Seemingly overnight, we are in full-on blazing hot summer here in Texas. I grew up in Houston, and after 30 years it is no less shocking just how hot it can get. One of the best things about our farm is that we are up on a hill, and there is a constant breeze which makes it feel 5-10 blessed degrees cooler.
I had commissioned Grace’s playhouse as a present for her 4th Birthday last August, and it’s going to be getting a lot of action this summer. Not only for the kids, but as a refuge for the adults too- since we put a small AC window unit inside! If you haven’t seen the playhouse in this months Country Living, you should check it out- but I wanted to go ahead and show you around inside!
I knew I wanted to build a really special playhouse out at our farm, and in my internet searches for inspiration found Lilliput Playhomes. I was blown away by their work (you should look through their custom portfolio, it’s pretty impressive) and after reaching out to them to learn more about the process, I decided to commission them to build our playhouse. I wanted the playhouse to work with the overall property- our hope is that even after our kids outgrow it, we can keep it for future generations- and I wanted it to be big enough to entertain all of the kids we have out to the farm on weekends. I thought about various “Country” structures- perhaps a barn? Or several smaller structures- they have a little town in their portfolio that is super cute- and then started thinking about Texas landmarks. At first I
considered remembered The Alamo (harder), and then it hit me, Gruene Hall!
The famous dance hall in Gruene Texas! Aesthetically it fit with the other white structures on the property, and the Gruene/Grace similarity was too perfect. I gathered as many images of the interior and exterior as I could find and sent them to Lilliput to get started.
We replicated the stage at Gruene Hall on one side of the playhouse for the kids to have a little performance venue…
I am so impressed by Lilliputs attention to detail. Their little version of the Gruene Hall stage backdrop is perfection, and including the little Texas flag on the ceiling? Genius.
Lilliput also decorated with some honkeytonk signs, and shelves for us to stock with the kids toys.
There are two picnic tables inside, also inspired by the tables at Gruene Hall, where the kids can eat lunch and play games.
Opposite the stage is a little play kitchen. It normally doesn’t look quite this cute- the kids play hard in here. I was obsessed with all of the little details stylist Becki Griffins brought in for the shoot. They even made real Root-Beer floats for the kids which were a HUGE hit.
One of my favorite elements was including the iconic “GRUENE” water tower perched just behind the historic dance hall in most pictures. We named ours “HAROLD, TX pop. 143” for our son, and added a slide.
The whole playhouse situation is right off of the house, next to the fire pit where we like to listen to music, watch the sunset, and roast s’mores. It really is my happiest of places.
We had so much fun shooting with Country Living, everyone was so talented and patient with our little guys, and I love having these special pictures of our kids and best family friends having the time!
all images by Buff Strickland for Country Living