Many kids dream of the perfect playhouse: a big play area to host a tea party, a bed for the family dog and a design as unique as they are. This Christmas, the dream could come true for four lucky High Country children.

For the first time, the High Country Homebuilders Association is undertaking a new fundraiser, the Playhouse Project. The HCHBA is auctioning and raffling off four playhouses to benefit its own scholarship program as well as local charities, Wine to Water and the Watauga County Habitat for Humanity. 

“This would be some kid’s ideal Christmas present,” HCHBA member Chris Laine said. 

Local builders of the HCHBA, ATTIC Design, Coffey Architecture and David Patrick Moses Architects, designed the playhouses. 

The four playhouses are entirely unique, and each one has its own theme: the Carriage House, which is a more traditional design that resembles a real house; the Hobbit House, reminiscent of the fairytale community of J.R.R. Tolkien’s imagination; Eden Pavilion, an indoor-outdoor playhouse with gardening potential; and Radial Play, a round playhouse that has already been sold.

“Because they’re unique designs, they’re more of a challenge to build than most children’s’ playhouses,” Laine said. “We’ve gone to extra means to get materials to build them to the drawings.” 

Materials for the playhouses were provided through donations from local building suppliers, most of which are members of the HCHBA, according to a news release.

The Carriage House will be won by raffle, while the Hobbit House and Eden Pavilion will be auctioned off to the highest bidder at a bowtie auction, which takes place Dec. 6. The raffle winner will also be determined at this catered event. 

The Carriage House is a building project undertaken with the help of Watauga High School’s carpentry class, led by Jason Matthews. The young students of his class are also often the beneficiaries of the HCHBA’s scholarship program.

“We’re just trying to reach out and connect to the High Country in general, to use our skills for a worthy cause and to complete the process and provide more than money for these young men,” Laine said. “We provide them an opportunity.”

The idea to have a Playhouse Project came to culmination upon the cancellation of the HCHBA’s Home Show.

“Our Home Show, which has run for 17 years, was cancelled this year,” Laine said. “That was our primary revenue stream that keeps us afloat. When that didn’t materialize, we became aware of this project, which has been utilized at homebuilders associations across the country. We figured if they can do it, we can, too.”

Although it is the HCHBA’s first shot at a project like this, the results are already showing. The Radial Play playhouse has already sold for almost $6,000, according to Laine.

“This is our first attempt, to see what it’s all about,” Laine said. “We hope it will be successful in years to come.”

The live auction and raffle drawing takes place on Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. The auction will be catered by Red Moon Hospitality, and a full menu for the event is listed on the HCHBA’s website.

Tickets for the auction cost $35 for individuals and $60 for couples in advance and $40 for individuals and $75 for couples at the door. Tickets are available online. The HCHBA has been selling raffle tickets for the Carriage House at the Watauga County Farmers’ Market, and raffle tickets are also available on its website.

For more information, and for raffle tickets or bowtie auction tickets, visit www.highcountryhba.com.  

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