Barbara Butler poses in front of the play structure "Canyon Perch" she built near San Francisco, CA,  and that cost US$49,800.  Since 1987, Barbara Butler  has built more than 200 play structures that look like coming out of children books and can cost up to $159,000.

Barbara Butler's Dream Play Structures

In a region famous for its expensive real estate , buying a castle for US$159,000 should be considered as an incredible deal unless…it is a play structure.

Read More...

Since 1987, Barbara Butler (46) has built more than 200 play structures that look like coming out of children books. Their design is breath taking and defies the imagination. They are strong and safe enough for both children and parents to play on together.

Butler says her designs draw on childhood memories of growing up in a big family in Upstate New York. A Political Science major from the State University of New York, Barbara started a different career by building decks, outdoor furniture and garden structures. Her career path turned when the wife of famous singer Bobby McFerrin (Don’t worry, be happy) suggested Butler builds a play structure for the couple's two children.

Her company, Barbara Butler Artist -Builder Inc., is co-owned with her sister Suzanne Butler, and her husband Jeff Beal. The firm has grown to 14 employees and usually has about eight projects going at once.

Customers pay an average of US$10,000 to US$75,000 for her storybook castles and elaborate spaceships and some of them can reach sums above US$100,. Some of her creations have trapdoors, jail bars, swinging ropes, peepholes, escape hatches and fireman's poles. Butler and her team can build a custom playhouse in about six months. Smaller, non-custom play houses and play forts start at about US$3,500. Her clientele is from all over the United States and as far as France in Europe. All creations are hand-carved, hand-painted and include meticulous attention to detail.

Butler's celebrity clientele includes Robert Redford, Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates and Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, Bobby McFerrin and Walt Disney Production. One of her structure was featured in the Robin Williams movie "Bicentennial Man".

The largest playhouse she's built is called the "Connecticut Castle." Created for a multimillionaire's two young sons in Litchfield, Conn., it includes three towers, two bridges, a mad scientist's chamber, rock climbing wall, hand-carved gargoyles and a jail with a secret escape tunnel. The boys can descend on a 36-foot-long slide that passes under the main tower or on a 100-foot zip-line cable that runs from the main tower into the woods. The castle cost US$97,720 to its owner.
Butler also built a 17-foot lighthouse in Malibu for record producer Lou Adler.

Barbara gets the client's kids involved in the design process whenever possible. She says. "We all sit around the kitchen table and I let them draw things and we color it in." She always consider that the children are the owner of her creations.

Her website is www.barbarabutler.com.


Thumbnail options:
Page number:
Barbara Butler poses in front of the play structure "Canyon Perch" she built near San Francisco, CA,  and that cost US$49,800.  Since 1987, Barbara Butler  has built more than 200 play structures that look like coming out of children books and can cost up to $159,000.
Title:
Barbara Butler's Dream Pl...
Date:
January 12, 2003
Filename:
01-2116-0919
Actions:
Simple slideshow
 
 
Barbara Butler drawing the design of a new creation inside her workshop in San Francisco,CA.  Since 1987, Barbara Butler  has built more than 200 play structures that look like coming out of children books and can cost up to $159,000.
Title:
Barbara Butler's Dream Pl...
Date:
December 11, 2002
Filename:
02-2116-0086
Actions:
Simple slideshow
 
 
Barbara Butler drawing the design of a new creation inside her workshop in San Francisco,CA.  Since 1987, Barbara Butler  has built more than 200 play structures that look like coming out of children books and can cost up to $159,000.
Title:
Barbara Butler's Dream Pl...
Date:
December 11, 2002
Filename:
03-2116-0078
Actions:
Simple slideshow
 
 
Barbara Butler discusses building plans with her employee and nephew, Shawn, inside her workshop in San Francisco, CA.  Since 1987, Barbara Butler  has built more than 200 play structures that look like coming out of children books and can cost up to $159,000.
Title:
Barbara Butler's Dream Pl...
Date:
December 11, 2002
Filename:
04-2116-0176
Actions:
Simple slideshow
 
 
Barbara Butler cuts wood inside her workshop in San Francisco, CA.       Since 1987, Barbara Butler  has built more than 200 play structures that look like coming out of children books and can cost up to $159,000.
Title:
Barbara Butler's Dream Pl...
Date:
December 11, 2002
Filename:
05-2116-0270
Actions:
Simple slideshow
 
 
Barbara Butler through the framing of  a new creation inside her workshop in San Francisco, CA.  Since 1987, Barbara Butler  has built more than 200 play structures that look like coming out of children books and can cost up to $159,000.
Title:
Barbara Butler's Dream Pl...
Date:
December 11, 2002
Filename:
06-2116-0199
Actions:
Simple slideshow
 
 
Barbara Butler working on a new play structure  inside her workshop in San Francisco, CA.       Since 1987, Barbara Butler  has built more than 200 play structures that look like coming out of children books and can cost up to $159,000.
Title:
Barbara Butler's Dream Pl...
Date:
December 11, 2002
Filename:
07-2116-0259
Actions:
Simple slideshow
 
 
Barbara Butler and worker Alison Weiland stain a ladder that will be part of a new play structure.   Since 1987, Barbara Butler  has built more than 200 play structures that look like coming out of children books and can cost up to $159,000.
Title:
Barbara Butler's Dream Pl...
Date:
December 17, 2002
Filename:
08-2116-0484
Actions:
Simple slideshow
 
 
Barbara Butler inside her San Francisco workshop pushes a cart with some elements of a new play structure.       Since 1987, Barbara Butler  has built more than 200 play structures that look like coming out of children books and can cost up to $159,000.
Title:
Barbara Butler's Dream Pl...
Date:
December 11, 2002
Filename:
09-2116-0167
Actions:
Simple slideshow
 
