Once upon a time … do you hear the first line? Do you remember? Can you imagine the pictured scene with its Storybook House, homey, quaint, snuggled into a fairytale, fiction or dream. This month, the house of storybook, of Hollywood, a house partly Tudor, partly Gothic, partly cottage, and fully fantasy.
You might have read that the Storybook House style grew from Hollywood. This is a make-believe. In truth, the Storybook House is an English Cottage tinctured with a heavy, Black Forest German. You will find the style predating movies in the Mushroom Houses of Michigan and the many variations of Norman Castles designed by accomplished architects of the Beaux Arts.
This author’s favorite Storybook houses are found in Carmel-by-the-Sea, snuggled comfortably between the ocean blue, Mission San Carlos Borromeo, and pretty white cottages of the Spanish Revival. Carmel is fantastical, a beauty Cape Town-like where whales’ tall spouts punctuate golf course flags and bright plaid pants, where the purple sea meets the green.
Another favorite, the mushroom houses of Earl Young who assembled glacier-tumbled boulders into low rolling houses as a child might fashion castles on Charlevoix’s sand rocky beach. Quite unlike the architecturally learned Storybook houses of Carmel, Young’s Mushrooms seem a playful excuse to create an undulating roof.
Yes, of course there is the Hollywood Storybook House of Beachwood Canyon looking alike a Disney film set, and there are the many Thomas Kinkade Storybooks recently realized from Maine to Washington State. Too, each region boasts its Storybook houses: Sam Stoltz houses of old Florida; the Storybook Tudors Detroit to Denver; the Woodland Fantasies of the Pacific Northwest; and the little Hobbit-holes that hide themselves here-and-there (I found one in rural Maryland).
Once upon a time the Disney Storybook house unified the country. Sentimental and strong, good in the way of family, traditional by way of Europe, the Disney storybook style suited the big little princesses. Once upon a time, everyday princes did all in their power to please their princesses, as all we all know. That was long ago. These days, Disney is the place that tradition goes to die, a place where stories become Woke lectures, a place where style goes to be cheapened. We are not likely to see new Storybook houses from Disney anytime soon. To find Storybook houses, consult these pages or search the internet. Chances are a Storybook House designer can be found near you.
All houses are made of hard cash and strong will from the bones of earth by the bruised knuckles of hardy men in abiding love of wife and family. The Storybook House is that, true, and too the Storybook House is a thing of dreams, fancy and imagination.
This month in The Beautiful Home, storybooks, a Christmas story, a storybook artist, and an update of The Beautiful Home television program.
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Featured image: from a poster of Walt Disney’s first full length feature production, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs“, distributed by RKO. The poster states, “The local authorities have passed ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ for universal exhibition in this town”.
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