Witches, dragons not included
June 20, 2014 8:24 PM   Subscribe

Imbued with asymmetrical charm and handcrafted whimsy, Storybook Style houses evoke the aesthetic of classic fairy tales, inside and out.

The distinctive style was born out of the heady Hollywood of the 1920s. Stars and studios demanded unique accommodations, and with an army of artists, designers, and dream-makers at hand, anything was possible. Storybook was a way to literally live in a fantasy - a notion that surmised Hollywood in a nutshell, though the style found enthusiasts far beyond the streets of Hollywoodland.

People still live in them, and in constant-turnover Los Angeles, preservation and restoration of historic properties can't be taken for granted.
posted by Lou Stuells (13 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
I had no idea storybook architecture was so popular in the 1920s California. Makes sense really. Can you imagine how much it would cost to make your house look so rustic?
posted by joelf at 9:27 PM on June 20, 2014

Are we still trying to achieve a look so rooted in misguided nostalgia? "The Village at Hiddenbrooke"
posted by joelf at 9:33 PM on June 20, 2014

I've been fascinated by this style since the first time I saw the Spadena House.

Storybook style wasn't limited to Los Angeles. There are a lot of surviving examples in the Bay area, like the wonderful Normandy Village in Berkeley.

Normandy Village has been turned into condos. One of the units came up for sale back in the mid-2000s, and I was seriously tempted to chuck my job in Washington and relocate.
posted by bcarter3 at 9:59 PM on June 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

I used to live in a storybook house, just a bit south of the Hollywood sign. Really cute outside, but a bit cramped inside. My landlord was Dean of Jan and Dean.
posted by Ideefixe at 10:04 PM on June 20, 2014 [3 favorites]

The first thing I thought of was Thomas Kinkaide, too. Whose paintings I think can be admired- as long as you understand what you're dealing with, like that Storybookers website doesn't quite do:

...structures which defy and transcend standard architectural conventions to achieve something entirely new...

There's a whopper. It's really more the opposite of creative, more like primordial, lizard-brain conservatism. Which is comforting and homey, but... understand what it is.
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 12:09 AM on June 21, 2014

If you like these, you will enjoy the Mushroom Houses of Charlevoix, Michigan.
posted by HuronBob at 2:33 AM on June 21, 2014 [7 favorites]

"It's a very nice house, but I'm not sure about these giant chicken legs..."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:55 AM on June 21, 2014 [6 favorites]

Nostalgia isn't necessarily misguided. These storybook houses have an organic, rambling quality to them that's very homey and appealing. I would love to see more new houses adopt elements of this style.
posted by Kilter at 5:12 AM on June 21, 2014 [9 favorites]

As long as there are fairy tales, there will be fairy tales houses. Perhaps it's only nostalgia when yearning for the days when the inner child's imagination had free reign. In that case, I suspect people who live in these houses aren't nostalgic at all.
posted by Revvy at 9:02 AM on June 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

I love this style, and I don't think it's my lizard brain reacting. Spadena House is very creative, as are a bunch of other ones. Exaggerated style. Almost german expressionist.

By the way, does anybody here have a spare $1.45 million? I really need to buy the Petersen Studio Court. Really really.
posted by queensissy at 12:33 PM on June 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you like these, you will enjoy the Mushroom Houses of Charlevoix, Michigan.

Not to be confused with the Mushroom House near Rochester NY -- which also looks like a very good home for fairies.
posted by vitabellosi at 7:06 PM on June 21, 2014

I grew up in Pebble Beach, right abutting Carmel. These things (and similar) are all over that area. "Quaint" I guess, but man, can't get into it. Architectural version of Thomas Kinkade or sth.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:43 PM on June 21, 2014

We're I building a new house, I would love to build in this style. With a tower. And a moat.
posted by dejah420 at 7:56 AM on June 22, 2014

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