Monday, 3 November 2014

Project Cubby House: Step by Step Guide to Selecting and Constructing your Cubby from Tuff Cubbies

Happy Monday and welcome to the first post in the Project Cubby House series!

Today I cover the Step by Step guide and a look at what the heck is really involved in selecting and then putting together the 'Havanna' style of Cubby House in the Tuff Cubbies range.

I was extremely fortunate to have been sent this cubby for the purpose of this review.

Step 1: Pick a Spot and Measure Up!

The Master and his Apprentice!
The first thing to do is select an area in the yard where your Cubby is to go.

Try and avoid a spot that is in the full sunlight if you can. Even though these come with a uniquely designed roof that prevents heat from being trapped inside (so much more summer friendly than a tin roof), a wee bit of shade will go a long way come January when it is super hot!
You also want to pick a spot that is clearly visible for you to watch the kids, so ideally somewhere close to your home.
Once you have worked out the best place in your yard for the cubby, measure it all up so you know just how much space you have to play around with.

If you only have a small yard, then this is going to really determine the size and the type of cubby that you go with.

Step 2: Pick a Cubby!

Now that you know just how much room you have in your yard, it is time to select the cubby that is right for you!
To help you decide, there are a few important things to consider:

1. How many kids do you plan to have use the space at once?

If you have a large family, then you might need to look at a bigger cubby house with a few more extras.
2.What do you want to put in the cubby?

If you want a cubby that will fit a whole host of play items such as kitchen, table and chairs etc, then you may decide to select a model with a bit more internal space.
Our yard is not the biggest, so we opted for the Havana Cubby in the Tuff Cubbies range. This is the base model in the range, but also looked to be a great size for our two kids without compromising on yard space.

The Havanna Model in the Tuff Cubbies range

Even though the Havana is the smallest size in the range, don't underestimate just how much internal space this fabulous little cubby has! We have found the inside to be perfect for housing a small table/chairs, mini kitchen and a few other play items - all will be revealed when I show the finished Cubby!
In addition to the Havana Cubby design, Tuff Cubbies have an amazing array of different models including the Grand Havana, Manor, Malibu and Grand Malibu Cubby House - you can check out more information (and pictures too) here.

The Malibu Model in the Tuff Cubbies range - what a brilliant size!
What I especially love about the Tuff Cubbies range, is that even the most basic model (which we have) comes with a whole stack of extras that so many other companies make you pay additional for. These include:
- The full sized doors
- Letterbox
- Floor and front deck included
- Fence
- Flower Box
- Chimney

If you love a particular cubby, but think that your children may out-grow the height, then you also have the option to purchase a height extension kit - such a fabulous idea if your kiddies have been blessed with the 'tall gene' in your family! The kit is designed to increase the cubby house by an extra 20 centimetres.

Step 3: Build a Base

Now that you have decided on a Cubby style and you have ordered, the very first thing that you must do is build a base for it!
The Tuff Cubbies range is brilliant as all of the Cubbies come with floors (and deck). So when you are building a base, you don't need to also worry about building a suitable flooring option for the cubby as well - it is done!
There are several options recommended when it comes to the base:
- Build a concrete slab
- Build a Deck
- Pavers
We decided to go with the deck option and build an elevated frame with treated pine (with support beams) for the cubby to sit on as this was the easiest and most cost effective option.

Our Base Frame (Mid Construction)
The friendly team at Tuff Cubbies advised us on the size of the base that we needed to build. So while we were waiting on the cubby to be delivered, we were able to crack on with the job and have this ready.

Step 4: Choose your Colours and Buy your Paint!

