By BETSY DEMARS
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Even the most day-dreamy child could never imagine a playhouse this elaborate.
Bella Home Builders owner David DePaulo, whose company constructed the 1-1/2-story, 8-foot-by-13-foot house that will be auctioned off tonight at the Saratoga Hospital Foundation’s gala, admits the playhouse is “crazy.” But with a reputation as a premier home builder in Saratoga County, when the hospital foundation asked DePaulo to build a playhouse for the auction, he said he felt he couldn’t skimp on anything.
“I had to go above and beyond what was normal,” he said.
What he designed is anything but what most would consider a normal playhouse. Among this stately miniature home’s features are granite countertops, custom cabinets, custom-made solid mahogany doors, reclaimed 200-year-old oak flooring, vaulted ceilings, custom trim, a chandelier, a limestone chimney and real cedar shake shingles. The loft has bamboo flooring, and even the walls have wainscoting and faux finishes.
Because they were building everything on a miniature scale, everything had to be custom built.
“There’s nothing fake on it,” he said. The house is even set up for running water, electricity and cable TV.
DePaulo designed the house himself, but he credits a host of vendors with donating materials to the cause. He said he was especially grateful to Curtis Lumber for donating much of the materials. He and some other of his staff have been working steadily on the project as if it were one of their real houses.
“We’ve been up till 11:30 every night working on it,” he said.
For his part, DePaulo said he is more than happy to donate the playhouse — and all the time and effort that went into it — to the foundation’s benefit.
“Saratoga’s been good to me; I love to give back,” he said.
The mini-house was transported to the grounds of Saratoga Casino and Raceway — the location of the event — on Tuesday via a modified mobile home trailer.
The 30th annual Summer Benefit Auction is planned for 6 to 9 p.m. today at the Polo Meadow at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The theme is Fire and Ice and looks to raise $400,000 for a Community Health Resource Center. The evening includes a silent auction, music, open bar, hors d’oeuvres and buffet food stations.
Tickets are $150 per person; junior tickets (for those 21 to 35 years old) are $100 per person. Attire is informal. For more information, go to www. saratogacarefoundation. org.
The opening bid on Bella Home Builders’ high-end playhouse is $10,000.
The Toga Tattlers will cover the Saratoga Hospital Foundation’s gala for The Saratogian Wednesday. Follow their Tweets @TogaTattlers and fan them on Facebook. Read more from the Toga Tattlers at www.Saratogian.com/blogs/life .