The $50,000 playhouse that oil built
Ever wonder what oil executives do with all the money they make from wrecking the planet? Well, take a tour with me through the playhouse that oil exec John Schiller ($7.7 million in compensation in 2010, including a $2.6 million bonus) had built for his 4-year-old. That's an artist's conception above, not the actual blueprint, but all the features — air conditioning, running water, fireplace, 32-inch flat-screen TV — are for real. (The New York Times has pictures, too.)
Built in the same Cape Cod style as the Schillers’ expansive main house, the two-story 170-square-foot playhouse has vaulted ceilings that rise from five to eight feet tall, furnishings scaled down to two-thirds of normal size, hardwood floors and a faux fireplace with a fanciful mosaic mantel.
The little stainless-steel sink in the kitchen has running water, and the matching stainless-steel mini fridge and freezer are stocked with juice boxes and Popsicles. Upstairs is a sitting area with a child-size sofa and chairs for watching DVDs on the 32-inch flat-screen TV. The windows, which all open, have screens to keep out mosquitoes, and there are begonias in the window boxes. And, of course, the playhouse is air-conditioned. This is Texas, after all.
Schiller's former-Playboy-model wife acknowledges that some people might find the house "obnoxious" — people who've been foreclosed on, people who have lost their homes in climate disasters, people who have lost their livelihoods in oil spills, and other buzzkills like that. But she thinks of it as "bling for the yard." And what kind of monster could deny an oil executive his yard bling?
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