Storybook living is available in real life – you don’t have to reach for your children’s bookshelves to find examples of it.
“The Three Little Pigs have nothing on these digs,” writes Kelly Taylor in her article for Environmental Graffiti, 10 Amazing Buildings Made of Dirt and Straw. The 10 houses shown are examples of whimsical yet practical creativity. In locations as diverse as British Columbia, Baja Mexico, and South Africa, Taylor says these are “clean, green, natural buildings smoothed from dirt, straw, clay, and loads of ingenuity. No Big Bad Wolf will blow these down.”
“Once upon a time in a land at the edge of the world, where tall pine trees swayed with ocean breezes and a white sand beach smiled broadly at a big blue ocean, there lived…” So begins a story about the famous storybook cottages in California’s Carmel-by-the-Sea. These cottages, one of which is named “The Hansel,” were designed by Hugh Comstock beginning in 1924. Comstock was neither an architect nor a home builder when he launched his storybook building projects.
A feature in the now defunct Cottage Living Magazine still appears online to delight and entice travelers to visit these unique cottages. Readers discover that “despite Comstock's inexperience and lack of formal training (he rarely used a carpenter's level), the house did not collapse and the storybook appeal caught on. Soon the old facades of storefronts came down and the town's small Craftsman and Victorian architecture gave way to the celebration of whimsy and fantasy that defines Carmel to this day.”
Here’s another indication of the universal appeal of storybook living: Bookmark Inc. – Books for the Construction Professional offers a book called 500 Cottages. 500 Cottages, by Doug Keister, features 500 of Keister’s photographs organized by style, including English, storybook, bungalettes, Victorian, and Spanish-influenced casitas. The author/photographer says, “The appeal of a cottage has never been stronger than in the hurried and harried twenty-first century. In an era of McMansions, celebrity palaces, and country castles that may make us gasp in awe and scratch our heads in amazement, there is something wonderfully enticing about a modest little home that simply makes us smile.”