When Tyson Leavitt entered his city's Home and Garden Show, he never dreamed it would turn him into a reality television star. "He wanted to make a huge statement," his wife, Audrey, recalled. "It got so much love and attention that the idea for a business was planted."
A year later, Tyson left his landscaping job and teamed up with his wife to bring that business to life, much to the joy of their youngest customers.
You see, Tyson and Audrey build playhouses. And not just your typical nailed-to-a-tree backyard boards. Real playhouses. Fantastical playhouses. Charmed Playhouses, as their business name suggests. These playhouses are so elegant, so awesome, that . . . well, see for yourself:
They're each partial to certain projects--Audrey loves the fairytale cottages ("They're exactly what I would have loved to play in as a child!") and Tyson gets nostalgic about the pirate ship playhouses. The process all starts with world-renowned architect Wayne Visbeen, who draws the designs for the playhouse on paper. Then Tyson, with help from family and crew members, is in charge of actually building the structures. Audrey is in charge of decorating the interiors. "It's fun to find tiny treasures to fit our theme, that the kids will love," she said.
Speaking of kids, the Leavitts have three under the age of eight, all of whom, according to Audrey, "inherited some of their dad's vision." Emmett (7), Miles (5), and Lydia (4) all enjoy visiting their dad at the shop, brainstorming new ideas, and of course, testing the playhouses. When they're not busy building, the Leavitts enjoy riding bikes, playing basketball, and reading together.
Of course, it wasn't always a dream scenario. Tyson and Audrey were frightened by the venture and idea of leaving a steady job to enter unknown territory. "We spent many nights sleeplessly wondering if starting a luxury playhouse company . . . could end up being a huge failure for us," Audrey said. "[But] Tyson and I truly feel that we wouldn't have had the courage or ability to run this business without the help we've felt from God. We believe He has blessed us with this opportunity and it is our duty to make the most of it."
And that's exactly what they've done. Despite their small market, the Leavitts have managed to get the word out to a broad demographic. Their playhouses are so intricate and beautiful that news of their work spread organically, by word-of-mouth and social media. With skill, faith, and a little bit of luck, the chances they took landed them a reality show on TLC!
The Leavitts can't say much about the show, but it will air later this year--and they're very excited. "Every time a piece of the puzzle falls into place, we smile, knowing that we have divine help," Audrey said. "We have both come to understand a little more how much God cares about our lives . . . our prayers have been answered and we can't wait to see what is next!"