A family from Wiltshire have used their time in lockdown to create an impressive playhouse for their four children.

Hannah and Darryl Emberson, with some help from their kids, put together their own a "Lockdown Lodge" in the garden for just £250 all in.

"The idea for our tree house project came about whilst making a fruit and veg planter as a family project," Hannah, 35, told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk.

"Our nine-year-old son asked whether we could build him a tree house. We didn't have enough wood to do this, nor a big enough tree."

But with George not giving up on the idea, his parents turned to social media to see if there was a way to make it happen.

"Despite our attempts to appease him, he continued to ask, so we agreed to post in our village Facebook group to see if anyone else had some spare pallets or wood that we could have," Hannah said.

It turned out to be the right call.

The garden playroom named in honour of the strange times

"We live in the village of Winterslow in Wiltshire and have a wonderfully supportive community. During the pandemic, everyone has come together to support one another; we have only lived in the village a year, but it truly feels like home," Hannah said.

"Fortunately our pleas were answered and we were offered much more than we could have imagined!"

As well as pallets, they got all kinds of extras they could use for the playhouse - from cladding to old barn doors, decking, bannister spindles and more.

So with all the supplies in, it was time to get building.

They started with a raised floor
The children helped out preparing the wood

"Our initial plan was to make a raised structure using a couple of pallets - nothing fancy! But with the unexpected resources, we decided to start building and plan as we went along to make the most of what we had," Hannah said.

"We began with the base and moved on to the back and far side, making a frame and using the wood to clad it out.

"We extended the frame to make the opposite side and when we ran out of the cladding, we used two old barn style doors for the front, cutting out windows and fitting some perspex we already had, leftover from a previous project."

The frame came next
Leftovers from old projects were added in

"The roof was made using two more doors, secured together with end timbers and covered in roofing felt. We upcycled as much possible; making the barn-style door from all the offcuts, carefully securing them together and sanding to a nice finish before painting.

"With some adjustments, we used an old section of decking, carefully cutting it in around the tree… it's as close to a treehouse as we could manage! Finally, we added the bannister, rope, steps and window boxes."

And the children were on and to help out too.

“The kids helped with removing nails from pallets, sanding, painting, some drilling and screwing, and painting - although I did the more detailed bits. They also helped us to decide with design ideas - particularly with the decking around the tree," Hannah said. 

Hannah loved adding small touches to the decorations
Stencils helped make it all look professional

"My favourite part of all was decorating it! I discovered Frenchic Furniture Paint just before lockdown when I upcycled a desk.

“I sourced more Frenchic paint direct from their website online and from my local stockists 'Ever So' and 'Upcycled Me' who offered contactless delivery, and later contactless collection as the lockdown began to ease.

"I used Frenchic's ‘Alfresco' range to paint and stencil the inside and out, adding finishing coat for extra protection on the steps, flooring and window boxes.

"The stencil was from ebay. When IKEA reopened, I took my nine-year-old son to choose all the interior decoration and we already had the pillows that were used.

"We spent around £250 in total. For extra bits we couldn't source for free such as fixings, rope, door and window trims, felt for the roof and extra decking boards, we used B&Q's click and collect system.”

The finished lodge kept a treehouse feel
Inside and ready to go

And as well as an epic playroom for the children, the project also helped keep them sane and bring them closer to their neighbours.

"When we first began the project, I hoped it would give our children a safe space to enjoy outdoors and make the most of an unused, overgrown part of the garden,” Hannah said.

"We hadn't planned for it to be anything fancy, but the generosity of others and access to wonderful paint made it what it is.

"With my husband furloughed and myself staying home due to my asthma, it gave us the opportunity to enjoy time together during lockdown.

"We are both quite handy with DIY projects so we were equally able to work together throughout. It also provided a welcome downtime from trying to homeschool four children!

Safe to say the children are fans
Hannah and Darryl

"For anyone else looking to make something similar, I would recommend they reach out to their local community to see what resources are available.

"It saves money and landfills if items can be reused and whilst it takes a little more effort and extra creativity, it is certainly more rewarding in the long-term.

"Being able to connect with people locally, albeit virtually, has helped us develop a sense of belonging within our community and reduce feelings of isolation.

"We named the playhouse 'Lockdown Lodge' as it seemed fitting to have it as a memory of this time and shows that despite the challenges faced, there have been some positives to come out of this pandemic.

"When we look at what has been achieved, we have a huge sense of accomplishment and gratitude.

"Our children now spend hours in there reading and drawing, they have even started to write their own stories together.

"I have also found a love of upcycling and plan to carry on this long after lockdown."