Our family had both an outdoor playhouse and an indoor playhouse. The outdoor house was sheet metal with a large window with a counter in the back. The side windows originally had plastic flower boxes. The windows had awnings. It served as bakery, ice cream shop, grocery store, train station, jail and any other buildings our young imaginations required (our tree house, tangle bars, and swing set also contributed to our architectural props). We thought it was pretty cool to hide in the playhouse in the rain and listen to the raindrops hammering on the metal roof.
Before my Dad finished the basement, our "playhouse" was the whole basement. This photo shows two of my older sisters playing house with litho on metal appliances. The sister in the red apron is washing dishes in the sink. The sister in yellow is doing some serious baking. Apparently a big feast was in the works. We had a litho refrigerator as well.
An odd imaginary game that we used to play was "Mechanics". We would crawl under a sofa in the basement wearing our strap on tool belts filled with rubber and plastic tools and lay on our backs pretending to fix cars, firetrucks, and airplanes. After a hard day's work repairing an endless string of broken vehicles we would have a "spaghetti dinner" prepared in the playhouse and served picnic style.
The indoor playhouse was unique. My father built it into the space under the basement stairwell. It had built in shelving that acted as a pantry, a door bell, a mail box, a pay phone, a kitchen space, a fake window, a high chair, a doll bed, and even a mouse house complete with a toy mouse.
Buggies and Strollers
My sisters may disagree, but I always connect doll buggies with playhouses. Not only would my sisters, and their friends, use their doll buggies to stroll their dolls around the neighborhood but they would wheel them up to the playhouse and park them while they went inside and played house or chatted while seated in play chairs. We boys and our friends would use ninja like stealth to sneak up below the window line and capture the dolls and stuffed animals (or even the entire buggy) and make the girls chase us around the yard to get them back. This usually ended badly with the girls calling for my mother to intervene. The neighbor boys would get sent home and we would be sent inside to reflect on what we had done (and how to avoid being caught the next time...).