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Build a getaway

Almost all of us can remember a special place we had as kids - a place away from the grownup world, perfect for secret meetings, playing games or hosting tea parties. This Alpine-style playhouse project will make the perfect hideaway for your own kids or grandkids.

The project measures just 4 feet square by 7 feet tall, so it won't take up too much space in the yard. With basic framing and straight cuts of standard plywood for the walls, floor and roof, it's simple and quick to build.

Materials for the playhouse include five sheets of exterior plywood, plus assorted fir, pine and redwood lumber in standard sizes, molding, nails, glue, hinges and a door knob and latch. Once the framing, floor, walls and roof are built, the kids can get involved with painting and adding the finishing touches.

The Alpine Playhouse plan, No. 658, is $9.95 and includes step-by-step instructions with photos, detailed construction diagrams, full-sized traceable patterns, shopping list and cutting schedule and a toll-free help line for project questions. Patterns for the tole-painted designs on the shutters and flower boxes are included.

A collection of plans for playhouses and play structures, No. C104, is $24.95 and includes plans for this project and another playhouse, plus a big play structure with a slide and a covered sandbox. A catalog picturing hundreds of do-it-yourself projects is $2. Please include $4 for postage and handling (except catalog-only orders) and allow about two weeks for delivery.

To order by mail, clip this article and send it with a check or money order to U-Bild Features, c/o St. Petersburg Times, 15241 Stagg St., Van Nuys, CA 91405. To order by credit card, call toll-free 1-800-828-2453. Visit U-Bild on the Web at