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Whimsical Playhouses, More Than Kid-Size Fun


Playhouses today aren't what they used to be. They're much, much better. Just take a peek at the eye-popping dwellings on display at Fashion Island in Newport Beach and judge for yourselves.

A replica of Pasadena's Gamble House and a bamboo Fijian hut are among the 13 kid-size dream houses that will be auctioned Oct. 21 at the Orange County mall to raise money for homeless shelters in Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange counties.

The fund-raiser, dubbed Project Playhouse 2000, will benefit HomeAid, a nonprofit organization that builds and renovates shelters for temporarily homeless battered women and their children, HIV and AIDS patients, homeless youths and others.

Since its 1989 launch by the Building Industry Assn., HomeAid has completed more than 50 shelter projects and raised more than $1.2 million. The playhouses have fetched from $1,800 to $38,000.

For the first time, a special "opportunity prize" drawing will take place at the auction party. The winning ticket holder will take home an elaborate French cottage playhouse built by Osborne Development and designed by Danielian Associates. Opportunity prize tickets cost $1 each and are available at Fashion Island.

Tickets for the auction party and dinner are available through Oct. 21 at Fashion Island and HomeAid of Orange County, and cost $25 prepaid and $35 at the door for adults, $15 for children. Kids ages 3 and under are free.

Tours of the playhouses are open to the public from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends through Oct. 21 for $5. A tour also is included in the price of an auction ticket.

This year's playhouses, along with the architects and builders:

* "Calypso Dreams" by CWI Development, designed by Urban Arena: The Caribbean cottage features Florida Keys gingerbread craftsmanship, with fine wood detailing and a windward lanai.

* "Fijian Bure" by Cannon Constructors Inc./David Rolfe, designed by Dora Taylor Associates: A bamboo-clad hand-painted house similar to the Fijian huts dotting the beaches and rain forests of the tropical island.

* "The Gamble House" by ETCO Development, designed by JBZ Architecture & Planning: A pint-size miniature of Pasadena's famous Greene and Greene-designed house, with slate and copper roofing and custom beveled glass.

* "Shipwrecked on Fashion Island" by the LeBon Family and David Mulvaney, designed by Richard Krantz: Shipwreck survivors won't suffer too much in this cottage, which features a working audio system and an observation deck.

* "Frog Hollow" by New Urban West, with Cox, Castle, Nicholson, designed by Bassenian/Lagoni Architects: The enchanted cottage includes an overhanging eave, Craftsman-style door, stone and shingle work, and a lily pond outside the front door.

* "Newport Beach Fire Station 4 1/2" by Newport Beach Firefighters Assn., designed by Robert Hidey Architects, Harold Wong, Marie Larrea, Dina Bunch: This fire station captures the feel of the Balboa Island structure, with its tile roof and stucco exterior, and is equipped with an interior fire pole.

* "Une Maison Conte d'Fe'e" (drawing prize) by Osborne Development, designed by Danielian Associates: A French country cottage with a state-of-the-art security system, slate roof, copper flashing, hardwood floors, shutters and working plumbing and electrical systems.

* "Bullwinkle's Lodge" by Pacific Design Estates, designed by Sinclair Associates Architects: The stone and wooden lodge includes a solarium, stone fireplace and bearskin rug.

* "Three Little Pigs" by Pardee Homes, designed by Bassenian/Lagoni Architects: All three pigs would feel at home in this cottage built of sticks, straw and bricks. It comes with a quaint kitchen that includes all the modern conveniences.

* "Hale Kai" by Rancho Mission Viego and Warmington Homes, designed by William Hezmalhalch Architects: An authentic Cape Cod beach house with a second-floor balcony.

* "Cute Little Craftsman Cottage" by Shea Homes, designed by Bassenian/Lagoni Architects: This playhouse features wood siding and a shingle roof, with a special loft and tea party room for entertaining.

* "Tea-Berry Cottage" by Standard Pacific Homes, designed by Bassenian/Lagoni Architects: The whimsical bungalow boasts a teacup chandelier, ceramic tea service, hand-painted furnishings, tile work and stenciled floors.

* "Crystal Cove Hideaway" by Taylor Woodrow Homes, designed by EBTA Architects: A high-tech cottage complete with a modern entertainment center.

* "Surf's Up" by William Lyon Homes, designed by William Hezmalhalch Architects: This beach cottage includes cabana-style windows, wood floors, a beach-scene mural and lifeguard flags.


For more information, call HomeAid of Orange County at (949) 553-9510.

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