McCarthy Building Cos. Inc., in partnership with CHOC Children�s, recently built a technologically advanced playhouse for HomeAid Orange County�s 19th annual Project Playhouse fundraiser. This is the second year in a row that McCarthy and CHOC have teamed to build a playhouse for the Project Playhouse event.

McCarthy, CHOC Awarded for Project Playhouse Project

The playhouse was built with thousands of dollars worth of services and supplies donated by McCarthy Building Cos. along with various subcontractors and vendors. The McCarthy and CHOC Children’s playhouse is HomeAid’s “opportunity drawing playhouse,” which is the only playhouse that could be won by purchasing $2 raffle tickets. Six additional playhouses were donated by other building teams and sold at a live auction party on September 10.

Approximately $338,000 was raised for HomeAid Orange County through the Project Playhouse event. All of the playhouses were on display in the Project Playhouse Village from July 31 to Sept. 10 at the Irvine Spectrum Center. During the event, the McCarthy/CHOC playhouse received two awards given by HomeAid Orange County — The Grand Award (first place) and Secret Garden Award (best landscape design).

“Historically, Project Playhouse builder teams were residential home builders,” says Gina Scott, HomeAid Orange County, director of development. “McCarthy Building Cos. was one of our first commercial builders, and they have done an exceptional job of adapting their talents and resources to create innovative playhouses that are popular with children and adults. We deeply appreciate McCarthy’s generous support and the incredible participation from the McCarthy Heart Hats.”

Named “Tween the House and the Pool,” the 80-sq-ft playhouse with an 8-ft-high open ceiling is definitely not your little sister’s or brother’s playhouse. Designed by project architect Ryan Ghere with interiors by Laura Zublin of Selleck-Zublin Interior Design and Tiffani Ghere, the playhouse features a relaxed yet modern twist on a Hampton style pool house. The yellow and blue interior décor combines classic comfort with a bit of whimsy to please even the most fickle of tastes. Tweens can relax inside or lounge on the modular patio, with mosaic pools at the entryway.

STARYtech Audio Video & Lighting created the modern technology concepts for the “smart” playhouse including color changing LED lighting, a 32-in. flat screen TV, an Apple media player, a stereo sound system and wiring for computers. The house is framed on two sides by the innovative Nanawall system valued at $27,000. The glass accordion-style doors fold to one side allowing the indoor and outdoor areas to become one and providing transparency for watchful parents.

This modern playhouse was inspired by CHOC’s new Patient Care Tower (Tower II) that McCarthy is currently building on the hospital’s main campus. The Tower II features leading design and safety principles as well as advanced technology. Similarly, the playhouse offers likeminded design features. For example, the new CHOC Tower’s exterior façade will transform at night, providing a playful change in appearance, and the playhouse has color-changing lighting inside and out. Like the Tower II, the playhouse design was also patient inspired. At CHOC, many of their young patients and parents use social media and networking (Facebook, blogs, etc.) to keep in touch with their friends and family while undergoing treatment in the hospital, therefore the designers incorporated technology suited for this use into the playhouse.

The CHOC Tower II will also incorporate environmental health principles and sustainable building guidelines as recognized by the Green Guide for Healthcare, U.S. Green Building Council and state of California energy mandates. The landscaping and building materials used in the playhouse echo the environmentally conscious design of the tower. Some of the green features in the playhouse include reclaimed wood shingles, a living succulent wall with drought tolerant plants, energy efficient LED lighting, and abundant natural daylighting and ventilation provided by the transparent door/wall system and two other operable windows.

Advanced building technology was used to create the design of the CHOC Tower II as well as the playhouse. The project team for the Tower II is using computer graphics/BIM 3-D modeling to refine coordination and thereby reduce conflicts between systems during installation. Similarly, playhouse architect Ghere used Google SketchUp Pro, a 3D modeling software to create a quick and accurate interior and exterior design which enabled the playhouse to be completed in record time – exactly two weeks from start to finish.

The playhouse wasn’t complete without landscaping to help showcase its design while it was on display at the Irvine Spectrum Center. Kelly Rasmussen of Rasmussen Design Inc. coordinated the landscape team and developed a simple, yet elegant Hampton inspired landscape design by intermixing natural grass and a variety of shrub massings, including Iceberg and blanket Roses as well as Hydrangeas and Lavender. Rasmussen collaborated with Daniel Lisch from Southern Exposure Landscape Management; Dan Dworman with Norman's Nurseries who supplied approximately $5,000 in plant material; Duane Carter with Garden Art International and Jim Boike with Vista Professional Outdoor Lighting.

McCarthy says its dedicated subcontractors and vendors along with other construction volunteers pitched in with various supplies and services to complete the playhouse. The project’s contributors included American Trim, Armstrong Garden, Art Manufacturing, Aspen Woodworks, Avalon Design, Azek Building Products, Inc., Bassman Blaine and Associates, BCI Framing and Drywall, Berg Electric, Bobby Taylor-Welder On Wheels, Brian Dawson, Brightgreen USA, Canyon Insulation, Capparelli/KHS&S Contractors, Cosco Fire Protection, Chuck Goodman, Custom Delux Landscape, Driptite, Emser Tile, Furniture Source, Gaf-Elk Steep-Slope Roofing Systems, Garden Art International, JB Lumber, Johnson & Turner Paint Co, John Deer Landscapes, Jose Ricardo Finishing, Kenneth McDonald, McCarthy Concrete, Michael Kochan-Studio Mak, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, Nanawall Systems, Pacific Architectural Millwork, Pamela Kellogg, Perry Smith, Premier Forest Products Inc., Progressive Flooring, Red Envelope Designs, Rosetree Designs, Saroyan Lumber-Saroyan Fine Wood Flooring, Schuff Steel, Seasons + Landscape Architecture, Development-Scott Hutcheon, Southern Exposure Landscape Management, STARYtech Audio Video & Lighting, Structural Materials Co., Tarantino Landscape, Inc., The Ghere Family, The Piazza Family, Unicorn Delivery, Valley Crest and Vista Professional Outdoor Lighting.

The HomeAid playhouse was completed in part by McCarthy Heart Hats, a volunteer community outreach group led by the employees of McCarthy Building Cos.  The McCarthy Heart Hats community involvement program is dedicated to encouraging, supporting and recognizing McCarthy employees' volunteer efforts in a variety of causes to ensure real needs are being met in communities where employees work, live and play. Trevor Lawton, McCarthy project engineer on the CHOC Children’s Tower II project was the project manager and Heart Hat team leader for the playhouse.