Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the cutest cottage of all? Pretty sure it’s this charming storybook-style home in L.A.’s Hollywood Hills that’s just come for sale at almost $1.4 million.
The Storybook style emerged during the 1920s in Los Angeles; it’s a nod to Hollywood set design, only in actual dwelling places. Some of the best known examples are the Spadena House, in Beverly Hills, and the Tam O’Shanter Inn, in Atwater Village. Their architect, Harry Oliver, worked on more than 30 Hollywood films as an art director or set decorator.
While not for everyone, and certainly not for minimalists who prefer straight lines and spare ornamentation, the playful, romantic style emphasizes Los Angeles’ reputation as a city of dreams and whimsy. Doors and windows typically look mismatched and oddly shaped, but the most recognizable feature of the style is the roof line: usually steeply pitched and uneven, often with turrets. Imagine a house in one of Grimm’s fairy tales, it may well be Storybook in style.
Some of the city’s Storybook homes are rumored to have been inspiration for Disney animated films. A row of eight small homes in Los Feliz, built in 1931 by Ben Sherwood, are now called the Snow White cottages, as they’re widely rumored to have inspired the Seven Dwarfs’ homes in the 1937 animated classic, while this Hollywood Hills home, built in 1930 and reminiscent of Roland E. Hill’s Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland, is so sweet and charming it very well could have inspired Snow White’s own house. Indeed, listings held by Lisa Wade, a Beverly Hills agent at Power Brokers International, suggest the cabinets in the kitchen are reminiscent of Snow White’s house.
Whether a home for a Disney princess, a fairy, an elf, or even a Hobbit, a Storybook house is by definition petite, and this one fits the bill. With just 1,200 square feet in all, there are but two bedrooms, one full bath and one half-bath. Adorable original features include spiral stone stairs, hand-hewn timber beams, hand-carved wooden balconies with canyon views, and lots of stained-glass, and leaded windows.
The house doesn’t skimp on 21st century creature comforts, though: upgrades include smart home heating and cooling in the bedrooms, as well as modern kitchen appliances and updated bathrooms. And the hillside property’s outside spaces are as delightful as the interior. They include a fenced yard with a pond, a waterfall and wooden bridge, rustic fieldstone walls, and a stone patio fully electrified for another modern luxury: a hot tub.
Just keep an eye out for poisoned apples!