Creating an Escape at Home:
A Backyard Bungalow

The Handmade Home

If Virginia Woolf had been writing about children, she might still have argued that a room of one's own is necessary for imagination and creativity to reach their full potential. As my mom (and her poor couch cushions) will attest, every kid dreams of having a hideout. Whether they're pillow-and-blanket constructions that get torn down in a matter of hours or more permanent places nestled among branches and leaves, forts and playspaces are the ultimate childhood escape.

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Ashley from The Handmade Home had dreamt of having such a space when she was a kid, so after a long time planning and saving, she and her husband Jamin decided to make the dream a reality for their three children.

Self-taught in the ways of carpentry, the couple used internet tutorials, trial-and-error, and some serious elbow grease to complete this large project on a reasonable budget. The bungalow, which took an estimated 20 hours to build, is comprised of a 10' x 8' deck, half of which is sheltered by surrounding walls. The couple opted for billowy outdoor curtains instead of a fourth wall, giving the hideout an airier feel and making it more suitable for the southern climate. Bright paint and the slide make this a kid-friendly space, but some basic furniture and collected accessories make the bungalow parent-friendly as well.

This is not a DIY for the faint of heart, but for Ashley and Jamin, the effort definitely paid off. Now their kids have a place to dream, play, and create (and perhaps most importantly, an awesome place to pretend to be pirates). And with all the added potential for campouts and al fresco dining, the bungalow also functions as an escape for parents. "I live vicariously through my children," Ashley says. "Secretly, this hideaway was for me."

To see more photos, a series of how-to posts, and a price breakdown, visit The Handmade Home.

(Images: The Handmade Home.)

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