We were recently sent the KidKraft Stoney Creek Playhouse to build and review and this is our experience of putting it together and our views on the final product. Scroll to the bottom for assembly tips.
First thing to mention is that the parcel the playhouse arrives in is huge and very very heavy. My husband used a little wheely cart to get it from the delivery van into the garage, so be prepared on delivery to have an extra pair of hands to help. Everything you need parts wise is in one box. There are comprehensive instructions in several different language booklets. They are large and fairly easy to read, with diagrams and written instructions. The parts come labelled with numbers that correspond to the instructions. One thing I did note was that on a few of the wooden pieces, the ink had either rubbed off or was unclear but it was fairly easy to work out from process of elimination and using the pictures in the guide. I also used a drill, a tape measure, a Phillips screwdriver and another impact driver to fit the screwdriver bit provided.
The screws are all numbered, (except for one bag which made it easy as it was the only bag unaccounted for), and the plastic parts are fairly self explanatory. There are predrilled holes in a lot of the wooden pieces making it easy to put together and to see where bit should go although I did have a few places where they didn’t line up and I had to go off piste a little!
How long does it take to build?
Ages! 😀 I built this on my own as a home education project with my daughter as ‘assistant’ over 2 days and it took us most of those days, with breaks for lunch and cups of tea and to study passing ants etc! It is sometimes a bit slower with a young helper and it would definitely be quicker with two adults.
We laid everything out in groups according to their steps, it’s a good system and the number corresponds to the section in the instruction and then the step within that.
The instructions recommend pre-drilling the holes and I’d say that although this adds a lot of time on, in the long run, it’s better to follow this recommendation to prevent the wood splitting as I think that is a real risk with some of the thinner boards.
Is it good quality?
I think with all these playhouses and climbing frames etc, (in our experience), the wood isn’t the best quality. I’d say that this was on a parr with any of the other wooden garden toys we’ve bought. Several of our pieces arrived with dents or gauges out of them and the ends frayed and splintered. That being said, when it’s all together, it is a very sturdy and lovely looking product. Most of the marks are hidden and it is possible to turn bits round etc to make sure that the best sides are on show. KidKraft were wonderful when I contacted them and happily offered to send out replacement parts for any of the bits I wasn’t 100% happy with. As it was, we managed to finish it without needing to do this. I also know that a few weeks of my children playing with it and it will have plenty of marks and knocks and so it won’t be possible to tell whether it came with them or was created after! I am very aware too, that to do this from scratch yourself would be almost impossible unless you hired a skilled carpenter and then the wood and their time would cost considerably more then this playhouse does.
Is it easy to assemble?
Yes and no, I did get frustrated with the instructions not being clear enough in a couple of places. I do think that might just be me, but I could have done with a photo of the finished product and possibly some photos of a few of the steps. As it was, I just went online and managed to work it out from that. Maybe print off a few photos before you start.
I ended up putting the roof on the wrong way round and only realising much further down the line. It wasn’t a big drama though, and I just unscrewed it and my husband helped me turn it round to be fixed back in place. There were several parts I had to do and redo, which did add a few less than perfect finished areas!
Happy with the final product?
Yes, now it’s all together and up we’re thrilled with it. It is a lovely looking house and the children are really enjoying playing in it. There is a working doorbell, a post box to leave each other and friends cards and a window box that you can really plant in. Inside there is a phone for taking cafe orders and a sink and hob. It has been a big hit with both my 5 year old son and my 7 year old daughter. There’s plenty of space for them inside, even with my daughter being very tall. It looks really smart on our drive and their friends have all loved playing with it too and lots of their parents have commented on it. I think I would have been a bit unhappy with the quality of the wood on arrival, had I paid for it, but I know that I’d have persevered and put it together, (as that’s what we did with the other wooden climbing frame playhouse we have already), and been very happy with the end result. Also, KidKraft would have replaced any of the bits I wasn’t happy with and so we’d have got it perfect. It looks incredibly smart and the children adore it, which is all that matters.
Top build tips!
If you are building this house, let me share the places I went wrong in the hope I can help you not make the same mistakes!
Step 3, Part 2: It says to attach the braces to the Counter Top, I would wait personally, as I ended up having to move them when I put it in place as they didn’t sit in the right place.
Step 4: I would lay out the pieces first to see how they fit together as I had to move these bits after attaching. An extra person is helpful for this.
Step 7, Part 4: This bit is so tricky, I ended up having to lie on the floor under the counter, you have to put the sink and stove in first and then go under and screw in the mount clips, this is really tricky as the angles make it difficult to get in there, hold the screw and get the screwdriver under. A second person to pass bits is very useful. I also put the hob in the wrong way round and had to redo it all!
Step 9: Attaching the roof, it’s clear now I’m looking at the instructions again, but just in case you are as uncertain as I was, the side of the roof with the little piece of wood screwed to it goes over the door. We also found it nearly impossible to get the overhang the same on each side and so just centred it up the best we could. You can’t tell!
Step 10: Bay window assembly. There are 2 parts in the bag and the large window frame, the white section goes at the bottom and the brown at the top. I found the picture very unclear for this!
Step 11: Double check where you are placing the holes as it does matter and don’t forget to do the exact same on the other side with the bay window.
Step 12, Part 3: Despite using the measuring tape and following the instructions, I have still somehow ended up that the bottom bracket of the spinning sign is fractionally too high to attach to the board. It would have been helpful to check that before I screwed the top piece in.
Step 12, Part 5: Be extra careful when screwing down the white gingerbread trim, (which are different at each end by the way, make sure you have the more pointy bits at the top as they will fit nicely together and form a peak), I just couldn’t get it pushed back far enough to get the holes in the top to line up with the centre and have split the wood quite badly. Luckily it’s at the back and you can’t see!
And that’s it! Happy building and I really hope that your children enjoy the KidKraft Stoney Creek playhouse as much as mine have!
**Disclaimer; I was sent the Stoney Creek Playhouse by KidKraft for the purpose of this review. All views and opinions are mine.**