10:00 PM PDT on Saturday, June 25, 2011
By JENNIFER WHITAKER
For the last 20 years, HomeAid Orange County has been raising money to help run transitional housing for the homeless, battered women and pregnant teens by auctioning off tricked-out mini-homes as part of Project Playhouse.
Most years there are 10 to 12 of these high-end playhouses up on the auction block, but because of the economy there are so far only two this year, one of which is being constructed at the TWR Framing shop in Corona by Shea Homes trade partners and suppliers.
“Our trade partners are still coming while they’re laying people off,” said build orchestrator Rod Plunkett, a Shea Homes project superintendent. “Because they believe in this project, they’re coming and making it happen.”
Kevin Schuder, of TWR Framing in Corona, works on a souped-up playhouse. The mini-Tuscan villa will be auctioned off for charity in November. It is one of only two playhouses for auction so far this year.
Their Tuscan villa, constructed over a period of months with donated time, materials and expertise, uses Travertine tile, copper flashing, dual-pane windows and rock facing.
“By the time it’s done, it’s really, really nice,” said Kevin Schuder with TWR. “There’s a fair amount of work in them.”
The expensive insulating plywood going into the project will keep it 5 to 10 degrees cooler, and the roof tiles are being cut in half, piece by piece, to make it look proportionate.
“They go all out,” Plunkett said.
The detail going into the TWR Framing playhouse includes copper flashing, insulating plywood and dual-pane windows.
“The workers, they take a sense of pride because they know that it’s going for a good cause.” The homes auction for up to $100,000 each in good years, and often come with running water, a flat screen TV, fireplace, staircase, granite countertops and distressed hardwood floors, all just scaled down, and often following themes such as a SpongeBob pineapple house, the house from the movie “Up,” craftsman cottages and mystic cabins. “We’re a part of it just because we feel that HomeAid is a good cause and they help people, and so we want to be a part of that,” Schuder said.
The playhouses will be on display at the Irvine Spectrum beginning with an open house from noon to 6 p.m. Oct. 8. The auction is set for Nov. 11.