 
Barbara Butler with her sister Suzanne (L) and brother Robert  inside her workshop in San Francisco, CA.   The three co-own the company, Barbara Butler Artist -Builder Inc.  Since 1987, Barbara Butler  has built more than 200 play structures that look like coming out of children books and can cost up to $159,000.
Title:
Barbara Butler's Dream Pl...
Date:
December 11, 2002
Filename:
10-2116-0297
Actions:
Simple slideshow
 
 
Barbara Butler building a new play structure outside San Francisco which will look like a house tree.  Since 1987, Barbara Butler  has built more than 200 play structures that look like coming out of children books and can cost up to $159,000.
Title:
Barbara Butler's Dream Pl...
Date:
December 11, 2002
Filename:
11-2116-0322
Actions:
Simple slideshow
 
 
Barbara and her crew install  a  new play structure in the backyard of a client's house near San Francisco, CA.  Since 1987, Barbara Butler  has built more than 200 play structures that look like coming out of children books and can cost up to $159,000.
Title:
Barbara Butler's Dream Pl...
Date:
December 17, 2002
Filename:
12-2116-0529
Actions:
Simple slideshow
 
 
Barbara and her crew install  a  new play structure in the backyard of a client's house near San Francisco, CA.  Since 1987, Barbara Butler  has built more than 200 play structures that look like coming out of children books and can cost up to $159,000.
Title:
Barbara Butler's Dream Pl...
Date:
December 17, 2002
Filename:
13-2116-0544
Actions:
Simple slideshow
 
 
Barbara and her crew install  a  new play structure in the backyard of a client's house near San Francisco, CA.  Since 1987, Barbara Butler  has built more than 200 play structures that look like coming out of children books and can cost up to $159,000.
Title:
Barbara Butler's Dream Pl...
Date:
December 17, 2002
Filename:
14-2116-0577
Actions:
Simple slideshow
 
 
Barbara and her crew install  a  new play structure in the backyard of a client's house near San Francisco, CA.  Since 1987, Barbara Butler  has built more than 200 play structures that look like coming out of children books and can cost up to $159,000.
Title:
Barbara Butler's Dream Pl...
Date:
December 17, 2002
Filename:
15-2116-0592
Actions:
Simple slideshow
 
 
Barbara and her crew install  a  new play structure in the backyard of a client's house near San Francisco, CA.  Since 1987, Barbara Butler  has built more than 200 play structures that look like coming out of children books and can cost up to $159,000.
Title:
Barbara Butler's Dream Pl...
Date:
December 17, 2002
Filename:
16-2116-0614
Actions:
Simple slideshow
 
 
The play structure "Canyon Perch" near San Francisco, CA,  that cost US$49,800.  Since 1987, Barbara Butler  has built more than 200 play structures that look like coming out of children books and can cost up to $159,000.
Title:
Barbara Butler's Dream Pl...
Date:
January 12, 2003
Filename:
17-2116-0768
Actions:
Simple slideshow
 
 
Children play on one of Barbara Butler's play structures, "Fort Everything in  Atherton, CA, that cost US$59,445.  Since 1987, Barbara Butler  has built more than 200 play structures that look like coming out of children books and can cost up to $159,000.
Title:
Barbara Butler's Dream Pl...
Date:
December 17, 2002
Filename:
18-2116-0708
Actions:
Simple slideshow
 
 
One of Barbara Butler's play struture, "Hillside Hamlet" in Hillsborough near San Francisco, that cost US$99,560.  Since 1987, Barbara Butler  has built more than 200 play structures that look like coming out of children books and can cost up to $159,000.
Title:
Barbara Butler's Dream Pl...
Date:
December 17, 2002
Filename:
19-2116-0721
Actions:
Simple slideshow
 
 
Barbara Butler on top of one of her play structures, "Hillside Hamlet" in Hillsborough near San Francisco, that cost US$99,560.  Since 1987, Barbara Butler  has built more than 200 play structures that look like coming out of children books and can cost up to $159,000.
Title:
Barbara Butler's Dream Pl...
Date:
December 17, 2002
Filename:
20-2116-0733
Actions:
Simple slideshow
 
 
Kids play on the play structure " Western Fort" in Cupertino, CA, that cost US$87,925.  Since 1987, Barbara Butler  has built more than 200 play structures that look like coming out of children books and can cost up to $159,000.
Title:
Barbara Butler's Dream Pl...
Date:
December 11, 2002
Filename:
21-2116-0345
Actions:
Simple slideshow
 
 
Inside the play structure " Western Fort" in Cupertino, CA,  that cost US$87,925.                      Since 1987, Barbara Butler  has built more than 200 play structures that look like coming out of children books and can cost up to $159,000.
Title:
Barbara Butler's Dream Pl...
Date:
December 11, 2002
Filename:
22-2116-0374
Actions:
Simple slideshow
 
 
A kid is having a snack inside her play structure "Canyon Perch" built by Barbara Butler near San Francisco, CA,  and that cost US$49,800.  Since 1987, Barbara Butler  has built more than 200 play structures that look like coming out of children books and can cost up to $159,000.
Title:
Barbara Butler's Dream Pl...
Date:
January 12, 2003
Filename:
23-2116-0817
Actions:
Simple slideshow
 
 
Barbara Butler and her dog through the door of one of her play structures inside her workshop in San Francisco,CA.  Since 1987, Barbara Butler  has built more than 200 play structures that look like coming out of children books and can cost up to $159,000.
Title:
Barbara Butler's Dream Pl...
Date:
December 11, 2002
Filename:
24-2116-0063
Actions:
Simple slideshow
 
 
arrow_right_large
Page number: