you live in a terrace like us and have no way of getting to your back garden apart from through your house, then you may need to think about having someone there who is strong enough to carry the pieces through your house for you.
I was planning on leaving ours in the front garden until my husband got home, but my impatience got the better of me and I carted it all through on my own. The house came in about 6 or 7 flat pieces plus extras (4 side panels, 2 roof panels, the floor panel, roof felt, treatment, a few other bits and bobs and the fixing kit.) I'll be honest and say it was quite a struggle to carry the side panels, they were pretty heavy and bulky to shift, but I'm quite tall so I managed to drag it all through without damaging anything, or myself for that matter.
As soon as I got it in the back garden I began painting the panels with the free treatment, in the hope that my husband could get on with building it as soon as he got home from work. But as it happened I didn't have time to paint it all and it actually took a couple of days; then over the following week my husband managed to successfully put it all together. Following the instructions it was quite simple to do but does require 2 people at some stages of the build, especially when you are screwing the side panels together. I was quite pleased with how simple it all was, and the final result was very impressive.
For some reason, which I still cannot explain to this day, my husband did not build it in the correct location in the garden, and I was quite worried that it was never going to move. However, my Dad came through one day and he and my husband just lifted it up and moved it to where I wanted it. The house did seem to buckle slightly under the pressure but once it was set down again, it was very sturdy and didn't fall apart so it all worked out okay.
==Home Sweet Home==
Once the house was in position we home furnished it by adding a bit of spare carpet, a couple of kid's chairs, some homemade curtains for the 3 windows, and decorated the walls with some of the kid's pictures; I have to admit it looked wonderful and I wanted to move in straight away. My two daughters thought it was amazing and during the first week played in it none stop, in out, in out, in out, in out, the sound of that door slamming drove me up the wall! But once they got used to having a playhouse, they weren't so excitable and the door slamming ceased, but the play did not.
The space inside the house is adequate enough for children to play. My two daughters (4 & 2) have plenty of room to play with their toys and whatever else they drag in there with them. It does get a bit crowded when they request my presence, and often some toys have to be cast aside so that I can fit within the confines of the house. But I am 5ft 8 with long gangly limbs, so I do take up quite a lot of room, but the children don't seem to mind as long as I'm entertaining them. My nieces often come to play who are aged 9 & 7 and it is this playhouse where the 4 girls spend most of their time, and they seem quite happy with the space available, they have a corner each and this suits them fine.
I was actually considering buying a little table to go with the 2 chairs we had purchased to go inside the house, but I have since reconsidered this because a table would just clog up the house and prevent the kids from enjoying themselves. The carpet is soft enough and if they don't sit on their chairs, they have plenty of fun playing on the floor, and I have found that this is where they spend most of their time anyway.
==Even Though My Husband Built It, It Did Not Blow Away==
Since we have had the house it has been subject to varying weather conditions. Firstly we experienced blazing sunshine and it made the inside of the house extremely hot, I dread to think how hot it will get in the height of summer. The problem here is that none of the windows can be opened, but you can of course leave the door open to let some air in.
Then we had torrential rain, and my only fear was that the rain would get through the gap in the door, which is about half an inch wide, (or God forbid the roof felt which my husband half heartedly nailed into position) but after many rain showers, no water seems to have penetrated the gap or the roof.
Then came the wind, and I wasn't sure whether the house would remain standing, especially since our guttering blew off, and half the fence. But thankfully, the playhouse stayed put and didn't budge an inch, even the roof felt remained intact.
==Final Thoughts and Verdict==
I love this house, and my children love this house. The children now have their own special haven in the garden where they can hide away, role play, and generally have a good time. With our garden being predominantly concrete, this playhouse gives them a safe and comfortable place to sit, play and shelter from the weather. A smaller version would have been too small, and a larger version would have been too large for the size of our garden. So the modest 5'x5' is an excellent size, and I see it being fine right up until the children are no longer interested in playing in a little house! It is also a great little place to throw all their other outdoors toys for storage at the end of the day.
The playhouse looks good, is well constructed and safe, will last the years we need it to, and was reasonably priced. The service from the website was excellent, the delivery driver was really friendly and I couldn't have asked for anything extra. Compared to some other wooden playhouses on the market, and the prices of them, this is a really good deal, and comes highly recommended from me and my kids.