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The GREAT Outdoors

Outdoors, Indoors... the lines are always blurred in the summertime! Throw open the doors and windows; take a ride in the car with the windows down and the air blowing! You just cannot get enough of the summer air, the smell of the ocean or a whiff of honeysuckle-the great outdoors. That's why you maximize your outside experience to its fullest joy-giving potential for the whole family! For the grown-ups, it means a great table to eat on, great chairs to sit in, maybe an umbrella to be under.  For the children (or kid in us all) a trampoline is a must! I sought out the safest trampoline available and we all made the most of it, jumping and playing until we just couldn't jump anymore! Create your own playground outdoors to suit with swingsets, blankets on the grass, or maybe even a slip-n-slide!
What could be better?

 “Just living
is not enough.

One must have

and a little flower.

—Hans Christian Anderson

This CLASSIC ROPE HAMMOCK from Crate and Barrel screams Summer to me. I also love the idea of the throw pillows. I would put on some SPF and prepare myself for a midday nap!
The SAINT TROPEZ CHAISE by Kingsley Bate is great for poolside lounging because it's comfortable without a cushion and adjusts to five different positions!
Whether used for children or adults, these OUTDOOR BEANBAGS from West Elm are a genius idea for casual lounging! They're lightweight, and made of water resistant material.
WOW! Talk about your own outdoor retreat. I could curl up on FRONTGATE'S DOUBLE CHAISE WITH CANOPY for days with a good book and a tall drink!

PLAYhouses make DREAM-houses

When I was selling the Farm House, it was so interesting to me that people asked as many questions about my outdoor furniture and "rooms" as my indoor furniture and rooms! Every offer that was put on the table included some of the indoor furniture, but without fail, all of the outdoor furniture was included with the bid. One of the biggest hits was the castle-like swingset below. I believe that giving a child a "room of their own" —make that "HOME of their own" —gives them a sense of place that truly opens their imagination. Just like with the forts in THE PLAYROOM, it doesn't have to be this elaborate.
It could simply be a cardboard box and some blankets, but whatever it is, it should be theirs! And, knowing it's solid, secure, and as safe as possible gives moms peace of mind too. In some cases, it even becomes a sculpture for the yard.

Serendipity Swingset from Cedar Works
I love this because it is made from northern white cedar and so becomes an extension of your house,
if it is cedar, and blends instead of standing out so much. It is also much safer than regular pressure treated wood which can be riddled with chemicals including arsenic—I am sure there are many parents who
would not have bought a particular playset had they known that!  To read more about this check out the cedarworks blog.

Metro Play from Metro Shed
This reminds me so much of Laurie Simmons' Kaleidoscope House! The yellow full-size tempered sliding glass doors create a great little outdoor hideout for you or the kids. Add on optional slide and swings and call it a modern playhouse. Or just use the basic structure as an outdoor art studio.
8' x 8' room with optional 4' square slide tower and swing bar

Lil' Raskal's Lookout from Lilliput Playhomes
Lilliput has an amazing range of playhouses from their Neighborhood Market to the Olde Firehouse. One of my favorites is the Lil' Raskal's Lookout that has the class kid feeling of a secret clubhouse complete with loft lookout and telescope.
6' x 11' footprint

Topsy-Turvy Playhouse from Posh Tots
The Topsy-Turvy Playhouse is a safe, fanciful place where a kid's dreams come to life. Each playhouse is handcrafted and hand-painted for the ultimate in quality and appeal. Features a solid pressure-treated base foundation for lasting use and high-quality exterior wood siding and cedar shingle roof. Choose from 9 available colors.
4' x 8' footprint

QB playhouse
This is one of the most unique playhouse I've found. Think modern hobbit dwelling that you can customize with colors and prints to match your imagination. The website interface even lets you color on the spot to see your creation in progress. And yes, there is an "English" button in the top left; no Dutch reading required.


“Man is most nearly himself
when he achieves

the seriousness
of a child
at play.”

—Herodotus, Greek historian

Sunflower Playhouse from Home Depot
Leave it to Home Depot to come up with the best combination of cute and functional. It's made of Western Red Cedar, a wood that is beautiful, long-lasting, naturally resistant to decay and insects and above all else—safe. The windows are fully functional with screens and two flower boxes. There's even a dutch door, designer shingled gable and 3 ft. cedar deck on porch.  AND it's made of entirely renewable resources.
6' x 8.75' footprint

Victorian Playhouse from Posh Tots
Designed and built by Alan Mowrer, the playhouse is beyond posh.
It has a front porch, turret, cedar-shingled gable, scrollwork accents, octagonal window, shingled roof, and even a bay window with window boxes. Each playhouse is a custom piece with endless interior and finish options.
custom dimensions

Red Beard's Revenge Pirate Ship Playhouse from Posh Tots
Jack Sparrow himself would envy this pirate ship fully outfitted with captain's quarters, upper and lower decks, and a handcrafted crow's nest for spotting trouble on the high seas. The Captain's quarters has enough room for 3-4 seated adults and has leatherette-cushioned benches that double as sleeping bunks. It's built for fun with 17 peepholes and cannonball-riddled mast and rigging, but also built to last with mahogany and steam curved poplar planks and a Douglas fir subflooring, decking and framing.
18' x 11' footprint