With some children’s stories, the setting is a major part of the story -- think of the woodland cottages in the “Hansel and Gretel,” “Snow White,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” and “The Three Bears,” or the unexplained footwear habitation of the poor old woman who lived in a shoe.
We gathered 10 such storybook-worthy homes. Some of these properties look like they’re straight out of children’s stories, while others look like they belong in a beautifully illustrated vintage children’s book. We’ve even featured a few from an architecture style known as Storybook.
Information on some of the following houses was provided by Realtor.com, and photos of a few others were supplied by John Robert Marlow, creator of the website Storybookers, which pays tribute to the whimsical, Tudor-meets-Hobbit Storybook architecture style that had a moment in the 1920s, but which lost its popularity by the end of the ‘30s.
By Colleen Kane
Posted 9 December 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Price: $8.9 million
Square Footage: 19,668
This Moroccan-style palace has room for Aladdin, Ali Baba, and approximately 40 thieves, with eight bedrooms in the main building and two two-story guest houses, each with three bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms. In addition to the oversize pool, two cabanas, and general palatial grandeur, the property comes with a petting zoo.
Location: Beverly Hills, California
Price: $1.3 million in 1998, current estimate $2.872 million
Square Footage: 3,970
This famous Storybook-style house has a few names: Spadena House, the Witch House, and it’s also called the Hansel & Gretel House. It was built in 1921 by Hollywood art director Harry Oliver and originally served as office space and dressing rooms for silent filmmaker Willat Studio. The next occupants were the Spadena family, hence the name, but there are no official records of any witches or Hansel and Gretel in residence. By the late 1990s, the home had fallen to ruin and was nearly razed, but it was recently rehabilitated, including restoring a once filled-in moat, with the help of another Hollywood art director, Nelson Coates.
Location: Aiken, South Carolina
Square Footage: 1,460
The third Little Pig was the smart one — not only did his brick house withstand the huffing and puffing of the Big Bad Wolf, but brick homes also withstand time. This home has been standing since 1915, but it has recently been updated. It’s a snug little bungalow, but the next owner will be able to spread out on nearly 5 acres of pasture land.
Location: Los Angeles, California
Square Footage: N/A
If the circa-1931 Disney Court bungalows look familiar, it’s likely because they were “almost certainly” the inspiration for the woodland home in the Walt Disney animated feature “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” Another tale holds that Disney animators lived here, and supporting that, the Los Feliz, Calif., location is proximate to the original Disney Studios. A different Snow White-inspired house — owned by the woman who was the voice of Snow White in the animated film — is on the market.
Location: Hellam, Pennsylvania
Price: $140,934 (estimate)
Square Footage: 1,506
This novelty house in the shape of a shoe recalls nursery-rhyme memories of the old woman who had so many children she didn’t know what to do. The Haines Shoe House on Shoe House Road has been occupied by senior women, but only temporarily as a guest house for couples to spend the weekend. Honeymooners were also invited to stay in the home by the owner, “Shoe Wizard” shoe seller Mahlon Haines. There’s an ice-cream shop located in the instep and a shoe-shaped dog house also sits on the property.
Location: Topanga, California
Square Footage: 910
All cottages, by law, are required to be quaint. All right — that’s not exactly true, but this home does indeed fulfill the quaint quotient, as well as looking like the place where Little Red Riding Hood or Goldilocks might venture into after a frightening walk through the woods. (Hopefully, no bears or wolves are hidden inside.) The circa-1930 home does feature a deck overlooking a tree-filled yard, complete with stream. While 910 square feet is scant living space for some, this house should have no problem attracting a buyer who finds it just right.
Location: Hollywood, California
Square Footage: N/A
A residential court commissioned by silver screen actor Charlie Chaplin, this star-studded example of Storybook-style architecture was once the home of John Barrymore. Other prominent residents included Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., Rudolph Valentino, Judy Garland, and Patrick Dempsey, according to the Storybookers website. The house fell into disrepair, but with a fitting Hollywood ending, Chaplin Court has been restored (at a reported cost of $1 million) to its original humble charm.
Location: Holladay, Utah
Price: $1,499 million
Square Footage: 6,085
This dreamy residence would be a fine fit for the grown-up version of the girl who was obsessed with horse stories. It comes with a horse barn (naturally), and other fanciful details include a gabled bedroom with a ceiling painted like the sky,arch-topped windows (very antique looking for a house built in 1996), and a colorful, stained-glass window above a soaking tub.
Location: Great Barrington, Massachusetts
Price: $11 million
Square Footage: approx. 60,000
A claim was made earlier in the slideshow that cottages must be quaint. Not so when speaking of Berkshire cottages — mansions built by business tycoons of the Gilded Age. This French Chateau-style mansion on 61 acres in the Berkshires region of Western Massachusetts went on the market for $15 million a few years ago. The price has since been reduced. Built as Kellogg Terrace by the railroad tycoon widow Mary Hopkins circa 1887, the mansion later took the name of her second husband, Edward Searles, whom she hired to decorate the home. In recent decades, the estate has served as a school and an events venue.
Location: Wildwood, Missouri
Price: $2.6 million
Square Footage: 11,470
This castle-like, new-construction mansion has a 1,000-bottle tavern and suspended spiral stairways. Building materials include limestone walls, a bronze front door, travertine columns, and ceilings and floors made from such woods as cherry, mahogany, walnut, and maple.