Storybook House Video

We recently completed a video for a storybook house/cabin.  This is a fun little “old world” home we had previously drawn with the mountain architecture style we typically design, blended with a little storybook cottage, Swiss chalet, and hobbit house style.  This quaint, whimsical home could fit in just as easily in the cities of  Seattle or Portland as it would in the New Zealand countryside or the Cascade Mountains.

The video was done with a simple SketchUp program.

Let us know what you think!

John Hendricks, Architect AIA NCARB

Hendricks Architecture specializes in residential design.  We design homes all over the USA and sometimes beyond.  Feel free to contact us if you’re thinking about designing a home.

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Fun Architecture: The Storybook Style in Disneyland

After visiting Hollywoodland and the Hansel and Gretel cottage, the last stop on our spur of the moment Southern California Storybook style tour was a family trip to Disneyland. We actually made the trip to see family and friends, but I owed a Disneyland day to my wife and kids after architect dad dragged them to the other places. Besides, Disneyland has some fun Storybook style architecture of it’s own, and arguably the most whimsical and imaginative. This particular style is sometimes referred to as the Disneyesque style.

I have to admit, it was nice to see the rustic landing dock building on Tom Sawyer’s Island in Frontierland, which reflects a little of the mountain style I design. I can only imagine what it would be like to integrate the mountain style with the Toontown style.

Rustic Architecture in Disneyland - Tom Sawyer's Island

Rustic Architecture in Disneyland – Tom Sawyer’s Island

When I was in grade school I was fascinated with the architecture of Disneyland. I loved that the Pirates of the Caribbean had fun, yet authentic exterior architecture on the interior. Plus the fact that every “themed land” at Disneyland had it’s own architecture, and in these were villages with their own separate architectural styles.

This Bavarian Village in Fantasyland houses Peter Pan's Flight.

This Bavarian Village in Fantasyland houses Peter Pan’s Flight.

When I graduated from Texas Tech in 1990 I had job offers, but I still sent resumes to Frank Gehry, as well as Disney’s Imagineering department. Architecture without limits seemed like the way to go. We were in a mini-recession, and Gehry’s receptionist told me they had a stack of resumes two feet high. Disney sent me a postcard of Mickey Mouse, who kindly told me they weren’t hiring.

Lopsided Architecture in Fantasyland - Pinocchio's Daring Journey

Lopsided Architecture in Fantasyland – Pinocchio’s Daring Journey

I eventually took a path into the mountain architecture style, where there are a few limits. Snow loads, for example, are something you don’t need to worry about in Disneyland.

The architects and engineers in the Imagineering department have done a great job throughout the years. They truly have no limits, designing whimsical approaches to historic architecture, or creating exaggerated storybook images. The former in places like New Orleans Square and Fantasyland, and the latter in Mickey’s Toontown.

Mickey's House in Toontown

Mickey’s House in Toontown

Mickey’s ToonTown is a newer “themed land” in Disneyland, opening in 1993. The colorful, wacky, skewed, completely off plumb architecture in ToonTown captures the imaginations of children and many adults as well. Ironically enough, this area, partly themed after Roger Rabbit’s hometown, was originally considered to be named Hollywoodland, an historic storybook themed neighborhood in Los Angeles.

The Wacky Storybook Style of the Toontown Town Square

The Wacky Storybook Style of the Toontown Town Square

Cartoon Architecture - Goofy's Playhouse in Toontown

Cartoon Architecture – Goofy’s Playhouse in Toontown

John Hendricks, Architect AIA

Hendricks Architecture specializes in custom residential design on the planet Earth. We’re located in Sandpoint, Idaho.

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Previous Post: Storybook Style: Hansel and Gretel Cottage

Storybook Style: Hansel and Gretel Cottage

The Spadena House in Beverly Hills, California is one of the most recognizable homes of Storybook style architecture. Nicknamed “The Witch’s House”, this Hansel and Gretel cottage is the last thing you would expect to see in posh Beverly Hills. As an architect, my main critique would be that it needs more windows for natural light on the interior. But then again, who’s going to argue with a witch and her privacy demands.

In 1926 the home appeared in Dixon’s magazine, and was described as “A New Home With an Aged ‘Old World’ Appearance”. The article noted, “All lines in the designs are irregular, crooked and distorted, even the metal bars in the windows are not made straight. All of which, together with color used in painting the house, gives an old weather-beaten appearance.”

The Storybook Style Spadena House is pure Hansel and Gretel.

The Storybook Style Spadena House is pure Hansel and Gretel.

