Billionaire buys children £150,000 playhouse


A billionaire has treated his two children to the ultimate Christmas present – a £150,000 playhouse which costs as much as a three-bedroom home.

Billionaire buys children £150,000 playhouse

The super-sized Wendy house was custom-built by a British company as a surprise present for the two children of a Swiss businessman.

The extravagant two-storey timber playhouse is an exact replica of the family’s magnificent chalet in the foothills of the Swiss alps.

It cost £100,000 and 2,000 man hours to build while a further £30-50,000 was spent on transport and installation – making it the world’s most expensive playhouse.

Russell Bowlby, owner of children’s play equipment company Flights of Fantasy, led the team of craftsmen which hand-built the playhouse in North Lynn, Norfolk.

He said: ”It is a complex structure and will have to withstand some very cold temperatures, when I went over it was minus 17 degrees Celsius.

”We have insulated the chalet and installed under floor heating and booster heaters, so the kids will be as warm as toast.

”Before starting construction I flew to Switzerland to study building techniques and styles and to match it as closely as possible to the family’s home.

”We spent around £130,000 to £150,000 in total for construction, transport and other costs while the chalet alone cost £100,000 for materials and construction.

”It’s different and very special and the finished play house is really a work of art as well as a wonderful toy for their two children.

”We worked incredibly hard to get it finished and set up in their garden in time for Christmas.”

The playhouse, which stands 3.6m tall and measures 5.5m by 4.5m, took ten craftsmen five weeks to construct from 4,000m of sandblasted pine wood planks.

It is fitted with double glazing, solid pine flooring and bespoke carved Swiss eaves, while lighting is provided by over 400 decorative bulbs.

Billionaire buys children £150,000 playhouse

The two-storey interior, which took a further ten days to fit, has four beds for sleepovers and also includes a fully fitted miniature kitchen, complete with fridge and hob.

The large living room has a specially designed stone chimney, which is illuminated by led lights, and is packed with bespoke furniture and TV equipment.

The playhouse is so well insulated that it can withstand sub-zero Swiss temperatures and also boasts under-floor heating.

To finish off the chalet Russell installed a brass plaque which bears the children’s names and a touching message from the parents.

He added: ”We took it as a compliment that the family chose a small business in Norfolk when they could have gone to anyone in the world.

”You won’t find anything like this playhouse in the world – it is as expensive as it gets.”

Flights of Fantasy build custom made playhouses for millionaires and celebrities and even worked on commissions for the Saudi royal family.

Russell founded the company after he designed and constructed his first playhouse more than 20 years ago for his son Jamie.

He presented his playhouse as a business idea on the BBC TV Dragons’ Den and sold a playhouse to Peter Jones despite failing to secure investment.

The timber chalet cost £100,000, which is enough to buy a three bedroom semi-detached house and garden in Norwich.


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