Dream Houses for Kids

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In San Diego County, some big-time builders are ilding houses on a small scale.

June 19, 2000
This authentic cottage, built by Barratt American for the 1998 charity event, features stone veneers, a Dutch door and an interior loft.

 

In San Diego County, some big-time builders are building houses on a small scale. Local builders are building child-sized, themed playhouses to be displayed and then auctioned off as a fund-raiser for Voices for Children, a non-profit group that recruits and trains adults to serve as advocates for children who are dependents of the court.

Playhouse Fantasy 2000 is a cooperative effort between the 1250-member Building Industry Association (BIA) of San Diego County, Voices for Children and Fashion Valley, which provides the venue for the display.

"It's so amazing. People have been coming out of the woodwork in support of this project," says Sheryl Scarano, Voices for Children board member and co-chair of the event.

The second event of its kind, Playhouse Fantasy 2000 is expected to be even more successful than the 1998 Playhouse Fantasy, say Scarano and her co-chair Eric Jones, past president of the BIA's charitable arm, BIA Cares for Kids. "During the Playhouse Fantasy in 1998, we raised $155,000 to help children, and our goal this year is to surpass $200,000."

To date, seven builders including Barratt American, Pacific Bay Homes LLC, Rilington Communities, Shea Homes and Standard Pacific Homes have committed to building playhouses for the event. And doing so is no small feat. According to Jones, the unique playhouses from 1998 ranged in theme from a to-scale "cottage" with granite countertops and hardwood floors to a Captain Hook pirate ship with a teak upper deck and twin masts.

Plans for this year's batch of eight playhouses include a child-sized version of the famed Hotel Del Coronado, a lifeguard station and an English cottage.

At the 1998 auction, bids ranged from $4500 to $17,000, with building costs ranging from $3500 to $15,000. Jones sees this fund-raiser as a great deal for everyone involved. Home builders and trades get a chance to show off their expertise and help kids, and Voices for Children receives valuable dollars to help the over 7000 children in the San Diego County juvenile court system.

The playhouses will be on display at Fashion Valley September 14 through October 21, when they will be auctioned off to the highest bidders.

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