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A charming success: family-run Alberta business builds luxury playhouses

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WATCH ABOVE: A family run business in Lethbridge has taken luxury play houses to a whole new level, and as Allie Miller reports, what started as a small backyard project has turned into a global success – May 30, 2016

The Charmed Playhouses headquarters was bustling Monday as the latest creation – a nine-piece castle – was being prepared to ship to China. The luxury playhouse company, located in Lethbridge, Alta., has seen huge success this past year and is now the focus of a new reality TV show.

“We definitely didn’t expect to be filming for a TV show or have our company grow so far and wide,” CEO Tyson Leavitt said.

The former landscaper began building playhouses several years ago as a backyard project and the rest is history.

Leavitt displayed his first ornate creation at the Home and Garden Show in 2014 and has since designed playhouses for celebrity clients like NBA star Stephen Curry.

“That’s what’s great about Charmed – it doesn’t matter what your dream or imagination is,” Leavitt said. “You tell it to us, let us help you develop it and we will build it into something amazing.”

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The team starts with a sketch and from there, the creative process begins. Every elaborate playhouse is a custom-made original. Once the piece finished, there is one more important step before it is sent to its new home.

“Our kids get the coveted job of being our professional playhouse testers,” interior designer Audy Leavitt said. “They come in on every build and test it out.”

The family-run business employs over 30 people and recently had to move to a much larger facility to meet demands.

“We feel like we are just getting started,” Audy Leavitt said. “We have a lot of work to do.”

The Lethbridge, Alta. company creates luxury dwellings that are custom-designed by an industry-leading architect. Credit: Charmed Playhouses
The Lethbridge, Alta. company creates luxury dwellings that are custom-designed by an industry-leading architect. Credit: Charmed Playhouses
The Lethbridge, Alta. company creates luxury dwellings that are custom-designed by an industry-leading architect. Credit: Charmed Playhouses
The Lethbridge, Alta. company creates luxury dwellings that are custom-designed by an industry-leading architect. Credit: Charmed Playhouses
The Lethbridge, Alta. company creates luxury dwellings that are custom-designed by an industry-leading architect. Credit: Charmed Playhouses
The Lethbridge, Alta. company creates luxury dwellings that are custom-designed by an industry-leading architect. Credit: Charmed Playhouses
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The Lethbridge, Alta. company creates luxury dwellings that are custom-designed by an industry-leading architect. Credit: Charmed Playhouses
The Lethbridge, Alta. company creates luxury dwellings that are custom-designed by an industry-leading architect. Credit: Charmed Playhouses

The Charmed team travels around the world delivering and installing the playhouses. The best part of the job? The final reveal.

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“We always try to exceed that dream a little bit so that we can get that crazy reaction,” Leavitt said. “I feel like to date, we’ve always gotten the reaction we’ve hoped for and a bit more.”

Levitt says, with every new castle, cottage and pirate ship, there is an “aha moment.”

“We’ve learned something new on every play house,” Leavitt said. “How to build it, how to achieve that vision, it really is a head scratcher every time we get to build a new playhouse.”

The playhouses may be for the kids, but ask the Charmed Playhouse team they’ll tell you they’re living a fairy tale of their own.

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