Now the fun begins... While you are waiting for the cubby to arrive, time to choose your paint colours!!
I have a definite love hate relationship with selecting paint colours. I love to browse the glossy samples, but get so overwhelmed by all of the choice! And then when I do decide, the colour always seems completely different and I have been known to do a bit of a re-paint job much to my husbands sheer frustration.
Of course you don't need to paint the product if you don't want to, but you will most definitely need to treat with a paint or decking oil to varnish the surface and protect from the elements.
We decided to paint the interior and exterior with a suitable outdoor paint. For the internal floors and deck, we used the same decking oil that we use on our house deck area.
When I share my final cubby reveal, I will also share with you the colours that we selected to paint with.

Step 5: Paint!

Now that your cubby has landed on your doorstep, it is time to get started.

It is absolutely so much easier (and recommended) if you can paint the cubby before it is all constructed.
All doors and windows are pre-hung and the cubby comes in panel form (as you can see below), so it is a cinch to get started.

Simply lay out your pieces and work out what is the inside/outside panels (so that you get it right when it comes to painting if you are doing them a different colour) and start painting away.

Spring and summer are perfect paint drying months, and certainly great weather will speed up the process too.

The Back Fence is going this week, so it was perfect to paint against without too much care!

Such a good little (messy!) helper
All Tuff Cubbies are made from Redwood Pine, which is specially grown timber ideal for outdoor use. Though you don't need to treat it, you will need to paint, lacquer or stain the product. This step just ensures that the cubby does not discolour or warp over time.
Don't underestimate the painting stage, it is a very big job, especially if you paint the interior like we did. Each panel required 2-3 coats of paint.
If you have 'little helpers' that may hold up the painting stage, try to set aside and allow a full weekend to get through all of the painting before you start the construction stage. 

Step 6: Construct!

Because you have laid the panels out to paint, the construction phase is a relatively easy process. But like any good flat pack, there may be a few frustrations (and maybe swear words!) as you try to figure things out.

If construction is not your thing, Tuff Cubbies do offer an installation service if you are lucky enough to be in the Sydney Metro area (fee applies).
Tuff Cubbies include a paper version of the instruction manual which is a fairly straightforward guide to understand and to follow. I would have LOVED it if they had an instructional DVD or You Tube clip with a step by step guide. I think that seeing this on the screen (or phone) as you construct, would have been amazing!
I must say that any issues that we did encounter (a damaged chimney due to the courier company) we were able to quickly and easily phone the Tuff Cubby team for support and immediate issue resolution which was a great help.

If you get stuck, have any problems or questions, after hours phone and internet support is available for all customers - how handy is that for peace of mind?!

It is so exciting seeing it all come together!
The construction time is only a matter of few hours, once you work out one wall and the screw situation, it is straightforward to then construct the subsequent walls, then roof and then the fence, chimney and letterbox features.

Step 7: Touch Up!

Our Cubby did get a teeny bit battered in the construction process (and I am a perfectionist), so you may need to keep the paintbrush at the ready for the final touch ups before the kids move in.
Stay tuned as during the week I will reveal the finished cubby - inside and out - and share some ideas on how to set up and style your cubby on a budget!

Do you have any questions?

If yes, please comment below or contact me and I will do my best to include these in a Q&A post during the week.
Remember no question is a silly one and I am here to help you as I know just how hard it can be to select the right cubby for you and the family!

What about a special offer?!

If you can't wait to order yours, I  am so pleased to offer my lovely readers a very exclusive 10% discount to order your own Cubby from the Tuff Cubbies range. I know, talk about perfect timing for Christmas right?!
Simply quote UTTERLY when placing your order direct with the team (by phone or email).
For pricing, availability and orders you can contact Tuff Cubbies on their Facebook Page or by emailing
This offer is only valid from now until 31 December 2014 (or while stock lasts - and these sell like hotcakes!).
Offer is not valid on delivery. It does not apply to any sales, specials, discounts or promotional items. One claim per person.
More information during the week on this offer, but this is just in case you are BURSTING to place your order before then, I know I would be :-)


  1. hi
    great cubby
    just like to know what size timber you used for the decking frame?

  2. shame theres no actual real drawings ad u have to custom cut and drill alot


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