Penelope and Florence’s Cubby for Melbourne Yummy Mummy, Lorinska
I was beyond excited when Lorinska wanted to work with me again, this time to create a magical cubby house for her daughter’s Penelope and Florence, just in time for Christmas. Lorinska is a dream client… she loves pink and all things girly (same same!), and was happy to hand over full creative control to me, on both projects that we have worked on together #winning.
Lorinska lives in a renovated modern townhouse, so it was important to consider the style of her home, and the space available to fit a cubby house during the planning phase of this project. The façade of her home features clean lines, in a modern dark charcoal, therefore, my aim was to choose paint colours that were modern, with a feminine and traditional feel. The cubby is located on a small back deck, so we needed a cubby that would fit in the tiny space.
We chose the Frankie cubby by Hide and Seek Kids. Hide and Seek Kids is a family run Australian business based in Brisbane. Owner, Annette and her team, create the most delightful cubbies going around.
The Frankie is a super cute design (that little front porch = all the heart eyes!), but it was also just the right fit for the space we had to work with. It’s so important when choosing your cubby, to measure and measure again if you are working in a small area. If Lorinska had wanted a smaller cubby for the space, given that the Frankie actually does take up a huge part of her deck, I would have recommended that we use The Arlo Cubby House, The Bertie Cubby House or The Harper Cubby House, these are significantly smaller than The Frankie. Given we were placing the cubby directly on the deck, there was no need to build a base (lucky us!), but if you are placing the cubby in a yard, it is important to build a base from sleepers.
The cubby comes finished in water based natural stain. It is always recommended that the cubby is painted for longevity, more about that later. It’s also a great way to add your own personality and flair!
We also added two shelves to the cubby, which do not come standard. We added one externally to act as a servery window, and one inside above the window to display pretty things.
The Mud Kitchen
We chose the mud kitchen by Hide and Seek Kids, as it can be used both inside and outside the cubby house. It also comes with a natural timber stain; you can leave it as is, or paint to match your cubby. More on what we did later.
Painting and renovating the cubby
We chose the following paint colours for Lorinska’s cubby renovation:
1/ Basalt by Dulux Australia for the exterior walls/ body
2/ Vivid White by Dulux Australia for the trims, flower boxes shelves and floor (gloss for longevity)
3/ My Wish by British Paints for the front door
4/ Monument by Dulux Australia for the roof (gloss for longevity)
5/ Vivid White by Dulux Australia for the internal walls
We did two coats of undercoat, then two coats of the final colour; this seals the cubby and protects it from the elements.
We all know that painting can be a time consuming and back breaking exercise, so if you are on a budget, have time constraints or don’t feel up to the task, I’d suggest painting the walls and trims in the same colour e.g. a classic white. Whilst painting can be challenging, the final product is so amazing, and so worth the time and effort.
We painted the cubby whilst it was in pieces, this is soooooooo much easier! We used a spray gun for all the big pieces. For the trims and front door, we used a medium sized paintbrush, then a small art brush at the very end to tidy up around the windows and door. Once assembled, we touched up any paint that had been damaged during assembly, but this was minimal.
The wallpaper: Of course, it had to be pink, very pink! We used a beautiful floral design, La Rochelle Cool Pink, by our friend, Elisa from Blond Noir. As I always say, wallpaper lifts any space, and it’s the wallpaper that creates the big wow factor inside the cubby. La Rochelle is available exclusively on our website: https://www.minnieandmeinteriors.com/products/la-rochelle-cool-pink?_pos=2&_sid=ecd33af06&_ss=r
We first applied two pieces of plywood, cut to size at our local hardware store to the back wall. We did this to provide a flat surface to stick the wallpaper on to. We attached the ply to the cubby with liquid nails. We decided to leave the wooden panel as a feature, as it reminded me of a cute picture rail, but you could easily cover this with the ply if you’d prefer to wallpaper the whole wall. So, we used one piece of ply in the rafters section and one piece on the main wall below. Jon (my bro) then applied the wallpaper as per our installation instructions. See here: https://www.minnieandmeinteriors.com/pages/product-information-terms-conditions. TIP: Jon suggests that it would be easier for a novice to apply the wallpaper to the plywood prior to attaching it to the cubby.
Our wallpaper is totally safe to be used outdoors in a cubby house. Hide and Seek cubbies are waterproof, if sealed correctly with paint. Plus, water does not damage our fabric or the print. Have a look at our IGTV… you’ll see our little Minnie doing an experiment whereby she soaked it with a hose. Pretty cool hey?!
You usually see cubbies styled with an indoor play kitchen, so I wanted to create something a bit different. Instead, I added a girly make up vanity and pretend make up from Little Make-up lovers in one corner, and an Ikea dollhouse (with matching wallpaper to the feature wall in the cubby house) in the other corner. The vanity is from Kmart, hacked with our table top; again matching the cubby feature wall. I furnished the Ikea dollhouse with inexpensive furniture from Kmart, and placed it on a beautiful large storage case by Belle and Co Living, making it just the right height for playing. These cases are also perfect for toy storage. I added comfort for playing with a squishy play mat from Little Wiwa, and a bit of luxury and warmth with a cosy pink plush rug (would you believe it's actually a bath mat!) from Ikea. A girly cubby wouldn’t be complete without a gorgeous rattan bassinet from Tiny Harlow, and custom made bedding from The Young Co. I completed the look inside with a basket filled with faux lavender, both from Ikea. Oh, I almost forgot the pendant light from Ikea (I don’t think this one is currently available). It adds some natural tone and texture, and a bit of magic, with added fairy lights from Kmart.
