What makes a structure custom? With over 20 years of experience, we have found that if one of the following conditions relates to your needs, then you will most likely need a custom design:
- You did not see exactly what you were looking for in our portfolio;
- You have challenging landscape (such as a steep hill or ravine, retaining walls, lots of trees to fit around);
- You have a sturdy tree and want to build a treehouse in it;
- You have unusual space and the desire to have Barbara create something exceptional to perfectly fit your space and your family’s lifestyle.
Whether you live in San Francisco, another section of California, across the United States, or across the world, we are able to custom design a treehouse or play structure specifically for you. The first step is to contact Suzanne Butler, Barbara's sister and business partner. Suzanne can provide you with more information about the custom design process and answer any of your questions.
Call Suzanne at 415.864.6840
The Custom Design Process:
If you are thinking of a custom design or treehouse, Suzanne will set up a conference call, free of charge, for you and Barbara to discuss the project. If it looks like a good fit, the next step would be for Barbara to visit the site and brainstorm ideas with you. Barbara frequently travels across the country on play structure projects and often we can arrange for her to meet with you when next in your area.
At the initial meeting, you and Barbara will review her portfolio to select play features that you may want to include in the design, and then walk around the yard to select potential sites and brainstorm ideas. If it is a treehouse design, Barbara’s first order of business is to climb up in the tree and look for potential great ideas! She will take lots of measurements & photos.
Together, you will discuss budget and whether or not landscape changes will be required. If we can arrange the initial meeting while Barbara is already in your area, then it is free of charge. After the initial meeting, if you decide to proceed further then we will have you sign our Custom DesignAgreement.
The Custom Design Agreement: This agreement specifies that Barbara will create 1 to 2 design concepts with drawings, features & pricing. Her design hours are billed at $95 per hour and design assistant hours are billed at $55 per hour against a retainer of $2,400. A custom design generally is completed within 20 to 30 design hours. We will request permission in writing if extra hours are required. The custom design process can be terminated at any point by written notice. Any unused retainer will be refunded or applied against the Construction Agreement.
Once we have received a signed Custom Design Agreement and the $2,400 retainer, then you are on Barbara’s design roster! Barbara mulls over the photos, measurements & notes from the initial meeting. She then puts pen to paper or in some cases, draws the designs directly on the digital images. At your next meeting, Barbara presents her conceptual design drawings with pricing and gathers feedback. Then back to the drawing board with a clear sense of direction to prepare the final drawings. We present the final drawings with pricing and a timetable for construction & payments. You and Barbara sign a Construction Agreement. We begin the work and you begin to select your color palette.
The custom design process is fun, creative and interactive. You and your family will love being involved from beginning to end in creating an imaginative and green outdoor space everyone will enjoy for years to come.
For more information about the custom design process, please call or email Suzanne Butler at information at barbarabutler.com. We look forward to hearing from you!
Standards: Play Forts, Playhouses, Theaters & For Grown-ups:
What is a standard design? All of our standards started off as a custom design for a fairly flat space. They are selected as a standard because of their universal appeal and because they can be built in the colors of your choice, without having to go through the custom design process. These are proven favorites, more affordable and ready for delivery in a shorter time frame. We have over 40 different standard designs, ranging from small, uncomplicated 1-story playhouses to large, very complicated 2-story multi-tower play structures. To see if any of these standard designs are right for you, explore one of the standard designs categories in the blue navigation menu: Play Forts, Playhouses, Theaters & For Grown-ups.
Play Forts contains our standard climbing structures: Hideaway Forts (small), Robin Hood Forts (medium), King Forts (large), and Big Forts (large, intricate or unusual designs). Be sure to look through all four categories!
What is the process for purchasing a Standard Playhouse or Play Fort? The first step is to contact us and let us know which playhouse or play fort you are interested in:
Call us at 415.864.6840
or email information at barbarabutler.com
We will talk about the different options and answer any questions that you might have. We can provide you with site plans showing the overhead view of the play structure with dimensions and use zone. This will allow you to verify that the play structure plus the use zone will fit in your space. We can also provide you with quotes for delivery & installation. We offer 3 different installation options:
- Written & pictorial assembly instructions for your contractor to install;
- For some structures, our delivery driver/ installer can assemble the structure, or assist you in assemblying;
- For very large and/or complicated structures, our crew arrives and completely assembles the structure. Since our crew has already pre-assembled your structure at least once in our shop, they are experts at doing it quickly & efficiently, often finishing in 2-4 days.
