Two Story Playhouse and plans

UPDATEDx2: We Are Building A Backyard Fort With Our Bare Hands (And Some Tools)

Somewhere between the guilt of cutting down our old oak tree and my husband’s love of building, a fort is growing in our backyard. Scott sent me the original specs, and I fell in love.

Two Story Playhouse and plans
This photo and the original plan is found on

Scott bought my kids tools that really work so they’ve been hammering and drilling and dancing because it does look a lot like a stage.

E drilling
My son screwing in boards. Super cool.
Kids on the first floor of the fort
My kids posing between dance moves on the first floor of the fort.

In fact, everything is going along smoothly until I receive an updated vision of the job in an email from Scott:

twee bungalow from the handmade home
This picture and more are from the handmade home

Me: Um, what is this twee thing you sent me? Did Pottery Barn vomit in that person’s backyard? I want a rain barrel with a pump and tablets to clean the water so they CAN SURVIVE WHEN ALL THE ADULTS HAVE DIED FROM GLOBAL WARMING. I don’t want curtains and monograms. I want a safe house for the coming zombie apocalypse, and my kids to carve their initials into the wood WITH KNIVES.

My son’s ears perk up as he walks into the room: We get knives next?

Okay, maybe I’ve gone off the deep-end a bit, and my friend did point out that the strangest things become useful in zombie attacks so those curtains could be the perfect weapon one day sooooonnnnnn.

While Scott and I are compromising on the aesthetics of our backyard home/safe house/fort, we are ordering the things we agreed on like a (camouflaged) green enclosed twisting slide for easy escapes. However, the slide may fit fine in either version, but Scott confides in me just before Thanksgiving: Alex, I’m beginning to see that a set of free instructions on the Internet on how to build a fort may not be the most reliable. The second floor is supposed to just pop up and bolt in, but they didn’t mention that it weighs ONE HUNDRED POUNDS.

Me: Yeah, the Internet is a vortex of insanity. Or those guys possess superhuman strength and agility like the zombies from 28 Days.

Scott: You have problems.

Me: At least I’m not looking to the Internet to solve them.

Lo and behold, we (as in Scott) solve our fort problem over Thanksgiving without superhuman strength or the Internet. We just put our guests to work. You want turkey? You gotta EARN your turkey.

And voilà:

Late Enough Backyard Fort
We’re like almost halfway there-ish.

UPDATE 1/PS. After I finished writing this, my son built the ladder. By himself.

The Ladder My Son Built
Scott only helped guide him. E was nervous, but he really did it. I’m so proud.

UPDATE 2/PPS. People asked what tools the kids are using to help out so here’s the scoop: We got a lightweight Bosch drill from Lowes (which is cheaper than Amazon but you may not live near one). We also bought a 7 oz Kobalt hammer from Lowes for my 6-year-old so it was light enough for him to use and chose a Kobalt tack hammer for my 3-year-old so there was no sharp edge for her to hit herself accidentally. (I can’t find the brand and weight we got on Amazon but I imagine any local hardware store would have it.) This is all they needed to be a big part of the project. Enjoy!

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

19 thoughts to “UPDATEDx2: We Are Building A Backyard Fort With Our Bare Hands (And Some Tools)”

  1. The poundage thing is something I discovered after using internet plans to build a chicken coop. Of course, by “plans”, I mean “wow this picture looks awesome and I can kind of see how it might work!”. Still, one 2×4 is managageble. 9 2×4’s are friggin’ heavy.

    I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  2. Love this!! 🙂 Scott mentioned the Pottery Barn conversation when I saw him last week… you guys are funny. I’d be going bare-bones, too. Mostly because I’m cheap.

    So what kind of flag are you going to fly at the top?

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