Custom Design Centre Posts

A Playhouse Designed By The Kids

Imagine being a kid and trying to convey to your parents exactly what you want from a playhouse. Everything’s adult-sized and you’re rarely allowed your own space. That’s why kids love Summerwood playhouses so much. We encourage including your kids in the design of their playhouses. The little touches they add make them proud to call it their play-home. Besides, getting the kids involved means extra help during the building process, right!?

custom colorful playhouse summerwood

Playhouses are an easy backyard addition. Due to their size and purpose, you probably won’t need a building permit. But, there are a few important things to consider before purchasing your playhouse: does your backyard have the available space for a playhouse? How can you ensure safely for the little ones? Is a playhouse the best option for your family, or would a small shed prove to be more useful?

Playhouse Styles & Placement

Summerwood offers three standard playhouse models to choose from, The Bear Claw, The Peach Pickers Porch, and The Petite Pentagon. These can be left as is, or customized to your, and your child’s content. When considering where in your backyard it would be best to place your playhouse, consider whether a rectangular, or 5-sided shape would best suit your space (read more about our space-saving 5-sided buildings for grown ups: “The Catalina: Our 5 Sided Corner Building”).

The mini-porch space is the highlight of our Peach Pickers Porch model.

The mini-porch space is the highlight of our Peach Pickers Porch model.

Playhouse Safety

Like all Summerwood structures, our playhouses are built according to the highest standards and building code regulations. Playhouses can also include Plexiglas windows, or no glass at all to ensure that the children are free to cast spells and slay magical dragons without concern. Keep in mind as well that you may want to be able to supervise from afar while the children are at play, so when considering where to build your playhouse, ensure that you have a good vantage point.

summerwood playhouse custom

Long-Term Considerations

Although the children may love and appreciate everything miniature, it may not be the right option for your family in the long term. Summerwood structures are built to last, so it’s important to consider whether or not a playhouse fits your present and future lifestyle. If your storage needs are met, and you believe a playhouse will be thoroughly enjoyed for years to come, it could be the perfect backyard addition. However, a small shed may also be able to serve as a playhouse for the time being, and later function as a storage solution. A playhouse is constructed with the children in mind, so although it may be the perfect size at the present time, your family may outgrow it in due time. The design experts at Summerwood are happy to help you make a selection that will serve your family for years to come.

A Five-Sided Corner Catalina, adapted to function as a playhouse until they're all grown up.

A Five-Sided Corner Catalina, adapted to function as a playhouse until they’re all grown up.

Kids are more likely to take care of their playhouse if they're involved in the process.

Kids are more likely to take care of their playhouse if they’re involved in the process.

If you’re just starting to consider the addition of a custom backyard playhouse, don’t forget to take the opportunity to treat the kids like your personal design consultants. Have them join you at our Custom Design Center. It’s an intuitive “drag n’ drop” tool that they’ll love fiddling with.

Sharon of Brampton, Ontario did just that. “We talked it over with the kids, and then we talked to Summerwood. They were very helpful and knew the product inside out. We showed the kids the design online. They ‘approved’ it.”

Contact Us:
Check out our website: www.summerwood.com
Email us: design@summerwood.com
Call us toll-free: 1 866 519-4634

Don’t forget to play…

10 Things You Need To Know Before Staining Your Cedar

Cooper Creek 9ft x 12ft

Cedar is by far our favourite siding material for countless reasons. Although we understand the need and convenience of maintenance free options, when it comes to siding, we simply can’t compete with nature. Western Red Cedar has been our first choice for years due to its durability, ascetic appeal, and environmental sustainability.

At Summerwood, we always recommend that our customers stain their cedar-sided building. So, why do we recommend this to our customers?  Although you can let your cedar weather naturally when used for a deck or a fence, when you’re using it as a siding the idea is to keep the elements out. You want your beautiful custom backyard building to stay that way, and for your belongings to remain safe and dry inside. Staining the cedar is the absolute best way to ensure this, especially in areas that have four-season climates. Since Western Red Cedar naturally lacks pitch and resin, it allows for countless staining options and will accept stain very well if applied correctly. To help you properly stain your newly built outdoor structure, we’ve come up with 10 tips to help you stain your cedar and to keep it looking new for years to come.

 

10 Tips for staining your cedar

 

1. Three choices for staining

When it comes to staining your cedar, you have three choices: natural, semi -transparent, and coloured or opaque. Consider whether you want your building to look untouched or add a pop of colour to your yard before choosing.

 

2. Transparent stains have water-repellent features

Cedar is known to age gracefully to a soft, silver-grey patina, but it’s wise to keep the rich tones of your cedar siding lasting longer. Transparent stains contain no pigment but have water-repellent features that will help to retain natural tones and slow down the natural colour change process. It’s a win-win!

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3. Offer up a hint of colour

Semi-transparent stains offer up a hint of colour. They still represent the wood beautifully but give it a little boost. Grains and knots in your wood will be modified, not enough to take away from its natural qualities though!

 

4. Coloured/Opaque finishes add a little charm

Coloured/opaque finishes allow you to have fun with your finished product. If you want to go for a dramatic look, or maybe add a little extra charm, this may be the way to go. This option isn’t for the indecisive though, so make sure you know exactly what you want!

 

5. The sooner you treat your cedar, the better

Once you’ve decided on your finish it’s best to get to work quickly. The sooner you treat your cedar, the better. Although cedar is naturally resistant to rot and decay, staining your siding promptly will help in the preventing of deterioration.

