Daily Herald Sept. 2011 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fancy Builder   
Wednesday, 28 September 2011 06:52

Besides being featured on NBC and KSL we were also mentioned in the Daily Herald.  Here's the article:

What do a baseball autographed by Pete Rose, a Lollipop standing scale and a Bavarian playhouse have in common? They were all featured on NBC's season finale of "It's Worth What?"

And for the Dengin family of Spring Lake, the season finale featured their creativity and hard work as their Bavarian playhouse was shown and contestants had to put the baseball, scale and playhouse in order of most expensive to least.

Did the contestants choose correctly?

 They picked the autographed baseball, which was valued at $200 with the antique scale at $2,600 and the Dengins' playhouse at $7,000.

Sergei Dengin, a former folk dancer, emigrated from Russia 19 years ago and began building custom homes for a living.

He also built playhouses, sheds and chicken coops on the side, but when the housing market took a turn for the worse, he and his wife Jennifer put their creativity and talent together and founded "Fancy Built -- Playful Outbuildings" in 2008.

The Dengins' playhouses are unique with their swooped roofs, crooked doors, hand-carved designs, sliding peepholes and secret rooms in the loft.

In April, NBC producers contacted the Dengins to see if they would be willing to deliver a Bavarian Cottage playhouse to Studio City, Calif. to be filmed for a game show hosted by Cedric the Entertainer.

The Dengins agreed and their playhouse was featured on Tuesday at the show's season finale.

"It was a great sense of pride to see the playhouse featured," Sergei said. "To know we had created something that was unique and one of a kind and that other people liked was a good feeling."

"It was so fun to see our Bavarian Cottage playhouse grouped with other priceless items," Jennifer said.


The designing, building and completion of the playhouses has been a family affair with help from the couple's five children, a daughter who is 12 and four sons, 10, 8 and twins who are 2-½.

"Our daughter loves to sketch ideas and the kids like to help paint as well," Jennifer said. "They all get involved when it is time to try the playhouses out."

Many of the ideas for the playhouses come from Jennifer's creativity and the sketches she draws.

"Jennifer came up with the idea for the Bavarian playhouse by just drawing and erasing and drawing some more," Sergei said. "The enjoyable part is seeing the sketches she makes become a reality."

The two have designed and created a variety of playhouses with old-world craftsman skills, chicken coops, old-fashioned barns and even fairy-tale castles.

"I think Sergei gets a lot of his ideas and skills from the influences of his childhood in Russia," Jennifer said. "He lived in a large city but would often visit the village his family was from and see the unique cottages there. I think the Russian fairy tales he was read as a child also influence his creativity as well."

The Dengins also have created many of their custom ideas based on what their customers want.

"We always involve the customers in the process," Jennifer said. "For example with Isabelle's Chalet we took photos of the customer's home, which was a unique Tudor-style home, and then we matched paint and even used some of the bricks from the residential home."

For Sergei, the challenge of building playhouses is creating something that hasn't been done before, taking it from a sketch to a 3D project. He also enjoys the challenge that the playhouses have provided over residential building.

"Building the playhouses is a lot like working with Legos," he said. "I have to be able to put everything together, make it strong and durable enough to be moved and then be able to put it back together once it is transported."

Sergei also has been able to use his talents in other ways as well, working on movie sets for Disney and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"Sergei was able to help build sets for the Disney movie 'John Carter,' which will come out in March," Jennifer said. "He spent four or five months in Lake Powell where he helped build an ancient alien city complete with an arena. It was amazing to see."

Sergei just finished up helping build sets in Goshen for the church.

"Building the sets has taught me a lot of new things," he said. "Sets give you a way to be more creative because you aren't just working with plywood and lumber. You are able to take these things and combine them with foam, plaster, sand and other items and put them all together to make something. It has been a different approach to construction for me."

The Dengins are excited for the next step in their outbuilding business. They will be opening a production facility along Highway 198 in Salem, where customers can see the playhouses and try them out.

For more information and to enter the monthly drawings for a free take home and assemble playhouse, visit the website at www.fancybuilt.com or stop by their production facility at 1010 N. Highway 198 in Salem to see the outbuildings.

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