Drôle House Blog

Simple Monkey Bar

I hate toys. No, that's not entirely true. I just wish they magically put themselves away, or repaired themselves when broken, or changed into something different once the kids got bored, or at the very least didn't scatter throughout the house like dandelion seeds. There are a few exceptions of course, but toys are generally two per cent useful and ninety eight percent clean-up. I wish there was a way to design them to invisibly blend into the background of the home. 

This is a simple monkey bar prototype inspired by website requests. Though chin up bars similar to this can be found pretty cheaply online, this prototype has three sets of cradles can be placed at any height along a wooden door frame to accommodate many users, from aged two to adult. Adjustable bars like this one, that can be put together in an afternoon, dismantled and stored in a jiffy, that even a young child can easily use and change, well, that is something worth trying out. 

This simple monkey bar is made of a cut galvanized steel fence post, anchored into it's plywood cradle with simple nut and bolt hardware. A stopper installed directly above the bar can be turned to 'lock' and 'unlock' it from it's cradle for added safety. The plywood cradle and latch are of 3/4" plywood, screwed through to the door studs. The bar can be stored away out of sight atop the door trim, where two drilled holes are concealed. 

If you'd like to know more, comment below! 

~Deborah

 

Fence Bouldering Wall

Everyone knows which house is the fun house on the block, the place where all the neighbourhood kids gravitate to. Maybe they give out unlimited freezies in hot weather, maybe they have wicked game consoles, or maybe they have great toys or engaging play spaces. I'm not going to lie, I want to be that house. I like to keep 'em close, you know? Backyards can be wonderful semi-private zones for kids to spread out in, be loud in, or plot together in the corner all the while kept close enough to be supervised. What are you supposed to do if you have the world's tiniest-postage-stamp-of-an-urban-backyard? There are more surfaces available to play on than the grass, of course! 

This fence bouldering wall was designed to be a circuit or path that starts at ground level, travels along the garage wall, turns on to the fence, pauses at raised platforms at increasing heights, and ends in a treehouse in the centre of the yard. There is a variety of difficulty in this mini adventure playground, so not only is it cleverly off limits to toddlers, but there are real physical milestones for kids to reach as they test their abilities and grow into the space.  

The backyard is 18'x18' and features a mature cherry tree in the centre...not much room at all. The renovation was completed without removing the existing fence, merely beefing it up with strapping and re-cladding horizontally. The cladding is a combination of new cedar boards and the re-used pressure treated boards from the old fence. To give the old boards new life, the rounded edges were cut off for a cleaner look, primed and painted on all sides before being reinstalled horizontally. The bright orange bouldering holds (from mec.ca) add a pop of colour to the natural tones of the wood.

A look to the corner platform and gate. The reinforced corner stabilities the fence.

A look to the corner platform and gate. The reinforced corner stabilities the fence.

A look inside the fence at the vertical strapping and the green board of the neighbour's side.

A look inside the fence at the vertical strapping and the green board of the neighbour's side.

Garage wall re-clad with old fence boards.

Garage wall re-clad with old fence boards.

If you would like to know more about a step-by-step process to make your own fence bouldering wall happen, share this blog and let me know by posting a comment below. For more info on projects, Drôle House design services, e-manuals, resources and ideas, please click here to subscribe.

~Deborah

Hammock/Nest

{Hammock/Nest} - A Drôle House Prototype

When kids share a bedroom, it is inevitable that one will utter "this side is MINE!" and attempt to negotiate a masking tape divider to mark their territory. While that certainly is one way to awknowledge a child's need for personal/sacred space, there are other possibilities. The vertical space of a room is generally underused, and that's right where this prototype fits in. Part hammock, part nest perched in the upper corner, it lends itself to multiple uses including night light, toy storage, reading nook, hiding space, lookout and tantrum tamer. It's made to hold one little body, so it's off limits to adults and group play. 

The two examples shown here hang from three i-hooks screwed up into the ceiling joists (very important!). One is reached from a wooden ladder tucked into the small space between interior wall and fireplace (fixed to ceiling and floor), the other has wooden holds drilled into a plaster-atop-brick party wall. Each climbing setup can be customized to keep very small children out. Easily put together, easily cleaned, easily dismantled. Appropriate for ages 3-8.