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6. Wash & wait for it to dry

Prepare your cedar siding by washing it with soapy water to remove any dirt or dust (if any has accumulated). After you have washed it, wait for it to dry before applying any stain to the cedar.

 

7. Use a thick brush when staining

One of the most thorough methods when staining is to use a thick, natural bristle brush. The brush bristles will distribute the stain evenly onto the wood, as well as helping to reach the undulations on the surface of the cedar. If you are thinking about using a rolling brush.

 

8. Work in the shade while staining

It is best to apply the stain to the cedar while working the shade. This will allow the stain to sink deeper in the cedar surface. One of the best ways to help them dry properly is to set them on sawhorses, thus keeping them off the grass, soil, and sand, making your task a lot easier.

 

9. Allow the stain to dry slowly & apply a second coat

Two coats are always recommended when you want to maintain the natural look of Western red cedar. After you have put the first coat on, it is recommended that you wait 6 to 8 hours for it to dry before placing a second coat on.

 

10. Enjoy!

Bask in the glory of your newly finished cedar building for years to come.

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For countless styles and options, cedar is consistently the best choice! Please don’t hesitate to contact the design experts at Summerwood with any questions you may have: 1-866-519-4634.

If you’re ready to design your very own spectacular cedar building, or do some brainstorming, our Design Center will get your creative wheels turning!

Custom Design Centre Call to Action

 

Before and After Backyard Facelift

At Summerwood we see all kinds of backyard transformations. It often takes just one great garden shed or studio to create an outdoor space worth spending time in. This case came from Toronto, when a customer moved into a home and wanted to give the tired backyard a facelift.

There was an existing structure used for storage but it really didn’t lure you into the space. People often overlook their backyards, not realizing a backyard is an extension of the home. That’s where we came in.

6A

We tore down the old and weathered storage shelter and got down to business. We didn’t want to overwhelm the space, as the pool was going to be the focal point of the backyard, so we chose a traditional Palmerston garden shed. The owner wanted a spot to house tools, store outdoor furniture, and maybe even for swimmers to towel off and change. The Palmerston was perfect because it neatly fit into the corner without overwhelming the space.

A new fence went up and the Palmerston was incorporated into it, creating a streamlined and clean look. It was a custom job and the results were definitely worth it. By simply installing the Palmerston and putting up a new fence, the backyard quickly came together. While the pool was to be the focal point, we think the Palmerston stole the spotlight.

6B

6C

Greetings from Grenada!

 

Summerwood was recently approached to work in close contact with Mike Jordan of CocoNet Ltd which specializes in design management and is based in Grenada, a small group of islands in the Caribbean. Mike was tasked with designing and erecting multiple buildings on the island of St. George for various uses as shops, residences, and tour offices.

To fit the bill, Mike purchased several 18′ x 20′ Canmore and Mountain Brook buildings. The final pictures tell a true tale of how beautiful the land is and how our structures and the climate complement each other so well. The various colours the buildings have been painted are a homage to the colour schemes used in the area; while definitely not colorus we see every day, we certainly love them in this setting.

Mike Jordan is now the official retailer of Summerwood Products in the Caribbean region and is continually erecting our structures throughout Grenada. Stay tuned for more great pictures and new stories coming from Grenada as this new partnership continues to develop and flourish.

Photos Courtesy of: Camper & Nicholson’s Port Louis Marina, Grenada  grenadagenada4 grenada2 grenada3 grenada5

Spring/Summer 2014 Style Picks

It’s all about modern edge this summer with our SS14 picks. It’s important to always keep in mind that our structures can be purposed for absolutely anything. A studio can be a garage, a shed can be a studio, don’t let the names stifle your creative vision. Each one of our modern designs offers effortless style for looks that we think are pretty timeless.

 

The Urban Garage, initially labeled a shed, was repurposed for a Toronto client when he was looking for a sleek design that would complement his urban home.  Clean lines and a contemporary feel make this a chic choice for those looking to add personality to their outdoor space.

urban garage

 

The Dune cabana is one of our particularly trendy designs; it’s perfect for housing your pool equipment or garden tools in style. Its stand out feature is the picture frame concealed door, standard on all Dune models. The hidden door offers a streamlined finish for modern simplicity that works especially well in smaller yards.

dune cabana

And finally the Verana Collection, designed by award-winning Toronto architects Christina Ho Ping and Peter Tan, offers prefab styles that boast refreshing simplicity. Built-in desks, cabinets and closets, as well as shelving and even a Murphy bed are options that make the space in your Verana structure truly functional. With the option of sliding doors or bifold doors in cedar, fir or oak, it’s safe to say that your preference will be met.

verana collection

 

Embracing style, health, and sustainability the Verana Collection is all about green style with these key features:

 

  • Sedum green roof option for reducing carbon footprint (less heating and cooling required)
  • Large overhangs over glazing walls to reduce heat gain in the building
  • Strawboard finishes that utilize a non-formaldehyde-based production process (no glues, renewable)
  • Engineered to sit on concrete blocks creating minimal land damage
  • EPDM waterproof roof that does not pollute runoff rainwater, ideal for rainwater harvesting

inside verana

 

So not only are we loving Christina and Peter’s designs, we think it’s pretty cool that they’re green as well. We hope our SS14 picks help to inspire your outdoor style.