After my recent encounter withoddly spacious play-dwellings, I began to wonder if the market for such necessities had burst. Could Liliput Play Homes and other purveyors of perfect-child mansions still be doing brisk business, when sales of adult-sized—and even millionaire-sized—homes have plummeted? I’m guessing the answer is no, judging from these desperate-sounding ads I ran across on StupidlyEnormousPlayhouses.com.
MUST SELL—BANKRUPTCY! Sadly, my four-year-old sister Gretchen Ambrosia and I have to unload our gracious Victorian so that I can finally afford long pants. At 17-by-9 feet (with loft), it offers 153 square feet of solid hoity-toitiness. Features include: Brass doorknocker, skylight, hardwood floors, the herb-garden that Gretchen supposedly nurtures herself (thanks, Julio!), the turret where I update my spreadsheet on Daddy's mistresses, and an ineffable fairy-tale quality. Originally $19,999. Asking $350. Will accept a Wii in lieu of cash.
STARTER PLAYHOME: Plain, simplistic, merely cheerful bungalow. Encourages puritanical behavior. In the hands of a DIY child, however, could easily be made more monstrous with addition of gables, cupolas, a widow's walk, and a safely lukewarm hot-tub. Boasts a real "ring a ling" doorbell. Original price: $5449. Asking 14 nickels.
ESCAPE TO/FROM THIS ANTEBELLUM DELIGHT: Two-story children's mansion in good neighborhood, close to schools, parks, doctors, and experts skilled in dealing with spoiled children who throw tantrums if you buy them anything without built-in columns. Two slides allow occupants to flee quickly during stressful rehearsals for their upcoming production of The Little Foxes by Lillian Hellman. Price: Negotiable.
SAGGY ELIZABETHAN CHARM: This 1987 children's leisure home is a painstaking replica of the playhouse in which William Shakespeare wrote such key juvenilia as Prince Lear, Hamletty, and Troilus and Cressida's Bawdy Nannies). Includes matching gallows. Slashed from $50,000 to $17.50.
CHALLENGINGLY VAST: If you have an agriculturally inclined toddler who's bored by reasonably sized playhouses, this "luxury farmhouse" will keep her stimulated. Built-in toilet and French doors equip her to defecate and swing things back and forth after a long day of harvesting. Stunning octogonal deck ideal for playdates with Nadya Suleman's younger children. Please submit your bid, plus proof of your child's farming prowess, to P.O. Box 1871, Ridiculousville, NY.