Twins Matilda and Tallulah Macdonald were perplexed when they arrived at their home in Stowe this past summer and discovered a small purple dwelling outside. "Whose house is in our yard?" they wondered.
The playhouse, which had been delivered earlier that day, was a surprise fourth birthday present from Oma — their grandmother, Peggy Smith.
Smith co-owns Smith Macdonald Real Estate Group with her son McKee Macdonald, the girls' father; she recently sold a house to local designer and builder James Westermann. After learning that Westermann had created some unconventional chicken coops and sculptures, she commissioned him to make a playhouse for her granddaughters that was "funky and purple."
The brightly painted shed is anything but traditional. The open windows tip toward each other; a slightly tilted cupola juts out from the roof.
The hand-carved wooden knob on the split front door opens into a space big enough for a grown-up to stand in. A little roof overhanging the front door is connected to a small front porch by two columns made of birch trees so freshly cut that one sprouted a stem over the summer.
When the girls' dad was growing up, he helped his father and godfather build an elaborate treehouse from discarded items and salvage-yard treasures. The house had real windows and an old steel staircase. "I guess this is just Oma's way of extending that tradition," he says. "Kind of her way of reliving my childhood through my daughters."
Matilda's favorite thing about the playhouse? It's from her Oma.
Parents: McKee and Jen Macdonald
Daughters: Matilda and Tallulah, both 4
The 8-by-10-foot interior is outfitted with a small table and chairs, a bright rug and a bed for the family's pup, Diego.
A ladder with a railing leads up to the cupola, where kids can take a peek out of a pair of windows.
Two pink plastic Adirondack chairs and a pumpkin on the porch add to the tiny-house vibe.
Macdonald plans to install Plexiglas windows soon. The girls look forward to painting the playhouse's interior walls next summer.
Smugglers' Notch, VT
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