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Eloise's Custom-Designed Playhouse

Eloise, 6, Playhouse

“ She doesn't just like it, she loves it! ”

- Alison, Eloise's mom

Eloise is a six-year-old with big dreams for the future. When she and her family moved into their home in Portland a couple years ago, she and her dad talked about getting a playhouse for the backyard.

But one thing led to another; the playhouse was never built.  Then she was diagnosed with leukemia.  All attention now turned to making her healthy again.  So when Make-A-Wish volunteers asked Eloise for her one true wish, it was no surprise that she wished for a playhouse. 

It wasn’t just any playhouse.  Eloise had very specific ideas on what it should include – a loft for her to relax in, a reading nook downstairs and a separate area for arts and crafts.  With such a detailed blueprint, Make-A-Wish needed to bring in some experts.  R&H Construction answered the challenge.  They worked with local architect Doug Minarik to come up with a design that would fulfill Eloise’s wish.

Building the playhouse took three days and 15 volunteers, including nine professional builders from R&H Construction.  As soon as the crew placed the final handle on the door, Eloise and her friends rushed-in, raced through the house, up the loft and down the firefighter pole.

Playhouse volunteers

“Eloise doesn’t just like it, she loves it!” says her mom, Alison. “It’s good to see the happiness in her.  She deserves it.  She’s over the moon.”  Her dad says it’s perfect for her in every possible way.  That’s because she loves to play make-believe with her little sister, Margot.  Now they have a place of their own to play to their hearts’ content.  Eloise also talks about owning her own business someday.  With the customized Dutch door, the playhouse is designed so she can turn it into a little shop, where she can practice being her own boss.

Kraig O’Connor, a project manager with R&H Construction, said he and his team are grateful for the opportunity to use their professional skills to bring joy and excitement to a little girl’s life.  “It was a precious moment seeing the unbridled joy,” he says.  Kraig adds that the playhouse would not have been possible without the generous donations of so many of their partners.  “The Portland community has a lot of people who understand the bigger picture of humanity.  If you can help in any way, you should do it.”

As for Eloise, she only has two rules: no food or drink inside the playhouse and you must take off your shoes.

  • Eloise's custom playhouse

  • Putting up the walls

  • Make-A-Wish volunteer paints the outside

  • Putting in the custom Dutch door

  • From foundation to decoration, it took 3 days

  • The ladder to the loft takes shape

  • Working on a scaled-down house can be a challenge

  • Eloise having fun on the firefighter pole

  • The reading nook

  • The arts and crafts area

We were just expecting a playhouse, but you blew us away ”

— Matt, Eloise's dad

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That's my niece...bravest little girl I know. She deserves this beautiful house.

September 20, 2013 - 5:46 PM

Colleen Johnson

I was so happy to read about Eloise and her house. Hooray!

September 23, 2013 - 6:30 AM

Ginny Flynn

I think a playhouse warming gift is in order. But .... what??

October 03, 2013 - 4:24 PM

Dorothy Freudberg

What a wonderful thing to do for such a brave little girl. I applaud you and most of all, Eloise.

October 05, 2013 - 10:48 AM

Matthew W.

So glad to see a smile on Eloise's sweet face! Her and her family certainly deserve all the happiness this playhouse has and will continue to give them!

October 16, 2013 - 2:09 PM

Make-A-Wish® Oregon
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