We’re in the business of designing and remodeling houses, and we pride ourselves on the ability to design different architectural styles for a diverse clientele. But recently, we realized we’d been missing out on an entire segment of the market: kids. People under the age of 18 make up a whopping 23% of the US population, and yet not a single one has ever approached us for a project. Something had to be done.
As if they had read our minds, Houzz, a website that helps homeowners find design inspiration, sent us an email with a call to design a playhouse for “children across the country.” Here was our chance to enter the market.
“Some of our favorite childhood memories are the hours we spent using our imaginations and exploring new ideas,” said Houzz as a prompt. So we thought back to our own childhoods, and realized that a significant portion of our imaginative time had been spent reading books, exploring new ideas presented to us on paper. Perhaps contrary to instinct and the rise in digital media, children’s book sales have grown 40% in the last decade, indicating that parents and kids still see books as a valuable part of childhood. To further this message, we decided to design our playhouse around the theme of an adventure book, combining the fun of reading with the equally exciting time spent playing on structures and building make believe worlds.
As children, it sometimes felt like characters and places in books were coming to life as we read. In our PlayHouzz design, we set forth to make this happen somewhat more literally, with a life-sized book where kids take the place of characters. In our book, kids write and star in their own story, from acting it out to coloring and writing it on the walls.
To spark their imaginations, we designed the book with three open pages, each as a door to a different world: the jungle, an underwater reef, and the arctic. A coloring book background is on each page, with giant “pop-up” animals (remember these?) and interactive features in each world. Between pages, we carved out nooks for kids to explore, and placed openings for them to peek from one world to the next.
Our design is really about letting kids imagine their own adventure within the pages of the book. But to let kids play in it, the design that we’ve imagined has to come to life. To make this happen, head over to our project on the Houzz website and click “like” at the top. If chosen, our playhouse will become one of the designs constructed and donated to playgrounds, schools, and charities that benefit children across the country. And more importantly, we at FB Design Build will finally be able to say we have clients of all ages.
Stay tuned for more playhouse news—we’ll be building a different book-inspired playhouse for the local Bay Area Book Festival in June.