The Dreaming Spires Willow Playhouse designed and handwoven by Judith Needham in Surrey, England, provides the backdrop for modern day fairy tales with ecologically happy endings. The eco-friendly aspects of this playhouse are rivaled only by its natural beauty and charm. Constructed of highly renewable willow, with a pine base, the structure gradually degrades, over a period of four to five years, due to sun and rain exposure. When it becomes brittle, it may be recycled: shredded and used for garden mulch, added to a compost bin, or used as kindling for building a fire. What a poetic celebration of a child’s rite of passage beyond playhouse affinities.
Needham created the Dreaming Spires Playhouse for her daughter when she turned two years old. A fan of gardening, she wanted a playhouse that meshed with the aesthetics of nature, and she desired an environmentally friendly alternative to typical plastic playhouses. She explains, “I really didn’t want a big lump of plastic playhouse dumped in the middle (of my garden.) I also wondered, if I did buy one, what would I do with it when it was no longer wanted? I had this vision of thousands and thousands of bulky plastic playhouses buried underground in landfills for centuries and I felt I just couldn’t be part of that problem.”
Kept indoors, the Dreaming Spires Willow Playhouse will last indefinitely. The entire family may enjoy respite under its curvatures. “Its ambiguous form transforms effortlessly from cottage to castle, wigwam to igloo.” Realizing that parents are often invited into playhouses for tea time, Needham adjusted the height accordingly to welcome taller visitors. Needham elaborates, “I’d love to try to make something bigger for adults to use as a summer house. Although we’ve found that the Dreaming Spires Playhouse is really just the right size for two tired parents to sit in with a glass of wine on a summer evening.”
We love that this playhouse inspires children to be one with nature by literally embracing them with willow. The Dreaming Spires Willow Playhouse teaches the fundamental principle that what we take from the earth, we must give back. Children will be so enchanted with their memories and dreams of this playhouse that they’ll allow this green lesson to grow in their hearts.