Would You Spend $50,000 on a Playhouse? (Photos)

Epic Playhouses!

If you thought the days of conspicuous consumption were over due to the financial troubles plaguing our country, think again. The American tradition of spending large sums of money on frivolous items is alive and well. Just ask John and Kristi Schiller, the Texas couple who spent $50,000 on a playhouse for their toddler.

First off, it should be mentioned that their custom built playhouse by La Petite Maison is pretty rad (if you’re into that kind of thing). The 170-square-foot playhouse has two stories, vaulted ceilings, scaled down furnishings, a stainless steel mini fridge (stocked full of juice boxes and popsicles), a 32-inch flat screen TV, and —of course- air conditioning.  How do they justify this mini estate for their little girl? “I think of it as bling for the yard,” said Ms. Schiller. “My daughter loves it,” she added. “And it’s certainly a conversation piece.”

It’s a trend, that even though the economy is hurting, parenting are still investing in. Barbara Butler, a Bay Area based playhouse designer with an average playhouse price of $54,000 said her sales are up 40%. “Childhood is a precious and finite thing,” Ms. Butler stated. “And a special playhouse is not the sort of thing you can put off until the economy gets better.”

$54,000 may seem like a lot of cold hard cash to spend on a playhouse, but Dan Burnham spent a staggering $248,000 on a Barbara Butler playhouse saying, “I wanted another reason for the grandkids to come over.” And with a playhouse like this, you know they will. The structure was built amongst three trees and includes a trap door, a swinging bridge, winding stairs, a zip line, a rock wall for climbing, a firefighters’ pole and a slide.

But don’t despair if you can’t keep up with these well-heeled Jones and put down 50k or more on a playhouse.  Steven Tuber, a psychology professor at City University of New York and the author of “Attachment, Play, and Authenticity,” told the New York Times that “over-the-top playhouses may do something for the parent’s sense of grandeur,” they “certainly are irrelevant to the child’s needs and desires for a play space.”

“They are unlikely to get in the way of the child’s imagination,” he added, but “they do nothing to further it.”

If you had a whole bunch of disposable income, would you spoil your child with a posh playhouse?

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Don’t have $50k lying around? No worries — these 10 playhouses are $100 or less!

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