It’s a long weekend for some… DIY here we come!

Welcome to The Little Three Cafe!

For some, there is no long weekend. They will be at work slogging it out.

For others, they will enjoy the spoils of a long weekend and spend it away with family or friends, perhaps at a winery or the beach (if this beautiful weather holds out!).

Let’s face it, the rest of us will be at Bunnings (again) getting all we need for our DIY-ing! I mean, if you are lucky enough to be graced with the extra day, it really is the perfect time to get to some of those old jobs around the house that we never seem to have the time for or even tackle a special project.

This weekend, I am going to embark on giving some wardrobes a little bit of love and attention with a little nod to Bayview where I drew my inspiration. So you’ll have to stay tuned to see how they turn out!

Around this time last year Mum decided she wanted to give her grandchildren Anthony, Isabella and Katia a cubby house for Christmas. They love playing together and the cubby is a great way for more imaginative play.

When I saw the actual cubby house… Well structurally it works.. Aesthetically though… Yeh the stylist in me couldn’t let this one go… Now when you search #kmartcubbyhack the transformations some people have created are next level and I quickly fell into the comparison trap… And this is a dangerous spiral people… I quickly had to pull myself out and think about the kids – what would they like the most? The brief Melissa – stick to the brief!

Kmart Cubby House it its original form

I decided on a cafe as every time we’re together at Nonna’s house, they are taking our pretend food orders! Now if we had actually purchased the cubby house at the same time that we had the thought of buying it, I would have painted all the pieces PRIOR to putting the cubby together – this is my TOP TIP for this DIY project. No, no, no, not in this family! It was bought and put together two days before Christmas! Winning! And we decided to present it in its original form and get the kids involved in painting and decorating which they were head over heels about!

Ok so back to the actual DIY process…

Items you’ll need:

  • Sand paper block or if you’re fancy, a proper fancy sander
  • Paint
  • Paint brushes and rollers x 3
  • Paint tray
  • Paint stirrer and paint tin opener to open the lid (failing that a car key also does the job!)
  • Drop sheet
  • Radio to sing along to


  • Drop sheet down and a light sand of the elements
  • Wipe down any dust and it’s time to go with the first coat of everything
  • Best to use the paint brushes to cut in between the grooves and then the roller to complete the rest of the element for an even coverage
  • I’d recommend a second coat of paint for sure and with the sides of the cubby you’ll need to paint both sides – two coats
  • So after you’ve exhausted your 90s playlist and all the painting is done, it’s assembly time.
  • The cubby house came in six flat panels – four walls and two for the roof. We slotted the walls together and drilled into the pre-made holes.
  • After the four walls were in place, I added the roof panels and drilled them into place.
  • The front door and window sills were next and all had pre-drilled holes.
  • The whole process took us around an hour for two of us to complete.

Even though I was painting the majority of the cubby in Dulux Vivid White, I knew I wanted to create some contrast which I did by using Dulux Domino for the roof, window frames and trims. For personality, I used a gorgeous green in Dulux’s Pharaoh’s Gem for the door colour which I knew the kids would love as they all love green!

Let’s talk styling…

I used the Runnen outdoor floor decking in dark grey from Ikea for contrast but also it’s easy to sweep or wash down. I also purchased the door mat, door handle, wooden cash register and colourful bowls, plates and cups while I was at Ikea.

A trip back to Kmart and I purchased all the timber play food items – the burgers, cupcakes and stand, ice cream and holder, coffee machine as well as the bbq, LED bulb solar string lights and fake greenery.

My plans for a long light board sign at the front of the cubby to reflect the name of the ‘cafe’ didn’t come to fruition as the dimensions were too far out so with reveal imminent, I had to improvise! It was like the last ten minutes of The Block! I rummaged through my styling props boxes to find a chalk board which I used to reference the cafe name and the little circles above the front door are blackboard stickers with the words ‘Welcome’ written. I did want to get them a sign made up but we still can’t agree on the cafe name! Lol!

Cute wooden toys available from Kmart and Ikea

So my tips for a successful DIY session are:

Purchase or make (if you’re super handy) the piece with plenty of time up your sleeve so you have time to prep and paint which will result in a nicer and more long lasting finish, then assemble! It’s much easier than trying to squeeze into the cubby to paint the interior! And I’m a shortie!

Do not compare what you’re doing for your special ones to other’s works even though they may be bloody amazing!

Style simply and with purpose – A few items are all kids need to get going – don’t go overboard! But clearly a note pad and pen to write orders, an apron and name tags were winners on this occasion! 

Most importantly, have fun with it and get the little people in your life involved too if that floats your boat! 

The rear view of the cubby/cafe which we have relocated to the garden for better access and flow

Hope you enjoyed the read! And goodness me, please don’t judge the painting skills!!

Words and Images by Melissa Bailey 

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