Architecture

Post image for Playhouses on display at Stanford Shopping Center make “dreams happen” for local non-profit Rebuilding Together Peninsula

The fabulously-designed and built playhouses that currently dot the Stanford Shopping Center have been a fixture  since 1993 when the shopping center first began hosting the biennial event benefiting Rebuilding Together Peninsula. This year’s auction, Dreams Happen, will take place on June 3. If past winning bids are a guide, the playhouses will fetch anywhere from $13,000 to over $100,000.

Thanks to a heads up by local architect John Onken, we’re spotlighting some of the playhouses built by Menlo Park firms or sponsored by Menlo Park organizations, ably photographed by InMenlo contributing photographer Robb Most.

“Support for the Dreams Happen charity has been shared  between local architects and contractors for almost two decades, explained John, who is playhouse chair this year. “We’ve all pitched in by building playhouses, donating materials or labor, or, in this case, chairing the event.”

“I had been the architect for three previous playhouses, and this is my first year stepping up into Gary Ahern’s shoes acting as playhouse chair. There’s a lot to go into an event like this that’s very much behind the scenes — the design, organization, logistics (getting the houses back and forth from Stanford Shopping Center and their final homes), a Gala board of 25 volunteers, managing donations and buyers.

“I’m always excited to talk to friends and neighbors in Menlo Park during playhouse ‘season’ when they’re surprised by finding these incredible structures almost by accident while shopping. We’re all just sitting on our hands in an excited state of anticipation as we await the big auction on Saturday, seeing what families have caught the ‘playhouse bug’ and want to be part of the Rebuilding Together movement. [Note for information on absentee and/or proxy bidding, contact Annel Aguayo at (650) 366.6597 x230 or at DreamsHappen@RTPeninsula.org.]

“I’m also a huge fan of the work Rebuilding Together Peninsula does. We all wonder what we can do to tackle homelessness in the area. RTP’s work is a direct and tangible charity that attacks the problem at the roots, by maintaining and repairing homes before families become homeless. We keep families in their homes, and we do our part to keep the area’s low-income building stock available to the people who really need it.

“The great thing about Dreams Happen is that what we raise in the semi-annual auction pretty much funds the administration and operation of the charity, so that later donations and support can go directly into the building projects themselves.”

The playhouses will be on display at the shopping center a week after the auction. You can view all the playhouses online at the Rebuilding Together website.

Photos by Robb Most

Playhouses credits: top: WellieWishers Garden Playhouse/Gary Ahern/Menlo Park architect; top right: Stanford Cinema by Larry Kahle who’s a planning commissioner in Menlo Park), bottom right: Lacuna sponsored by Menlo Park-based Facebook; Farm to Table by David Baker Architects; Fire House built by Menlo Park Firefighters Association

{ Be the first to comment }

A visit with new Filoli Executive Director Kara Newport

Thumbnail image for A visit with new Filoli Executive Director Kara Newport

We are always interested in how and why people stumble (jump?) into their professions. So that was the first questions we asked Kara Newport, who was recently named Executive Director of Filoli. “I was raised on a sheep farm in Ohio and attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio for college, thinking I’d  be a liberal arts […]

Click to read more →

Getting a tour of the new Science and User Support building at SLAC

Thumbnail image for Getting a tour of the new Science and User Support building at SLAC

We’ve been watching the new building at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory go up over the past year, and now that it’s complete, find it quite eye-catching, particularly as viewed going west on Sand Hill Road. Accompanied by InMenlo contributing photographer Irene Searles, we were given a tour of the first floor and second floor by […]

Click to read more →

Modern home in Atherton’s Maple Manor gets spruced up, not scraped

Thumbnail image for Modern home in Atherton’s Maple Manor gets spruced up, not scraped

Gordy Gourdin lived in Atherton long enough to know what happens to homes like the ranch house his grandfather built in the town’s Maple Manor area in the early 50s. When sold, they get scraped to make way for a mini-mansion of one kind or another. This happens irrespective of fond memories. “I recall the construction […]

Click to read more →

After years of “cottage living” Denise Amantea builds her dream house in Menlo Park

Thumbnail image for After years of “cottage living” Denise Amantea builds her dream house in Menlo  Park

For 25 years, Denise Amantea lived in a small 900-foot cottage in west Menlo Park. Her career as a securities attorney meant she traveled a lot, and she just made do. On a milestone birthday, a light bulb when off. “I knew I always wanted to build my dream house,” she said, “and I realized […]

Click to read more →

The Jewel of Santa Cruz Avenue grows up — beautifully

Thumbnail image for The Jewel of Santa Cruz Avenue grows up — beautifully

In the 1930s, the brothers Bert and John Bartolome, while engaged in construction work at Stanford University, began building what turned out to be a rather whimsical house — completed in the early 1940s — on Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park. The Jewel of Santa Cruz Avenue was first described in a March 4, […]

Click to read more →

Architects Kelly Johnson and Karen Zak work with Peninsula residents to create “just the right” space

Thumbnail image for Architects Kelly Johnson and Karen Zak work with Peninsula residents to create “just the right” space

For the past 12 years, Menlo Park-based architects Kelly Johnson and Karen Zak have been in business together, but they’ve known each other since their undergraduate days at the University of Michigan. Yet, they arrived at their profession from different paths. “I knew I wanted a career that involved math and science and initially pursued […]

Click to read more →

Sacred Heart Schools named as Apple Distinguished Program for 2012-13, receives Green Building Awsrd

Thumbnail image for Sacred Heart Schools named as Apple Distinguished Program for 2012-13, receives Green Building Awsrd

Sacred Heart Schools’ One-to-One iPad Program for grades 9-12 has been named an Apple Distinguished Program for the 2012-13 school year. The Apple Distinguished Program designation is reserved for programs that meet criteria for innovation, leadership, and educational excellence, and demonstrate Apple’s vision of exemplary learning environments. “We are honored and thrilled that our One-to-One […]

Click to read more →

Eichler homes to be built again – first since 1973

Thumbnail image for Eichler homes to be built again – first since 1973

Emails Monique Lombardelli, owner of Modern Homes Reality in Menlo Park and producer of a documentary film about Joseph Eichler: “I signed with the Eichler family to formally bring back Eichler Homes Development Corp. The last Eichlers were built in 1973. “Original Eichlers will now be built again, but up to todays standard codes and they will […]

Click to read more →

Joseph Eichler’s legacy is focus of documentary film to be screened in Menlo Park on Sept. 29

Thumbnail image for Joseph Eichler’s legacy is focus of documentary film to be screened in Menlo Park on Sept. 29

Realtor Monique Lombardelli is, in many respects, all about Joseph Eichler. At McGuire Real Estate, she specializes in selling Eichler homes. She currently lives in the Bazett House, the Frank Lloyd Wright house that Eichler once rented. And drawing on her broadcasting background, she’s directed a documentary film about the real estate developer. People in […]

Click to read more →

A higher order “jewel” emerges on Santa Cruz Avenue

Thumbnail image for A higher order “jewel” emerges on Santa Cruz Avenue

A year ago Scott Scherer (pictured right below), his wife Meg McGraw-Scherer, and their two children moved into the house in Menlo Park that we featured here in 2010 as The jewel of Santa Cruz Avenue. They fell in love with the unique architecture of the house and its many artistic and historic features, including […]

Click to read more →