Playhouse Wonders: 11 Insane Over-the-Top Clubhouse Designs


The clubhouse is a quintessential symbol of childhood: Children love to imagine a house, play pretend they’re guarding a fort, or even just hold secret club meetings. The clubhouse is a child’s private space and serves as the source of much of their imaginative play. One could argue that home improvement stores stay in business because of weekend warriors hell-bent on building the best possible structure for their children, and while most are quite tame, some parents let their creativity fly and others throw money at private contractors; whatever the motivation behind the creation of these playhouses, it’s undeniably fascinating to see a glimpse into the most interesting backyards in the world.


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In modern architecture, form matches function, and the simplicity of a clubhouse’s design is the source of its beauty. These compelling playhouses look mature and sophisticated while still serving the needs of a playful group of children. Adults will feel jealous of their own children, wishing they could shrink down and join them in these classy creations.


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When one thinks of a clubhouse, they typically imagine a square treehouse, or a haphazard structure made of plywood. Some people eschew such a simple creation and choose unusual shapes or different methods of construction. From customizable huts reminiscent of hobbit holes, to woven structures that appear more at home on the plains of a savannah, these creations are interesting mostly because of their quirky design.


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Every kid wants to be a pirate on the high seas, and these playhouses are the perfect vessel for a journey of the mind. Beautifully constructed, and strikingly designed, these are impressive to child and adult alike. More fitting for a playground than a private residence, entire crews of children can pretend they’re a member of an infamous pirate crew, working in tandem in their endless pursuit of treasure.


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Size is an important factor when designing a clubhouse, and most people tend to favor a space that can comfortably hold 3-4 children. People love extremes, and some clubhouses are so small, they’re practically unusable for anything beyond decoration. On the opposite end of the spectrum are those who think bigger is always better. These parents practically make their children homeowners in their own right, as they scale up clubhouses to a ridiculous degree.


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Kids love pretending they’re guarding a fort, and some parents feed into this desire by making their children’s play areas military in appearance and design. Creating a mini bunker in the backyard is a great way to foster imaginary war games for the child pretending to be a soldier.


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Some playhouses are more like guest houses, with the look and dimensions of a normal house scaled down. Wealthy parents may not have qualms about spending tens of thousands of dollars on an impressive structure that their children will outgrow within years. It may be the epitome of waste, but it’s also fascinating to see such lovely houses built on such a small scale.


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The whim of childhood inspires cartoonish designs. Crooked buildings with oversized roofs and oddly proportioned features look fun and inviting, and children won’t hesitate to take advantage of the entertainment they offer. A lot of effort goes into these playhouses, and they’re perfectly designed to strike a chord with the children that use them.


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After playing soldier, one of the top games kids like to play is cops versus robbers. What better way to make your children happy than by creating your own mini jail for them? One can be the sheriff and guard against increasingly daring escape attempts. The wild west is brought into the backyard, and the only thing missing is a tumbleweed.


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Knights in shining armor are the subject of countless tales of heroism, and every kingdom needs a castle. With towering turrets, drawbridges, and high walls, the modern castle clubhouse is more luxurious than ever before. These clubhouses serve as a great base for dragon slaying expeditions, and meetings of the knights of the round table.


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Clubhouses come in all shapes and sizes, and tend to center around basic themes. Some clubhouses break the mold by striking out in a unique direction. Whether they’re conceived as art projects, or just creative adaptations of typical clubhouse themes, these productions are colorful, functional, and over the top.


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Most playhouses are made of wood, but children aren’t picky. Anyone who has ever made a fort out of a pile of pillows knows that children aren’t too particular about the materials with which their imaginary worlds are made. Some designers have taken this knowledge and used it to create sophisticated structures out of a common material: cardboard. These designers have gone so far as to create appliances and other accoutrements. Easily assembled, and easily taken down, these are the perfect structures for occasional fun, without the incredible expense of a permanent structure.