Once Upon A Time:
Living in a Storybook
The whimsical Storybook style of architecture made its appearance in the 1920's and became
very popular in America, especially in California, but in other areas, as well.  The famous
fairytale cottages designed and built by Hugh Comstock in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, are
excellent examples.  What is generally known as the Storybook style has come to cover several
types of architecture.  Some are known by other names, but the styles frequently overlap and
are often grouped under the Storybook designation; other names are the Hansel & Gretel style,
Cotswold style, Tudor Revival style, Ann Hathaway style.  Of all of these, most of which have
been around for centuries, the true 1920's Storybook style is the most whimsical and the one
most deliberately intended to make the residents feel as if they're living in a storybook cottage.
 Although the styles are different, the thing they have in common - and the reason people
sometimes refer to them all as "Storybook style" - is the fairytale image each conveys.  Whether
it's a small, thatched-roof cottage, a larger Tudor style or, even, a faux castle design, they each
take us back to the fairytales of our childhood, conjuring up images of Snow White & the Seven
Dwarfs' cottage or Rapunzel letting her hair down from the tower window or Hansel and Gretel
discovering the witch's cottage in the forest.
 My sentimental favorite is the Tudor style house on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans, with its
matching playhouse in the yard.  When I was a child, I dreamed of having a playhouse just like
that one.  I soon learned which side of the St. Charles streetcar to guide my mother to for the
ride down the Avenue and then I'd anxiously wait to get a glimpse of it -- and hope the streetcar
stopped for a passenger at that corner, so I could have a longer look -- Imagining all the while
that the neat little playhouse was my own.
 Childhood memories hold a certain magic, no matter how old we are, which is why most of us
can't resist pausing to take a look at a Storybook style house.  And which is why, when I travel
down St. Chales Avenue today, I still look forward to seeing that sweet little playhouse.
 You'll find a few different architectural styles on this page.  I hope one of them will conjure up a
fond childhood memory of fairytales and storybooks.   Nancy
I was able to find the locations of some of these homes.  The
one above is in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada  
Picture above & the one below, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
Beverly Hills, California
The Cottage of Lost Play

The air was neither night nor day,
But faintly dark with softest light,
When first there glimmered into sight
The Cottage of Lost Play
And those old shores and gardens fair,
Where all things are that ever were,
We know not, you and me,
We know not, you and me.

-- J. R. R. Tolkein
Olalla, Washington
Chicago, Illinois
When at home alone I sit and am very tired of it,
I have just to shut my eyes to go sailing through the skies,
To go sailing far away to the pleasant Land of Play;
To the fairy land afar, where the Little People are;
Where the clover-tops are trees and the puddles are the seas,
And the leaves, like little ships, sail about on tiny trips.

-- Robert Louis Stevenson
Picture above & the one below, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
Penticton, British Columbia, Canada
The house on St. Charles with the matching playhouse I so coveted as a
child.  Gabe Hausmann, of Hausmann's Jewelers, had this home
constructed in 1915 and added the little replica as a playhouse for his
daughter.  Mr. Hausmann lived here until his death in 1946.  His daughter
grew up - as children will insist on doing - and outgrew her playhouse days.  
I'm told that she went on to work in her father's jewelry store.
In the sentiments of Robert Louis Stevenson
"For, long ago, the truth to say,
She has grown up and gone away;
And it is but a child of air
Who lingers in the garden there."

Charlie Chaplin's Hansel & Gretel Cottage
Antique Home Style
Childhood Pleasures
Thatched Roof Cottages of Scotland & Ireland
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Photos on this page are courtesy of:  StorybookCottagesOfCarmel,
AMKuchling, Lori, RamblingsFromAnEnglishGarden, bulliver,
AwesomeTopTenLists, amazonaws, deviantart
The Past Whispers - Home
Old New Orleans
Friday's Journal
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