My favorite toy at Growing Tree Toys is the Casa Cabana House, a plain-white cardboard playhouse. It’s a space that kids can use in any way they choose. It can be painted or wallpapered like a dream house. You could glue toys, jewels, fur and feathers all over it to complete a more abstract vision of home. No matter how kids chose to decorate and redecorate the Casa Cabana, the pretend play possibilities are endless and that’s why I love it as a playhouse and plaything.
I’ve been running around the internet, looking for more cardboard playhouses to love. I found three.
The Villa Julia
Spanish artist and designer, Javier Mariscal, created the Villa Julia in 2009. It’s special because it doesn’t look like the familiar four walls and peaked roof that frequently communicate, “this thing is a house” to a child. It’s modern, with long windows gathered to one side and a graceful slanted roof. It’s homey too. There’s a chimney, implying an imaginary fireplace and a spigot for gardening and outdoor chores. I think of it as a cartoon bungalow.
It’s a playhouse with style and charm. Unfortunately if you want your own Villa Julia to play with (I really, really do) then you’ll have to pay around three hundred and fifty dollars. How would I justify paying hundreds of dollars for what is essentially cardboard? I think like this, “It’s like buying a first edition print of artwork I like.”
Cardboard Cubby House
This playhouse is a little bit insane. The Cardboard Cubby House is a prototype created by Marcus Trimble and Erin Field of architecture firm, Super Colossal for the Sydney Design and Decoration trade show in 2008. It consists of 7 interlocking tubes that are open at the top to allow in light. Although this one is gigantic, Super Colossal has talked about creating a smaller, flat packed version that could fit in the trunk of a car.
So far, no version is for sale, but Super Colossal has a plan you can follow to build your own on their website. The Cardboard Cubby House is meant to be a temporary outdoor playhouse that biodegrades after a rainfall. With such a short lifespan, the Cardboard Cubby House becomes a special experience for kids.
Cardboard Apartment (Casa De Carton)
This one isn’t really a playhouse for kids. It’s an art installation by Chilean artist Luise Valdes (a.k.a. Don Lucho) made completely from cardboard, paper, white paint and marker. Unlike my other favorite playhouses, this one doesn’t focus on exterior architectural elements. It’s all about the interior details like cardboard sneakers, a toilet, kitchen utensils and hundreds of little details that make the apartment seem full.
The general disorder—from the cardboard underwear strewn about the bedroom, to the skateboard deck against the wall—the paper apartment hints at who its inhabitant might be. There’s even a cardboard car that Valdes crashed into a signpost outside the gallery.
This has been a Growing Tree Toys Amazing Toys Post. For more amazing playhouses, I recommend a playhouse blog called, A Place Imagined.