Savvy mum builds incredible DIY playhouse from scratch saving more than £4000

By Emma Rosemurgey

A savvy mum has told how she turned her hand to DIY after refusing to fork out an eyewatering £5000 for a playhouse for her two children.

Primary school teacher, Gemma Bertolotto, from Aberdeenshire in Scotland, was eager to purchase a back garden playhouse for five-year-old Stefano and two-year-old Sofia, but she was shocked when she discovered the prices.

Not one to be defeated, the 37-year-old decided to give it a go herself, buying scrap wood and looking for bargain materials.

Spending a total of £1000 on materials, from cladding to Astroturf, Gemma successfully built the fully insulated 10mx3mx4m playhouse, complete with a living space and kitchen.

Gemma said, "I had nothing growing up. I was born and lived in a high rise flat on a notorious council estate. I now live in the countryside and have acres of land.

"I wanted my children to have a childhood full of wonderful memories. I wanted them to be able to play outdoors in all types of Scottish weather.

"Playhouse this big was around £5000. I couldn't afford that all at once so that's why I completed it in stages too."

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Gemma spent a year building the playhouse, managing time with her children and arranging materials from online marketplace where she got cheaper deals.

She added: "I didn't work from a plan. I made up the design as I went along. I probably spent a year but it only took that long as I got pregnant with my daughter and had to put it on hold. I then could only work on it when she napped.

"I bought the slide and swing set of Facebook marketplace for £150. I then bought the framing timber from Homebase and cladding from B&Q as our local Homebase closed down.

"The glass windows were also a Facebook Marketplace find. I got them for free! I used leftover paint for the interior and the door from scraps of wood."

Gemma's DIY playhouse has turned out really well and children enjoys playing there. She also has found admirers on Instagram where she regularly posts the pictures of her creation.

"They love it! My son calls it his café. They want to have a sleepover in there one night," she said.

"It was an absolute sanctuary during Lockdown. We were cut off from the craziness of the pandemic and lived a wonderful time in the garden in our own little bubble."

Gemma says people 'gasp' when she tells them she built it herself, and she's regularly inundated with messages from people asking where they can get their hands on their own playhouse.

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