Monday, June 27, 2011

Dreams Happen... amazing playhouses

Two years ago, I accidentally deleted my photos of this event, so this time I ditched the kids with the babysitter so I could enjoy seeing the houses and taking some photos to share. Modern MC linked to this event today, which reminded me I should finally post these.

Dreams Happen is a biennial event benefiting Rebuilding Together Peninsula. The fundraiser teams up architects and builders to design some pretty amazing children’s playhouses. This year I was glad to see more modern designs. The playhouses were on display at the open air Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, CA for the month of May and then auctioned off at the fundraiser with opening bids of $5,000. The playhouses have sold for $13,000 - $71,000!

This year's highest bid was $60,000 for "Backyard Outpost" designed by Arcanum Architects and built by Behrens-Curry Homes. The event raised $500,000 for Rebuilding Together Peninsula, a national organization that organizes volunteers to help repair/restore homes for low-income, seniors and disabled homeowners.

There were some fun ideas this year including this "Science Lab" by Hayes Group Architects, Inc., S.E.A. Construction, Inc. and Cody|Brock, Inc. Plus the wild and colorful "Oblique House" by Barbara Butler Artist-Builder, Inc.

I loved "(f)" by Ana Williamson Architect, AIA and Mediterraneo Design. I know its designed for kids, but I can just picture kicking back with a summer drink on the roof under that umbrella.

My favorite was "GyMAZEium" by Peterson Architects and PlaceMakers, Inc. One side had a rope ladder and the other a fireman's pole, to drop down into the rooms, along with hidden exit doors. Both sides were connected by a crawl space under the stairs and slide that divide the rooms. I really liked the rope lighting on the roof panel connecting the two sides. I hope the kids that get this love it more than I do.

I was disappointed in the Dwell playhouse this year. I mean, its a box in a box with no lid. "The Dwell® little 'D'" by Davis Studio Architecture + Design and Dwell® Magazine has pretty cool white walls that fold up from the side walls to roof panels, but there is no roof over the black box so you can't leave anything in the "play" house that won't get ruined in the rain. I have a hard time picturing kids playing in it. Visions of sinister children of the corn'ish kids are all I can imagine lurking inside the black box. At the last event the Dwell playhouse was my favorite, so I guess I was hoping for something a little more playful this year.

I was completely blown away by "E-I-E-I-O" by Square Three Design Studios LLP and Benchmark Builders. I swear the designer must read, Modern MC has been dreaming of converting a barn into a modern home and well ta da! Complete with mini Eames Lounger and S Chairs and giant sock monkeys. The interior even looks like one of the kids rooms on Modern MC's blog! Too cute.

Now if only we can sway these architects even smaller. One can dream.

(top three images and last event's Dwell image are from Rebuilding Together Peninsula website, the others, well, I apologize for my lack of photography skills)


  1. OMG Love it!So many ideas.

    I want to built my little assistant a treehouse in my backyard. I know it will involve a slide.. A few weeks ago she turned to me out of the blue and asked. "May I have a Merry-go-round in my treehouse."
    Haven't quite figuered that feat out yet... C

  2. OH! I am so glad you took pictures. I always think the site/organization doesn't have enough images of the structures. YES---the Dwell playhouse was very boring. It was more like a doghouse or something. It didn't speak to children's imaginations, etc. And--The E-I-E-I-O is my favorite. did you know?

  3. Carol, I love it. You'll have to get your assistant a "mini" merry-go-round. Too cute.

    MC, :D
    I'm surprised that the site doesn't have more photos. There are so many details missed. The interiors were really cool with a lot of props on loan from local stores at the mall. Ha! Yes, the Dwell was more of a doghouse than a playhouse. I hope their next design is more practical.

    mini smiles,


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