Family of six in lockdown create incredible ‘Lockdown Lodge’ for just £250
- Hannah Emberson, 35, and her family built the epic pastel playhouse in lockdown
- They sourced materials from their local community and B&Q
- The project cost them just £250 and created lifelong memories for their family
Many families have embraced the challenges of lockdown by improving certain skills, whether it be baking, art or DIY.
Hannah Emberson, 35, a stay at home mum from Wiltshire, made the most of her time stuck at home during the lockdown, building an epic ‘Lockdown Lodge’ together with her husband Darryl, 40, and their four kids aged five, nine, 10 and 13.
The epic pastel playhouse cost the family just £250 to create thanks to their clever use of upcycling, and sourcing spare materials from their community.
"Our nine-year-old son asked whether we could build him a tree house. We didn't have enough wood to do this, nor a big enough tree, but he was quite persistent.
"George is autistic and once he has an idea, he tends to get his heart set on it! Despite our attempts to appease him, he continued to ask, so we agreed to post in our village Facebook group to see if anyone else had some spare pallets or wood that we could have.
"We live in the village of Winterslow in Wiltshire and have a wonderfully supportive community. During the pandemic, everyone has come together to support one another; we have only lived in the village a year, but it truly feels like home.
"Fortunately our pleas were answered and we were offered much more than we could have imagined!
"Amongst pallets, one particular family had spent the previous two years developing their property and had lots of quality cladding off cuts, old barn doors, decking, bannister spindles and more.
"Everything was arranged so we could make a safe contactless collection.
"Our initial plan was to make a raised structure using a couple of pallets - nothing fancy! But with the unexpected resources, we decided to start building and plan as we went along to make the most of what we had.
"We began with the base and moved on to the back and far side, making a frame and using the wood to clad it out.
"We extended the frame to make the opposite side and when we ran out of the cladding, we used two old barn style doors for the front, cutting out windows and fitting some perspex we already had, left over from a previous project.
"The roof was made using two more doors, secured together with end timbers and covered in roofing felt. We upcycled as much possible; making the barn-style door from all the offcuts, carefully securing them together and sanding to a nice finish before painting.
"With some adjustments, we used an old section of decking, carefully cutting it in around the tree… it's as close to a tree house as we could manage! Finally we added the bannister, rope, steps and window boxes.
"My favourite part of all was decorating it! I discovered Frenchic Furniture Paint just before lockdown when I upcycled a desk.
“I sourced more Frenchic paint direct from their website online and from my local stockists 'Ever So' and 'Upcycled Me' who offered contactless delivery, and later contactless collection as the lockdown began to ease.
"I used Frenchic's ‘Alfresco' range to paint and stencil the inside and out, adding finishing coat for extra protection on the steps, flooring and window boxes.
"The stencil was from ebay. When IKEA reopened, I took my nine-year-old son to choose all the interior decoration and we already had the pillows that were used.
"We spent around £250 in total. For extra bits we couldn't source for free such as fixings, rope, door and window trims, felt for the roof and extra decking boards, we used B&Q's click and collect system.”
Hannah and her family feel that building Lockdown Lodge provided the perfect distraction from the stresses of the outside world during the pandemic, and even helped them feel closer to their community.
"When we first began the project, I hoped it would give our children a safe space to enjoy outdoors and make the most of an unused, overgrown part of the garden,” she adds.
"We hadn't planned for it to be anything fancy, but the generosity of others and access to wonderful paint made it what it is.
"With my husband furloughed and myself staying home due to my asthma, it gave us the opportunity to enjoy time together during lockdown.
"We are both quite handy with DIY projects so we were equally able to work together throughout. It also provided a welcome downtime from trying to homeschool four children!
“The kids helped with removing nails from pallets, sanding, painting, some drilling and ********, and painting - although I did the more detailed bits. They also helped us to decide with design ideas - particularly with the decking around the tree.
"For anyone else looking to make something similar, I would recommend they reach out to their local community to see what resources are available.
"It saves money and landfills if items can be reused and whilst it takes a little more effort and extra creativity, it is certainly more rewarding in the long-term.
"Being able to connect with people locally, albeit virtually, has helped us develop a sense of belonging within our community and reduced feelings of isolation.
"We named the playhouse 'Lockdown Lodge' as it seemed fitting to have it as a memory of this time and shows that despite the challenges faced, there have been some positives to come out of this pandemic.
"When we look at what has been achieved, we have a huge sense of accomplishment and gratitude.
"Our children now spend hours in there reading and drawing, they have even started to write their own stories together.
"I have also found a love of upcycling and plan to carry on this long after lockdown."
Tom Church, co-founder of LatestDeals.co.uk, comments: “Many of us will resume normal life eventually and have mixed memories about lockdown and all the complications it’s brought to our lives.
“However, the Emberson family will have incredible memories thanks to their amazing Lockdown Lodge!
“I can’t believe the beautiful pastel creation cost them just £250 to create - it really shows that if you’re savvy when sourcing materials, you can keep costs down hugely, not to mention that a family DIY project like this is hugely rewarding!”
What Hannah bought:
Roofing felt £10
Decking boards £16
Rope and fixings £20
Additional timber £30
Exterior screws £15
Frenchic Alfresco range paint £88
Ebay stencil £7.99
Wall rack & Accessories £25
Picture frames £5.25
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