Charmed life: Alberta carpenter strikes gold with luxury playhouses for kids
Published Monday, April 4, 2016 9:56PM EDT
Alberta’s housing market may have been hard hit by dropping oil prices, but a company specializing in luxury children’s playhouses appears unfazed by the weakened economy.
The Lethbridge-based company, Charmed Playhouses, has attracted buyers across North America with its unique structures inspired by fairy tales and lore.
The custom-built designs can sell for up to six figures, and buyers have included NBA player Stephen Curry and a travelling Chinese theme park.
The company’s owner says the only limit to the playhouses is imagination.
“Some love superheroes and some love princesses, and so when they give us that idea we really just try to understand what their idea is and then bring it to life in a way they would never have thought,” Tyson Leavitt, the company’s founder, told CTV News.
The idea was inspired from Leavitt’s experience building treehouses for clients as a landscaper. He left landscaping last year to begin building the custom-made playhouses, which he says are a great way for kids to unplug and head outdoors.
Leavitt’s wife, the company’s interior designer, has worked on projects including a castle, a pirate ship and a Hobbit-inspired cottage that seems plucked straight from the Shire.
“It's a little bit like going back in time and decorating your dollhouse again, on a little bit bigger of a scale,” she said.
“It’s so much fun because I know I'd like to go back in time and pretend like I’m a kid again sometimes, and so I love that nostalgic feeling that we get to bring to other families.”
While many Albertans have grappled with job losses and a weakened economy, Leavitt says his business is thriving. The company has buyers from across the globe, which Leavitt says may be partially a result of the weakened Canadian dollar.
“Really our company is made to be in a global market,” he said.
With a report from CTV's Alberta bureau chief Janet Dirks