One spring 20+ years ago, my dad built this clubhouse for my siblings and me. (There are four of us total – three girls, one boy. I’m the oldest.) My mom had taken us kids to visit my grandparents in Florida for a week and when we returned home there was a clubhouse. And not just any clubhouse. A clubhouse ON STILTS. At the time, I couldn’t fathom how in the world my dad had built it alone. I still can’t. But that’s what he does. He builds things. And this clubhouse is one of those things.
It’s nestled on the top of a hill among the trees overlooking a ravine, or “holler”…if you’re where I come from. My dad laid a telephone pole across the ravine for us kids to walk across. Again, I have no idea how. Admittedly, I mostly used it to reenact the famous Dirty Dancing log routine. Back then, my sisters, brother and I were free to roam (we had twelve acres) and there wasn’t the ever-present fear of children getting hurt / lost / kidnapped like there is now. It was a great way to grow up.
The clubhouse is roughly 12′ x 8′ not including a narrow, covered porch that faces the ravine. It is supported by six poles set within underground concrete piers. The sloped roof is corrugated metal with corrugated fiberglass over the porch. There used to be two aluminum windows within the window frames but they rusted out and my dad removed them several years ago. There’s a pull-up bar positioned between two stilts on the ravine side.
The clubhouse is accessed by a steep ladder…
…which leads to a trap door. At least, that’s what we always called it as kids.
Inside, it’s one room. The ceiling slopes from 95″ at the doorway to 72″ at the back window. Back in the day my parents let us put a play kitchen in clubhouse so we could pretend it was a real house but now there’s just a few plastic chairs, some boards and dead leaves. If you look closely you might even notice a little graffiti on the walls. #rebels
The trap door and large play space are nice but the view from the porch is AMAZING.
Like I mentioned, the clubhouse overlooks a deep ravine. Beyond that is part of the long, winding gravel driveway and beyond that is a big open valley. I don’t know what it is about the view but it always causes me to breathe more deeply. I guess that’s what being surrounded by nature and quiet does to you.
My childhood clubhouse (and home) are as remote and peaceful as they look. To this day, there is no access to cable or the internet and cell phone coverage is spotty at best. You can’t see the road from the house. The property is a 35-minute drive from our current home. I love bringing my kids here to unplug and explore. Best of all, they love it too. Which is why I’ve decided to fix up the clubhouse for them (with my dad’s blessing). Stay tuned for the plans coming up next!
images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking