Gingerbread Houses Created by Austin Designers Make Dreams Come True for Kids
Friends of the Children teamed up with local design teams and a baker for a sweet tradition and a good cause
Story and photographs by Holly Cowart
Sugar, spice and everything nice!
Friends of the Children Austin hosted a deliciously festive fundraiser on Wednesday, featuring a silent auction of gingerbread houses. But these weren’t your typical store-bought brown boxes with a hodgepodge of icing, candy canes and gumdrops. These were straight out of a fairytale.
See all the beautiful gingerbread houses in our photo gallery below.
Prompted by the nonprofit to use nothing more than imagination, ten of Austin’s most in-demand designers and teams created detailed blueprints of the miniature, sugar-filled abodes. Next, local baker and owner of Feathers & Frosting, Danaë Smale, was tasked with bringing each of their visions to life, carefully crafting each home to spec. Known for her intricately designed cakes and treats, Smale was the perfect choice to build the edible structures. The results were an eclectic mix of styles – from Kristen Nix’s Florida-inspired beach house to Sarah Wittenbraker’s New York Brownstones. As for the difficulty of designing a home made of sweets? “Sizing was kind of tricky, because none of us work on that scale,” explained Andrea Giles of Andrea Leigh Interiors regarding her inventive dollhouse.
Others drew on inspiration from their everyday lives, like Mark Ashby’s mid-century modern beauty. “It seemed like something different that people might not expect,” the founder of the award-winning interiors firm said. “I live in a mid-century house and it was fun to just imagine it in a gingerbread form.”
Hosted at the gorgeous (and beautifully designed) home of Lauren and Tom Moorman, designers, friends and philanthropists gathered to see Smale’s tireless efforts first-hand before bidding on favorites. Once the bidding closed, lucky winners got to take home the gingerbread creations, which were treated to last, to enjoy for seasons to come.
The night collected $104,000 for the organization, helping to further its mission of providing access to vital resources for our city’s most vulnerable children, including long-term mentors that develop life skills through personalized activities. Says Friends of the Children’s Director of Development and Marketing Caroline Page, “The funds raised from Gingerbread Dreamhouses will provide crucial support needed for us to identify and enroll a new group of kindergartners in 2020, bringing the total number of children served by our organization to 112 in our third year in Austin.”
Click through the slideshow below to see the stunning structures.