Against a backdrop of skyscraping cranes, a towering framework of I-beams, and the pounding of pneumatic tools, a lone forklift recently chugged into the courtyard behind C. S. Mott’s Children’s Hospital and, in a matter of minutes, quietly eased an entire house—a ninety-square-foot playhouse—onto its concrete slab. Maddie’s Storybook Cottage is named after Maddie Shaw, who died in May at age four after a sixteen-month stay in Mott’s cardiac intensive care unit, waiting for a heart transplant that never came.
Several local suppliers, designers, and builders donated high-end materials for the playhouse, and Christian Tennant Custom Homes coordinated construction off site, at Mans Lumber & Millwork in Hamburg. An elegant structure with a steep cedar-shake roof, hardwood floors, handcrafted furniture, and a faux fireplace faced with Motawi tile, the playhouse sits near an existing small play area in the courtyard. Like the rest of the play area, it will be open to all Mott patients, first come, first served.