If someone asked you about the origin and how Wendy houses came about, you’d scratch your head a couple of times, and even then, chances are you won’t guess it right. And that’s because it stems from centuries-old folklore.
The idea and concept of Wendy houses come from the world-famous children’s story called Peter Pan.
Peter Pan and the Lost Boys built the first Wendy House for his beloved Wendy Darling to keep her safe and protect her from the cold when she was injured.
This is where the structure gets its name from. Not everyone refers to this little cabin as Wendy house but, it has become synonymous with South Africans.
Wendy houses have come a long way from being just a children’s playhouse. Their popularity has increased, and so has its usage. There are different types of Wendy houses, and each varies in features, size, and style.
What Are Wendy Houses?
A Wendy house refers to a children’s playhouse or a small structure, house, or little cabin that can be used for accommodation, storage space, or as a tool shed.
The popularity of Wendy houses in South Africa has seen them used mainly for accommodation for low-income earners.
Many people live in them for many years despite their perception as temporary structures. It can be made from corrugated iron or wood. Most of the Wendy houses in South Africa are made from corrugated iron.
Variations of Wendy houses concept have become predominant since the first ones were built. Some are prefabricated plastics and then bought instead of building from scratch, while some are built as solid timber or iron structures.
Also, the houses used for accommodation usually have a higher wall height to allow people's comfortable movement inside.
Uses For A Wendy House
It serves as a children’s playhouse and complements the main house. It’s a fun place for your children to relax and play with toys and dolls. It helps when you want to keep children away from the main house and making a mess. A Wendy house allows children to get creative.
In South Africa, it is a prevalent usage of Wendy houses. They are used as low-cost permanent residences or guest houses. Wendy houses used for low-cost living solutions are built slightly bigger than the traditional one. They also require a bathroom, kitchen, and plumbing.
For dog lovers and those who want to give their pets a good home, these houses are a suitable option. Their size makes them easy to clean. Besides, they are comfortable for your dog and offer a comfortable space.
Home workshop or office
You can turn a Wendy house into a simple workshop to use and store your mechanical and electrical tools. This ensures safety by preventing accidents that could be caused when working in a place with children around. As an office, it allows you to concentrate on your work away from distractions and interruptions that come with working in the main house.
Another common use is turning a Wendy house into staff accommodation, especially for small-sized businesses. If you have a guard at home, this house can serve as an affordable home solution.
If you have those things that you seldom use but also don’t want to get rid of, you can store them in a Wendy house. It offers extra storage space where you can move stuff and create more room in the main house.
Different Types Of Wendy Houses
There aren’t many types of Wendy houses because most of them serve more or less the same purpose. However, they differ in their designs and features to suit their uses.
Louvre Wood Wendy House
This is made of pure timber and is a significantly cost-effective option. It is big enough to serve as a guest house, home office, or extra room for accommodation.
Knotty Pine Wendy House
This is also sizeable enough to serve the same purpose as the louvre wood Wendy house. It is popular in South Africa because it has attractive and interesting designs.
This is a type of Wendy house that is made from corrugated iron. This type is the most common in South Africa.
Steel huts, or zozo huts as they are commonly known in South Africa, are made of corrugated galvanized steel. It is easy to maintain and doesn’t rust or rot.
This type of Wendy house is made of cement boards. The cement treatment applied to a timber frame enables the house to last longer. They are also partitioned to have different rooms.
Wendy House Materials Of Construction
Wendy houses are constructed from the three primary materials wood, nutec, and steel or corrugated iron.
Perhaps the most cost-effective building material, traditional wood has been used for decades to build Wendy houses.
This material provides good insulation and is easy to construct. Wood gives you the flexibility to adapt to elaborate designs adding windows and even another floor. With wood, construction is quick.
With proper maintenance, it can serve you for many years. Pine logs are a notable example of durable and affordable Wendy house construction material. They can also be easily moved.
This is a man-made cement fiberboard. Small artificial fibers are mixed with cement to form a strong and durable board that is used to construct Wendy houses.
Similar to traditional Wendy houses, new age structures built using nutec are built around a wooden frame, and then nutec boards are used to cover it.
Nutec boards assume cement’s grey color, but they can be painted in any color you want. Unlike wood, this material is waterproof and does not rot. Besides, it repels rodents and other pests that would be attracted to wood.
Nutec board is relatively expensive; however, the investment is worth it because it is highly durable and low maintenance. Just like wood wendy houses, cabins made from nutec boards can also be moved.
Steel or corrugated iron
Unlike wood and nutec made houses, wendy houses constructed using steel or corrugated iron are not movable. These materials don’t offer the flexibility and creativity that comes with other materials.
Wendy House Roof Types
It takes a V-shape sloping on both sides of a Wendy house. A pitched roof is a classic roof type that forms an apex with gables at either end.
You can add a thatched roof as a finishing touch to a Wendy house. It is a traditional type of roof that will give your structure an old look.
This is popular when building a Wendy house for children as a playhouse. The roof style has an elegant finish and allows kids to get on the roof and walk. A coat of arms can be added to improve a Wendy house’s overall look.
Wendy House Floor Types
There are varying flooring options for a Wendy house including;
This is a traditional floor type that is constructed by laying durable ply sheets. A wooden floor should be stable and rigid enough to make your Wendy house a solid structure that will support rigorous and long term use. This type of floor has no fixed foundation.
This is a more stable floor type compared to a wooden floor. A solid slab of concrete is laid on the base of your Wendy house. The floor can be given the desired finish that includes tiling, painting, or lamination.
Wendy House Doors & Window Types
Windows and doors can be made from aluminum. Aluminum works best if you are looking for a non-traditional look that is strong, durable, and low maintenance. Your windows and doors will be able to withstand harsh climate.
Wood frames will complement your wooden Wendy house perfectly. It is a traditional and versatile option that needs proper care and maintenance.
Wendy House Additional Features & Options
Electrical addition to your Wendy house should be done by a professional. Simple lighting makes the space more comfortable for living. Professionals add wiring and switches either inside or outside your Wendy house.
Plumbing is essential, especially for Wendy houses with multiple rooms, including a bath and a kitchen. This additional feature makes a Wendy house fully functioning and able to be used for accommodation or office.
This is an optional finish that can be applied to wooden and nutec Wendy houses. You can paint your Wendy house so that it blends with its surrounding and give it a colorful finish.
You can add furniture, wall art, and furnishings to your Wendy house to give it a more homely feel. When used as a children’s playhouse, you can put pictures and small furniture inside.
Wendy Houses Advantages & Disadvantages
1. Low-cost living– the houses provide affordable accommodation for low-income earners.
2. Easily Customizable– the design of a Wendy house makes it simple to add windows, roofs, decorations, and even paint it.
1. Requires extra attention– Wendy houses made from wood are high maintenance and not easy to clean.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) Why do they call it a Wendy House?
The name Wendy house comes from the Peter Pan story. The first house was built for Wendy Darling, and that’s where the house gets its name from.
2) Can you live in a Wendy house?
Yes. One of the primary uses of a Wendy house is accommodation.
3) Do you need building plans for a Wendy House?
No. Property owners are exempted from submitting building plans. However, the house's size matters, and it is also important to check with your local municipal authority.
4) How do you maintain a Wendy House?
You can maintain your Wendy house using the simple tips below.
• Dust and clean it using a soft microfiber cloth
• Check for rot
• Check windows and doors
• Check room-damp and leaf litters.
• Apply wood preservatives for a wooden Wendy house
Wendy houses are a low-cost option when you want accommodation or extra storage. Also, they serve as an extension of your main home and improve its overall look.