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Monday, December 19, 2011

Storybook Homes are More Than Make Believe.

Storybook Homes are More Than Make Believe

By Colleen Kane,
December 14, 2011

Storybook homes like this Moroccan estate can also come with fantastic prices.

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.

See full list: Storybook Homes
Full List: America's 20 Best Cities For Trick-Or-Treating

Information on some of the following houses was provided by, 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.

Haines Shoe House
York, PA
Price: $140,934 (estimate)
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2
Square Footage: 1506

The quirky home was built in 1948 as an outlandish advertisement to sell shoes.
Photo: Beck Gusler | Flickr

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.

Spadena Witch House
Beverly Hills, CA
Price: $1,300,000 in 1998, current estimate $2,872,000
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 4
Square Footage: 3,970

The witch house made a cameo appearance in Clueless starring Alicia Silverstone.
Photo: Bobak Ha'Eri | Creative Commons; Insets: Katherine O. |

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.

Moroccan Palace
4 W Rivercrest Dr
Price: $8,900,000
Bedrooms: 8
Bathrooms: 10
Square Footage: 19,668

This palatial abode was built in 2005 and sits on 3.78 acres.

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.

Searles Castle
389 Main St, Great Barrington, MA 01230
Price: $11,000,000
Bedrooms: 14
Bathrooms: 17
Square Footage: 60,000

The sprawling 68-acre estate includes a private pond.

Some think 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.

Disney Court
Los Angeles, CA
Price: N/A
Bedrooms: N/A
Bathrooms: N/A
Square Footage: N/A

Disney's original studio was but a couple doors away in 1931.
Photo: John Robert Marlow

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.

Storybook Homes are More Than Make Believe.
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1 comment:

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