Dallas homebuilder Les Owens of LRO Residential puts the same details into the children’s playhouses he builds for the Dallas CASA Parade of Playhouses as he does the multimillion dollar custom homes he builds in the city’s most tony neighborhoods, like Preston Hollow, Bluffview, and Highland Park.
Want a playhouse with a copper roof? Wired for electrical? With real hardwood floors? Totally do-able.
“We use the same materials in our playhouses as the big homes we build,” Owens said. “It allows us to be really detailed and maintain the same construction quality for a tiny house that we would for any house we build — we look forward to this every year.”
The 22nd annual Dallas CASA Parade of Playhouses runs July 7 to 23 at NorthPark Center. The event features custom-designed and built playhouses available to win by raffle, with all proceeds benefiting the children served by Dallas CASA. As the group’s largest annual awareness event, Dallas CASA Parade of Playhouses brings attention to the plight of the abused and neglected children served by the agency’s volunteer advocates.
Parade of Playhouses has been Dallas CASA’s signature community and fundraising event since 1996. This year’s collection of 16 playhouses will include a Rubik’s cube, four winners from an international playhouse design competition and a space-themed house.
For Owens, getting tradesmen and subcontractors to pitch in is easy as soon as he tells them about Dallas CASA. He said he typically builds his playhouses in the garage of one of his current projects, allowing free access to his tradesmen and subcontractors, who work on the 64-square foot house.
Owens’ house for the 21 annual Parade of Playhouses will be his eighth. This year, he’s chosen a whimsical cottage theme. With a high-pitched, gabled roof, and details like a propeller, world map, and roof-top periscope, the house will be one of 16 featured on this year’s Dallas CASA Parade of Playhouses.
Each playhouse must conform to certain standards, like a maximum width of 7.5 feet, maximum length of 8.5 feet and no more than eight feet tall, inclusive of the roof, overhangs, eaves, and porch. They must be designed for outdoor use and weigh less than 6,000 pounds.
For Owens, the requirements only make the design challenge more fun.
“We really just get a kick out of doing it,” he said.