This whimsical playhouse was conceived and built by artist, woodworker, and carpenter Chris Axling. Axling built his first playhouse after taking on his most important job: stay-at-home father for three-year-old Josephine. Not only was his daughter enchanted with the little house, but his friends and family were, too. With their encouragement, Axling started his business, Magical Playhouses.
Axling created the dragon playhouse for the 2015 Bellevue Arts Museum’s annual fair. He designed the swooping line of the shake roof to look like a dragon’s wings frozen in a downbeat. The swoop of the roof is echoed by cedar sidewall shingles. Unable to find real dragon horns on eBay, Axling added the next best thing to the hand-carved cedar dragon head: genuine Texas longhorns. The stained glass in the three arch-topped upper windows was done by Axling’s wife, Sarah. Inside the playhouse are custom built-in bookcases and cabinets, a window seat with a pullout step, and a secret compartment in the floor.
Axling’s playhouses use the same construction practices employed on many well-built homes: Douglas-fir 2x4s, plywood sheathing, R13 insulation, and electrical wiring. The dragon playhouse has a Broan wall heater (wired with a safety shutoff switch 52 in. off the floor) and double-paned windows tempered for safety. Axling also builds treehouses, potting sheds, and custom woodworking pieces to the same high standards.
Design and construction: Chris Axling, Magical Playhouses, Port Townsend, Wash.; magicalplayhouses.com
Photographs: courtesy of Magical Playhouses