Luke designs and builds a mid century modern retro playhouse

retro playhouseCool Dad Luke is surely up for a dad o’ the year award: Look at this amazing mid century modern retro playhouse / play structure that he designed and built for his weebits. He and wife Sandy recently became owners of a gorgeous 1955 mid century modern house — and this swingset playhouse complements it spectacularly.

mid century modern playhouseLuke writes:

Hi Pam,

Great site! We found it after moving to Florida from Indiana and purchasing a 1955 custom mid century house.

midcentury modern houseI am new faculty at the University of Florida and we were lucky enough to find a great place with two acres less than 10 minute bike ride to campus! Built-ins, pink bathroom, foil wallpaper, flat roof with vaulted section, corner window, built-in inside grill (!), the works.

mid century playhouseTo keep it short for now — I looked and looked for a good playhouse design to go along with our house, which I had promised to the kids once we made the move. They really wanted swings, a slide, etc.2.5 months later, I had what I think is a pretty spectacular playhouse that goes well with the house.

retro playhouseI designed and built it myself – but I did see some pictures somewhere (maybe in Dwell mag?) that were an inspiration. I’m an ecologist, not an architect or builder, so it took some time. I just sketched it on some paper and kind of made it up as I went along. Some of the features are requests of the kids, like the three windows that are about the heights of the three kids when we built it. And my oldest really wanted a front door with an actual doorknob!

Again, great site! We used your links to buy new toilet seats for both our pink and light grey (original!) toilets. Fortunately we were able to keep the seat with the owl painted on the inside. Luke

I want to come to your house to play. Nicely done, Luke — your children will remember this forever. Thank you for sharing your play house with us!

Get our retrolicious free newsletter.



  1. linda h says

    Atomic Ranch was probably where he saw the picture of a similar playhouse. There was an article in their Homework feature about building a modern playhouse once.

  2. Kkmk says

    The house and the playhouse look pretty great. I wonder if we could get a look at the fabulousness inside that Luke hinted at in his comments . .

    • Amy in Sacramento says

      I agree! Would LOVE to see some pics of the inside — especially the pink bathroom, foil wallpaper, and owl toilet seat!

  3. Tom says

    If I was one of his kids, I’d nominate Luke for “Father of the (mid) century” not just father of the year. So cool

  4. Lynne says

    Wow. Great playhouse. It sure beats the blankets we strung across the clothes line, hammering clothespins into the corners when I was a kid.

    Hafta say, tho….I’s love to see the interior of the BIG house!

    • says

      I second that, Jay. And I would also love to know if Luke has any background info on the house (builder, architect, etc.) I went to school at UF in the late 90s and never really ventured off campus to drive around the Gainesville neighborhoods. But I am beginning to learn that the place is teeming with atomic goodies and amazing architecture.

  5. Wendy M. says

    Well done! I love the detail of the windows being the height of each child- it really works in terms of design and is something special for them as well.

  6. Nancy B says

    So cute!! Looks perfect in that yard! We are actually in the process of building a play house for our grandchildren! Will send pictures when completed.

  7. Mary Elizabeth says

    Luke, this is a great play structure. Be sure to keep it in good shape even when the tadpoles get to be bigger fish, as it would be a great selling point for your house if you decide to go elsewhere. If you get tenure, however, you can look forward to your grandchildren playing on it. Congratulations on your move and your decision to keep the features of the house that appeal to you Ozzie and Harriet soul!

  8. Cynthia says

    Absolutely love it! We’ve thought about doing this, but it’s behind a long list of other project. Probably won’t happen before my kids get too big to enjoy it. Oh, well…as Mary Elizabeth said, it would also be great for grandkids someday… 😉

  9. Annie B. says

    I’m loving Luke and Sandy’s playhouse as well as the little ones’. This is one fabulous property. I’m sure everyone on RR would delight in a tour of the interior.

    Good luck on your new position and congrats on finding such a gorgeous home.

  10. Susan C. says

    Playhouse is cute. Your yard is awesome. I live in Arkansas, what is that hanging from the trees? Spanish moss?

  11. gsciencechick says

    Wow, I would’ve never left that space as a kid! The chicken coop is awesome, too.

    Add me to the list of people who would love to see the rest of the main house.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *