FrontRunners: Childhood Home

  • Sheila J. Gibson

Barbara Butler may understand more than most about the likes and dislikes of children. However, you don’t have to be an aunt to 15 nieces and nephews, as she is, to know that children enjoy playhouses, especially ones as fantastic as those that Butler (415.864.6840, www.barbarabutler.com) designs and builds. Her brightly colored creations may resemble a fairy-tale castle, a lighthouse, or a medieval fort, and they can be equipped with a climbing wall, a fire pole, a bridge, or a spring-mounted platform that wiggles underfoot. A jail area, complete with barred window and a secret means of escape, is a signature feature of a Butler playhouse. “I want to wear children out so they sleep well at night,” says the 45-year-old Butler, whose eponymous business is based in San Francisco.

Butler eagerly awaits the day when clients become parents who share their playhouses with a second generation. At a party recently, she met a young woman who had grown up with the children of singer Bobby McFerrin, Butler’s first customer 15 years ago. The woman told her how much she loved romping in the playhouse, and that once she had children of her own, Butler could expect an order.

Read Next Article >>
La Murina's newest showroom in Milan...
Eskayel founder collaborates with Dane Co. designer...
The largest hospitality design firm is bringing its signature styling to private residences...
Peter Aaron/OTTO
Caribbean beachfront setting for a new private compound combining centuries-old architectural...
Erhard Pfeiffer
Homes by Richard Landry are lofty yet grounded in humility...
Luxury homes for sale around the world...
A mix of smart essentials for maximizing work-at-home style...
Home furnishings from around the globe...
Clive and Julie Bridgwater reach an inspiring summit for a Southern California family...
The Vancouver-based bath-ware manufacturer Blu Bathworks has added a new freestanding pedestal sink...