Castle Play Structure under construction
Friday, June 12:
Started the day with the Clubhouse framed, sided and the railing post anchored in the deck.
Marco, who has been cutting/shaping the elegant, curved knee braces, is pleased with his handiwork! Once the deck is up in the air, the knee braces will attach underneath (between the corner posts) providing additional strength & stability to the 10.5' x 10.5' deck.
Jose constructs the picket railings
around the Big Deck.
Aubrey and Andrew grind the corner footing posts for the the clubhouse and the 5x5 Fort. The corner posts run long into the ground (inserted into metal sleeves and secured in concrete) to provide the play structure with strength and stability.
End of day and the Clubhouse is already partially disassembled. Monday the crew will start on building the 5x5 Fort that anchors the other end of the 9' long bridge.
Labels: Big Forts, Building in shop
Barbara's Castle Play Structure is under construction
Started the day with Aubrey (newest team member) out on the dock grinding the redwood smooth on all sides. We grind the wood smooth so kids won't get splinters and round the corners so no sharp edges.
Every builder starts in the grinding position, learning how to get the wood to a "buttery smooth" complexion.
In the Building bay, Marco is
constructing the upper Clubhouse and Deck, and stops to discuss details with Jeff.
The guys build from detailed AutoCAD plans that are created by James Butler (Barbara's brother) before any building can commence. James lives in Los Angeles and works out of his home office.
James, a licensed Contractor, often goes on the installations.
In the back of the Building bay, Jose is constructing the doors and shutters while Andrew is building the Gable roof frame.
Meanwhile, the Bridge railing has been completed and moved over
to the Staining bay.
Rudi is taking inventory of our color stain supplies to determine what colors he will have to mix up for this big job.
Since the colors have not been finalized yet, it is still a guess. Barbara hopes to have colors finalized this coming weekend - install is scheduled for the week of June 28th and that's coming up fast!
Labels: Big Forts, Building in shop, Staining
Next Project already underway...
New Castle Play Structure design:
Barbara's latest design started with traipsing through the woods to find the perfect spot for the play structure. Her goal is to find a spot close enough to the house to keep an eye on young kids (from the kitchen window or a porch) but not so close that it feels intrusive when they are older.
After brainstorming ideas with the client, collecting information about what play features to include, taking lots of photos & measurements, (and usually climbing a few trees), Barbara heads back to the shop where she sketches her ideas.
Next, Barbara and Jeff do a "stick-out" of the shape of the play structure (Jeff is standing on the bridge-over-swings)
. This lets everyone visualize how the structure will fit in the space and provides a chance to chance sizes (e.g., make the Clubhouse smaller and the deck bigger, etc.).
While on site, Barbara arranged the client's favorite stain color chips on a bench - the best way to look at the stain colors is in natural light.
Sometimes, the hardest part is choosing the colors! We make our own non-toxic stains at our shop and offer 59 colors to choose from. Color talk starts during the design process but is usually finalized after construction begins.
Once the design is finalized and the AutoCAD construction drawings are completed, we will started to build. More to come...
Labels: Artist Sketch, Barbara + others, Stick-out
Long Island Treehouse: Design process
In February, Barbara started the design process for this Long Island treehouse:
Her first step was to visit the site, meet with her client, brainstorm ideas and help select the tree. Then take lots of photos. Back at the shop, Barbara "painted" the treehouse design directly onto the digital image.
Once the design was finalized, Barbara created an Artist Sketch with colors for both the exterior and the interior.
Next: build, carve and stain the structure - weeks of work! Now, we are almost ready to deliver:
Building has been completed and the stain has been applied and dried - all that's left is to move the modular parts to our Detailing Bay
where we pre-assemble the treehouse to ensure a perfect fit. The more we can pre-assembled before going to site, the smoother the process will be once we are there.
The guys pull up their racks filled with tools, materials and treehouse parts, then proceed to detail (e.g. assemble the walls and decking, add shutters, doors, rock holds, etc.). Because the clubhouse & deck will be supported by long knee braces attached to the tree (see Artist Sketch above), there are only a few footing posts on this project. The structure can sit on the floor while detailing commences.
Rudi, in the meantime, is adding the final touches to the Top Secret Safe door panel which is then installed on an interior Clubhouse wall.
The last to be added is the big Gable Roof. This treehouse was designed with a special "sliding" front door. Because the main trunk of the tree is so close to the clubhouse (breaking through the deck) the door slides open behind the tree.
Now we disassemble the Clubhouse, "blanket wrap" the big modular pieces, box up the small parts and load the truck. We also load up all tools and materials that will be needed from electric drills to scaffolding to concrete. Jeff will take off tomorrow, early morning, and drive the Treehouse, a Playhouse and a Fort to the East Coast. Barbara and crew will fly in on Sunday. Installations start on Monday!
More to come - Barbara is sure to send images from Southampton!
Labels: Artist Sketch, Building in shop, Detailing, Play Accessories, Staining, Treehouses
Pretty in Pink
Barbara Butler's Country Cottage Playhouse
We are about to pack up this playhouse and send it off to NY (along with a treehouse that is going to Southampton). Jose is "detailing" which is the last step in the process: hanging the Dutch door and shutters, adding the trims, adding any play accessories and touching up any scratches. Once the playhouse is perfect, we take it apart, "blanket wrap" the big pieces (and box the small pieces) then load it into the truck.
Barbara hand-carves the flowers, fairies, dragonflies, butterflies, birds and fauna on all 4 sides of the playhouse. Then Rudi, our Master Stainer, applies the color:
Jeff (Barbara's husband) will be driving the truck across country this week, then Barbara and crew will fly in on Sunday. Installations start on Monday.
Labels: Carvings, Detailing, Playhouses
Barbara Butler's Robin Hoods Fort with 2 swings
Look what was just installed last week in Pasadena, CA: beautiful, luscious colors on Barbara's popular Robin Hood's Fort play structure (this one has a 9' long bridge over 2 swings and a Pyramid roof with stars):
Rocket Ship: Crew installing inside large warehouse!