Home Sweet Home Jr. – WSJ.com
When Krystal and Hal Barkate decided to buy a second home last year, they wanted something just like their yellow Colonial. So the couple hired a builder to create an exact replica — right down to the cream trim, covered front porch and pitched roof with gabled dormers. The big difference: The house, which also has a fireplace and an open-plan kitchen, is a 10-foot-tall playhouse for their two kids, ages 5 and 3, and sits in their backyard in Ladera Ranch, Calif.
A Tudor-style playhouse in Denver
The Barkates paid $15,000 for the pint-size Colonial, and that doesn’t include what they spent on the little garage and roof deck they added this summer. “People think it’s crazy,” Ms. Barkate acknowledges.
House-proud Americans have a new way to show off their trophy homes. Taking the pricey playhouse concept to the next level, some homeowners are building Mini-Me McMansions for their kids. The lavish replicas, which can include such grown-up amenities as hardwood floors and media rooms with satellite TVs, generally cost from $10,000 to $100,000. Some run even higher than that, exceeding the median price of a single-family home ($218,000 in November). In some areas the playhouses are running afoul of local zoning ordinances, building codes and housing-development covenants, annoying neighbors who object to the backyard estates and racking up substantial fines.
You just know that these houses would sell for $350,000 each in the Bay Area – perfect for first time buyers!