Finleyville play home company to be featured in documentary
When his daughter Alyssa was just 2, she asked her father, Stephen Chernicky, for a playhouse.
“When we first looked for a playhouse for my daughter, we could not find anything but log houses or Lego houses,” Chernicky said.
“We built her a Victorian mansion with stain glass window and Mansard roof.
“I built one for her and one for her nephews and people liked them so I kept going.”
After the family moved about five years later, Chernicky built his daughter a bigger Victorian playhouse.
“That one is still in our backyard and has many memories, many campouts and cookouts,” Chernicky said. “It is filled with teen beanbag chairs and 'N Sync posters.”
Chernicky founded Lilliput Play Homes in 1989, building homes on a part-time basis. But by 1995, it was a full-time business venture.
The company is based out of Finleyville, where the “high end children's playhouses” are made. There is a store in McMurray.
The playhouses vary in size, from basic houses 6-feet deep and 9- to 10-feet high to custom-made houses that can be the size of a small house – 20 to 30 feet wide by 10 to 15 feet deep.
Lilliput Play Houses are known for their style, more historic and ornate, the company president said.
While they keep it “basic and simple,” some playhouses have air conditioning added, especially because they are shipped all over the world.
Some houses have lighting, door bells and skylights as well as hardwood flooring.
“Our forte seems to be theme oriented; we build for the back yard,” Chernicky said. “We also do replicas, creating playhouses which are more like a character of a full-size house.”
The company also creates commercial playhouses, designed like a village for hotels, family entertainment centers, daycares or small amusement parks, for example. Those villages incorporate such features as a firehouse and grocery store so kids can role play, Chernicky said.
Chernicky said the company's clientele include celebrities and sports figures, such as Ben Affleck, Kate Beckinsale, Kobe Bryant, and Chris O'Donnell, usually ordering one of the company's higher end standard Victorian playhouses.
“Over the years, we've have had generational customers where the children that played in our playhouses are taking their children to grandma's house to play in our houses,” Chernicky said. “It's so heartwarming.”
The playhouses provide what electronic toys lack – a chance for children to use their imaginations, he said.
“The development of social skills and creative skills are important,” Chernicky said. “You don't see as much of that today.”
A 1997 feature on The Oprah Winfrey Show helped kickstart the company's national profile.
Now the company will be featured on a new web-based documentary series, “Good Home.”
According to Multiview's website, “Good Company is a web documentary about “the entrepreneurial spirit of American entrepreneurship. The series will explore some of the country's unique entrepreneurs.”
According to Multiview spokeswoman Callie Cady, featured companies range from brewmasters to bird diaper fabricators. A filming crew was in Finleyville for two days earlier this month.
The 10 shows will begin airing online beginning in early January 2014.
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.