A couple have transformed a run down shed into a magical hobbit house for their grand children to play in.
May and Rod Proctor, 71 and 73, from Leeds wanted to create a play space for their 14 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren to enjoy when they came to visit, particularly their 5-year-old grandson Pete, who they regularly look after while his parents are at work.
Having looked online for inspiration, they realised that buying a playhouse would be too expensive, so they decided to build one themselves.
“We love having Pete every weekend, so I came up with the idea to make a play shed for him,” Mrs Proctor told told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk.
“We looked on Pinterest but it was far too expensive so we decided to go DIY,” she continues.
“I knew we had wood and cable reels already, and we found some plastic glass in a skip. A local shop was doing a refit so we asked and they gave it to us. Plus our daughter gave us spindles and railings so we had lots to get started with.”
The couple say most of their supplies for the project came from eBay or the local charity shop.
“We picked up two large tins of paint from the charity shop for £12 and the fabric we used for the curtains and cushion cover came from eBay for £10,” Mrs Proctor continues.
“In the charity shop we also picked up a lamp to go in the shed for £2.99 and the artificial grass was £25 from eBay.”
The other materials, such as the wood for the decking and the shed itself either came from rummaging in skips or were donated to the couple for the project.
“In fact, the decking is actually made out of scaffolding boards!” Mrs Proctor adds.
When it came to planning where to position the shed, the family decided to make use of a patch of spare ground they had under the window.
“I knew I wanted the play shed to be high up so we could see Pete out of the window,” Mrs Proctor explains. “Plus we wanted a bit of decking to place a small table and chairs.”
The couple explain that when it comes to their DIY projects they work as a team with May Proctor taking on the role of designer and Rod Proctor that of builder.
“I sat down and designed the play shed,” Mrs Proctor continues. “I created round windows, an arched door, the layout of the decking and so on.”
The first step for Mr Proctor was to make the decking and steps.
“He built the decking on a post so the whole area would be raised. We could then plan to put steps in and see our grandson from the kitchen window when the project was finished,” May Proctor explains.
A few days later the couple could get started on creating the hobbit house.
“While Rod built the frame, I got started on making the supplies for the interior decorations. I made curtains and large cushion covers using the bargain fabric, and put the little TV from our kitchen in there,” Mrs Proctor continues.
“Rod then built some shelves for our grandson to do his colouring and store his belongings.”
The next step was to paint everything, which the family say was one of the longest jobs.
“The walls of the shed and the railings – which our daughter gave us – were painted blue, and the doors, windows and roof became red,” Mrs Proctor explains.
While the gravel path was already there, Mr Proctor laid some artificial grass and also made some toadstools out of cement, sand and logs for the bases.
“I bought all of the plants and pansies to line the gravel path from Home Bargains and put them in old teapots we found in the charity shop,” Mrs Proctor says of the finishing touches.
“The flowers, plants and teapots did not cost more than £30 overall.”
In total the couple say the project took around two weeks to complete and they are thrilled with the results.
“Our grandson now loves colouring in his own hobbit shed and watching TV, he has brought in some of his own supplies and we love watching him from the kitchen window,” Mrs Proctor says.
While the hobbit house has become the focal point of the garden, it isn’t the first other-worldly project the couple have undertaken with the family’s magical makes becoming known as Fairy Lane.
“We made our own toadstools, tables, chairs and fairy houses,” Mrs Proctor explains. “We made two big fairy houses for children during the first lockdown and put them outside our garden in the little side road.
“Soon we are starting on Fairy Lane Christmas and I will be making it magical with hanging fairies, toadstools, trees and hanging ivy flowers.