Outdoors, I added a large faux plant from Ikea (Lorinska already owned the beautiful concrete pot), faux pink flowers in the planter boxes, also from Ikea and some faux turf. Plants and greenery just really create a delightful garden party feel in my opinion, and make you feel instantly relaxed, particularly in an otherwise concrete space. I was lucky enough to find the cute cane chair on the porch on Facebook marketplace for $20. Bargain! We then sprayed it white. Other items that I added to the porch, include: a hanging plant from Kmart, a plant stand from Kmart, which I used as a lamp table for the adorable lamps from Livly and Little Belle Lights. The heart cushion on the chair is also from Kmart, and cute dolly with hand made clothing, which looks exactly like Lady Penelope, is from Isobel and Lulu. I styled the servery with a wooden tea and coffee set from Kmart. At the front of the cubby, we added a play area. No play area would be complete without a big squishy play mat, this one from Grace and Maggie Play mats. We added two other play mats to the side of the cubby, framing the mud kitchen as well. Penelope is going to love playing with her playdoe from Dough my dear, whilst wearing her apron to protect her pretty clothes from The Amore Co.
Who doesn’t love seeing their name up in lights?! We added custom rose gold signage for inside the cubby, and a wooden sign on the front door by Harlow and Luxx. And did you notice that cute as a button personalized door mat by Chalk n Co?!
My styling tips:
- Ikea and Kmart are great places to purchase décor at inexpensive prices.
- Mix in some bespoke pieces from your favourite insta small businesses.
- Don’t over do it, there is nothing worse than too much clutter, keep it simple and elegant. This allows children to use their imaginations, rather than feel overwhelmed with too much choice. Add storage boxes or baskets to keep toys neat and tidy inside the cubby. Things will need to be packed away after playing, as some items cannot be left out in the weather.
Painting and renovating the mud kitchen
We used Pink Wish to paint most of the kitchen. We did one coat of under coat, followed by two coats of the final colour. We chose to leave some parts natural (the oven door, bench top and rail), so we just gave them two coats of Exterior Ultra Clear by Dulux Australia. I decided on some black accents to give it an edgy modern feel.
Again, we painted the kitchen in pieces and were able to use the spray gun on most parts.
We spray painted the stainless steel sink in black by Dulux Australia. We lightly sanded it first, then applied two coasts of primer by Dulux Australia, then applied two coats of Black by Dulux Australia.
We removed the standard knobs and handles very gently, then added black knobs and a black handle from Bunnings. These were super cheap. We also added an inexpensive black hook board from Bunnings to hang cooking utensils and accessories.
We added one of our famous play kitchen splashbacks over the existing chalkboard. But, because the mud kitchen will be located outdoors, directly in the elements, and hopefully be used to make amazing mud pies, we used vinyl covered with laminate to make it completely waterproof. And mud proof! It can be cleaned with mild solvents if required. We use the same product on our table and vanity tops.
We styled with décor from:
1/ Three Wild Ones: two personalised rolling pins, a personalised apron, a personalised chopping board, a set of salt and pepper shakers, a kitchen plaque and two credit cards. Seriously freaking cute!!!
2/ Kmart: a set of wooden icy poles. Cheap as chips.
3/ Ikea: Faux plants and pot and set of three faux Christmas trees. Greenery is always a must! I attached these to the mud kitchen with strong double-sided tape to ensure that they remain in place on windy days.
Lorinska’s cubby was made possible, due to all of these beautiful suppliers:
Frankie cubby & mud kitchen @hideseekkids https://www.hideandseekkids.com.au/cubby-houses/
La Rochelle Cool Pink Cubby wallpaper, mud kitchen splashback, dollhouse wallpaper & vanity table top @minnieandmeinteriors x @blond.noir https://thezeroprint.com/
Playmat x3 (outside) @graceandmaggieplaymats https://graceandmaggie.com.au/
White herringbone and pink panelling dollhouse wallpaper @minnieandmeinteriors
Playmat (inside) @littlewiwa https://littlewiwa.com/
Kristy and Lorinska’s dresses @legoeheritage https://legoeheritage.com/
Penelope and Florence’s outfits @arabellaandrose https://arabellaandrose.com.au/shop/
Penelope and Florence’s shoes @fawnandfinch https://fawnandfinch.com.au/
Blush heart lamp @_livly https://livly.com.au/
Pink elfin light @littlebellelight https://www.little-belle.com/
Storage case @belleandcoliving https://belleandcoliving.com.au/
Play doe @_doughmydear https://www.doughmydearplaydough.com/
Mat and apron @theamoreco https://www.doughmydearplaydough.com/
Doll and dress @isobel.and.lulu https://isobelandlulu.com/
Pretend make up @littlemakeuplovers https://littlemakeuplovers.com.au/
Doll bedding @theyoungco https://www.theyoungco.com.au/
Mud kitchen accessories and apron @three_wild_ones https://threewildones.com/
Name sign and cubby sign @harlowandluxx https://www.harlowandluxx.com.au/
Balloon garland @the_pop_up_party_co https://thepopuppartyco.com.au/
Doll bassinet @tinyharlow https://tinyharlow.com/
Cubby door mat @chalknco https://chalknco.com/
The dream team:
Design, renovation and styling by Kristy Young @minnieandmeinteriors
Styling and photography by Raffeala Jenkins @everyday.muse
Tradie extraordinaires: Jon Young (my little bro) and Andrew Hart (my bestie)
Wallpaper king and head of our production team: Dean Young (my Dad)
Kid whisperer and master of baby sitting: Maree Young (my Mum)
I hope I have inspired you to create some cubby magic of your own.
Reach out with any questions to Kristy: firstname.lastname@example.org