The house was designed in 1921 by an art director, and was built in Culver City to provide offices and dressing rooms for the Willat movie studio. The building doubled as a movie set and appeared in several silent films in the 1920s. The building soon became widely influential among maverick architects in search of new ideas.

Architect Charles Moore once described the home as the “quintessential Hansel and Gretel House”, and the home is believed to have greatly influenced the architecture of Disneyland, as well as Disney’s Imagineering department.

The Spadena House is often referred to as "The Witch's House"

The Spadena House is often referred to as “The Witch’s House”

The building moved to Beverly Hills in 1934 and has since served as a private residence, beginning with the Spadena Family. The Spadena House is the perfect example of an original Storybook house where it cartoonishly has no lines that are straight or plumb, and it was meant to appear rusticated. The roof has a seawave pattern that appears to leak horrendously and will fall in at any time. The front of the home is surrounded by a moat-like pond and gnarled, twisted trees. I would bet at Halloween that many children (and adults) wouldn’t dare steal a peak into one of the dark windows framed by the saggy wooden window shutters. But then again, how could you not?

John Hendricks, AIA Architect

Hendricks Architecture specializes in residential design, most specifically in the design of mountain style homes and cabins. See Storybook Cabin Plan for an example of one of our Storybook homes, and for more information on the Storybook Style. We’re located in Sandpoint, Idaho.

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Previous Post: Southern California Storybook Style Architecture: Hollywoodland

Southern California Storybook Style Architecture: Hollywoodland

Recently my family and I took a whirlwind car trip to Arizona and Southern California to see family, friends and coincidentally, more Storybook style architecture. Along the way we stopped in Hollywoodland, a unique development of storybook cottage homes in Hollywood. I had briefly mentioned the neighborhood and some of the Storybook style origins on a recent blog post titled Storybook Cabin Plan, and since we were in the area, I added Hollywoodland to our itinerary.

Entrance to Hollywoodland

Entrance to Hollywoodland

As I had mentioned, the Storybook Style surged in popularity after Hollywoodland, a subdivision of cottage homes, was built in 1923. The theatrically designed homes served as residences in Los Angeles for a number of movie stars and received nationwide media attention as America’s first themed residential community. The Hollywood sign actually used to say Hollywoodland and was built to promote the neighborhood, which housed such notables as Bela Lugosi and Humphrey Bogart. The developers bowed out in the 1940’s and now the stars build to suit their own tastes. The neighborhood is now referenced as upper Beachwood Canyon.

Storybook House in Hollywoodland

Storybook House in Hollywoodland

Hollywoodland’s covenants required homes to be designed in one of several European revival styles. Architects and builders made full use of this license, arriving at eclectic combinations that its developers might never have expected. Below is a Hansel and Gretel cottage combining half timbering, stone accent walls, and a seawave patterned roof with rolled eaves and jerkinhead gables.

Hollywoodland Storybook Cottage

Hollywoodland Storybook Cottage

A closeup of this home below shows more accents of the European style. In older times, homes were built of stone. Sometime along the way, the stucco style grew popular, and homeowners covered up the beautiful stone with stucco. This creative affect was applied to either side of the windows below. Additionally, shingle roofs were created in seawave patterns and shaped to represent the European straw bale roofs. Eventually wood shingle roofs were prohibited because of fire danger, so composition style roofs became the norm, though they pale in comparison.

Storybook Cottage Detail

Storybook Cottage Detail

Wolf’s Lair, a rambling mansion built by real estate developer Milton “Bud” Wolf, is a Norman Revival style castle in Hollywoodland dating from the mid 1920s. Shown below is the gatekeeper’s residence, designed by architect John Lautner in the 1950s.

Wolf's Lair

Wolf’s Lair

Today, Hollywoodland has its own homeowner’s association, but is often referred to as upper Beachwood Canyon. Shown below are some of the homes that have replaced many of the Hollywoodland cottages.

The Homes Today in the Upper Beachwood Canyon Neighborhood.

The Homes Today in the Upper Beachwood Canyon Neighborhood.

A word to the wise. If you ever plan to drive through Hollywoodland, make sure you bring a small car, and aren’t squeamish about driving on narrow, winding roads.

For more information on the Storybook style, see Storybook Style Hansel and Gretel Cottage in Beverly Hills, Fun Architecture: The Storybook Style in Disneyland, and Storybook Cabin Plan.

John Hendricks, Architect AIA

Hendricks Architecture specializes in residential design, most specifically in the design of mountain style homes and cabins. We’re located in Sandpoint, Idaho.

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