As Jon and Kate Gosselin prepare to move into separate homes, their eight children spent most of last night's episode of "John and Kate Plus 8" playing in four new playhouses of their own, ironically dubbed Crooked Houses.
At a price tag of $7,000 apiece, the children's new houses were perhaps emblematic of the excesses the family has reaped as a result of itsTLC show, which chronicles the parents' trials raising a brood that includes sextuplets and twins.
The delivery of the playhouses, made by a Maine-based company called Kids Crooked Houses, was shown on Monday night's episode, during which the couple also announced that after 10 years of marriage and five seasons of the show, they are separating. They have filed paperwork to dissolve the marriage.
Owned by Glen Halliday, 38, and Jeff Leighton, 34, Kids Crooked Houses has been "inundated" with phone calls and catalog requests since the episode aired Monday evening.
"Within 60 seconds of Kate saying the phrase 'crooked houses' on TV last night there were 170,000 visitors to our Web site," said Halliday.
Halliday said his Web developers are still scrambling to process the influx of requests the company has received since last night, but said that so far they are estimating that half a million people logged on to the site Monday and nearly 7,000 people have requested catalogs as of 10 a.m. today.
"The phones are ringing off the hooks," said Halliday, who estimated that the company has built 500 houses since it was founded in 2005.
On Tuesday afternoon, TLC released a statement announcing that the show would be on hiatus until August.
"TLC continues to support the Gosselin family and will work closely with them to determine the best way to continue to tell their story as they navigate through this difficult time," said TLC spokeswoman Laurie Goldberg in a statement.
"Following a retrospective of Jon and Kate's first 10 years airing on June 29, the show will be on hiatus until Aug. 3," said the statement. "During this time the family will take some time off to regroup and then a modified schedule will be in place to support the family's transition."
The homes get their name from the fact that none of the walls are straight, said Halliday, who first got the idea for the design from watching cartoons with his kids that showed houses in which "not one angle on the house was square."
While the door is child-size, the ceilings within the homes are 7½ feet tall and allow adults to fit in the "whimsical" structures comfortably as well, said Halliday.
The price of the playhouses depend on the model and range, from $1,249 for an original model that is delivered unassembled and unpainted to $5,000 as the starting price of a customized home, whose designs Halliday said "can get pretty crazy."
Halliday estimates that the homes delivered to the Gosselin family, which were designed to look like a pirate ship, a haunted house, a veterinary clinic and a garden house, were "at least $7,000 apiece."
Asked whether Kids Crooked Houses donated the homes to the TV family, Halliday said, "We've been well compensated for our efforts."
Halliday said that the Gosselins' houses had been in the works since October 2008, when the company -- an employee of which is friends with one of the Gosselins' publicists -- sent customization materials to the family's Pennsylvania home.