This play space is a small area under our house. The house which is built on sturdy wooden stumps is about 1.5m off ground level at this point. There is not enough headroom for it to be a usable area for adults but it did work perfectly for when the girls were younger and shorter.
The inspiration was a reasonable collection of shells which I have acquired over many years of walking beaches while the rest of the family swim in the refreshing water. Being a warm water lover it is always too cold for me to swim. I am not a big fan of formalized collections and wanted somewhere just to enjoy the shells sometimes and not worry about the dust. Under the house works perfectly as they can just be hosed down every now and then.
This space also had the added advantage of being removed from the living areas thus making it a perfect spot for the children to practice the recorder (the plastic style are one of my least favourite instruments) again when they were younger.
The major component of this area is a large mermaid painting on fibre-cement board. The painting is about 1.2 by 2.4metres. I just painted it spontaneously without plan or models and used left-over house paint. This painting forms one whole wall of the space.
The outside ‘walls’ of the cubby are defined using wire mesh through which shells are strung on fishing wire. There is on tin wall again made with left-overs from construction.
Some of the other features of the space include; a mosaic slab made out of ocean pebbles, a limestone block for the display ‘table’ and a very old dressing table mirror. Obviously the condition is not of primary importance as mirrors will deteriorate outside anyway. The short chair which was specifically placed for recorder practice is a full sized chair with the legs cut off.
These days we use the space for storing ocean type gear; surfboards, wetsuits, inflatable animals and of course the shell collection.