We can also provide you with any additional information you may need, such as: time line to build, play accessories and add-ons available for that model, etc. Once all information is decided, we will send you the Construction Agreement for review and signature. Our standard payment schedule is 50% upon signing the Construction Agreement to start building, 40% midway to start staining and 10% upon delivery.
Your playhouse or play fort will be made to order in our South San Francisco workshop in the color palette of your choice. We offer flexibility of configuration and the option of design modifications for small additional charge.
Our Play Accessories are designed by Barbara as the perfect addition to a play structure. A great many of our Play Accessories can be purchased on our Online Store – just click the “Add to Cart” button.
If the “Add to Cart” button is not displayed, that means this item must be ordered by calling us at 415.864.6840. We may need to quote shipping charges and/or freight times or we may need to ask you for a color choice. Please call us for quick and efficient customer service. We accept credit card payments over the phone for shipments within the United States.
Online Store: Accessories, Stain Colors & Supplies, BIY Parts, Plans & Kits
Everything displayed in our Online Store is available for purchase by clicking the “Add to Cart” button. Our Online Store features the easy to use Google Checkout. To order something in a color that is not shown, please call us at 415.864.6840 to see availability and additional cost.
Please note: Stains are shipped via UPS Ground service only. By law, we cannot provide expedited services for the transportation of our stains.
Public Use Play Structures:
We offer both Standard and Custom Designed Public Use Play Structures. These structures meet ASTM F 1487-07 Standard for Playground Equipment for Public Use for either the 2 to 5 year old age range or the 5 to 12 year old age range.
To order a Public Use Play Structure, or to receive more information, please contact us and let us know what you are interested in:
Call us at 415.864.6840
or email information at barbarabutler.com
Returns / Cancellations / Shipping: Online Store Policies
Plans, custom-designed items, and custom-colored items (as noted in the product description) cannot be returned or exchanged. All sales are final for these items.
Non-custom items may be returned for refund or exchange if you are not completely satisfied. Returned items must be unused, in their original condition and their original packaging. Call us within 10 business days of receipt of the item for a Return Authorization Number (RAN), valid for 10 business days. Upon receipt of your approved return, we will either issue a refund for the purchase price of your item(s) to the credit card used for your purchase, or ship the item you selected in exchange. We cannot refund shipping charges; all shipping charges are the customer's responsibility.
Please note: Merchandise will be shipped back to you at your expense if you return an item after the 10 business day window, or without a RAN, and/or if we determine an item has been used.
All purchases of discounted and/or sale items are final.
Cancellation of your order cannot be guaranteed after it has been placed. To cancel your order, call us within 3 business days of placing your order at 415-864-6840. We will attempt to cancel your order. If your order has shipped, please see Returns policy (above) for further instructions.
By law, the following products are shipped by ground service only (we use UPS): Stains, Tung-oil, and Wood Conditioner.
Items shipped by UPS Ground should arrive within 5 to 8 business days after the “Allow to process order” time as noted on the product description page.
To place an order (other than Stains, Tung-oil and Wood Conditioner) with expedited shipping options, please call us at 455-864-6840.
Freight items require special consideration in shipping and delivery. These items are either over-sized and/or overweight and must be shipped via Freight Delivery. Freight items are noted as such in the product description and in the product description at Google Checkout. Shipping is included in the price of the Freight Item and the shipping value is noted in the product description. You can call us at 415-864-6840 for estimated shipping time.
If your item arrives damaged, please retain all packaging materials and contact us at 415-864-6840 within one week of delivery to arrange for a replacement. See Returns & Cancellations policy.
If you have any questions, please call 415-864-6840 between 9 am and 5 pm PST Monday through Friday or email information at barbarabutler.com.
To ask a question, to request more information, to order a play structure, a treehouse, play accessories or tung-oil stains:
Email: information at barbarabutler.com
Phone: (415) 864-6840
Fax: (650) 877-7223
Or write to: 325 South Maple Avenue #37, South San Francisco, CA 94080