It was 2002. My husband and I were strolling thru the S.F. Garden Show, then held at Fort Mason, San Francisco. I had recently seen a reference to Barbara’s work in a magazine and suddenly there was a play structure in the middle of the show Marketplace… yes, it was a Barbara Butler Hideaway Fort. We looked, talked with the gang and continued on.
No sooner than 2 months later a large oak tree fell on our little play structure which had been tucked away in the corner of our yard. At the same time, we were moving to a new property in sunny Emerald Hills and decided that we would replace the damaged unit with that same item displayed at the show we had come upon a couple months back.
Jeff came to our house, spent an entire day digging, drilling and installing the Hideaway Fort with the world’s best slide ever… even for adults. My son and daughter loved climbing the wall, going down that slide over and over and crawling thru the secret door, not to mention the endless imaginary pieces of mail passed thru the slot marked “MAIL” next to the door.
Time went on and we had Barbara design an additional swing feature and a chin up bar for swinging, hoisting and whatever. We even braved their meticulous techniques and added on a glider ourselves, true to the B.Butler construction and staining methods. Many games, parties and time passed on this thing… and our yard always had the beauty of a well designed and crafted play fort gracing the garden and grounds.
In 2008, we moved again, brought it along, refinished the surface to its original glory (see image, above) and once again the games and climbing started over, this time adjacent to a soaring stand of redwoods in the hills of Woodside, CA.
Now it is May, 2011 and I am sad, yet thrilled at the same time, to be passing our beloved fort along to a new family in Los Altos, CA. There, 3 young boys will have never-ending fun on one of Barbara’s creations.
We will miss our Hideaway Fort yet smile as we know it will continue to bring fun and wonder to another yard and family.