My girls have always loved to play house — and restaurant, and doctor's office, and auto repair shop, and ... well, you get the idea. Fortunately, my husband is a handy guy, so he built a play structure in our backyard that they can use to set the stage for each of these games.

Not that handy? The current slew of ready-made playhouses for kids may not exactly blend with your eco-savvy style. Most are garishly designed, molded out of plastic, and contain more battery-operated electronics and gadgets than your average home.

At least that's what San Francisco mom Gitane Royce found when she set her mind to buy a playhouse for her daughter. With an educational background in environmental science and research, Royce decided to create something better — something sturdy and eco-friendly that would also leave room for a child's imagination. The result is her new company, Modern Playhouse, which offers sustainable, modular and modern play structures for toddlers and school-age children.

Royce joined efforts with fellow mom and business partner Nisreen Witt, who has a background as a creative designer, to create play spaces for kids that would be environmentally friendly and kid-approved.

They developed two playhouse styles made from wood products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and treated with nontoxic, naturally pigmented finishes, and lead-free fasteners and hardware. Prices range from $1,250-$1,450 — certainly not cheap — but you do get a green and clean piece of play equipment that will grow with your kids from their toddler years through early elementary.

The company also offers a furniture set ($225) and hopes to launch a line of exterior playhouses by early next spring. Check out their complete line of playhouses, furniture and textiles at Modern Playhouse.

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