Sunday, November 16, 2008

Storybook Architecture

(Photo: This was the last cottage Hugh Comstock built. It was completed in 1929, just months before the stock market crash. Courtesy of Linda Yvonne.)

"Storybook Architecture" is the name given by scholars to a delightful genre of buildings erected in the 1920s and 1930s in the U.S. and England. (The style is also called "Hansel and Gretel," "Doll's House," "Fairy Tale" and "Provincial Revivalism.") Carmel is graced by many of these structures, created by Hugh Comstock. According to some sources, Comstock was inspired by illustrator Arthur Rackham. Maybe. According to John Robert Marlow, founder of, several spectacular storybook structures had been completed, or were underway, in Los Angeles by the time Comstock began work here in 1924. "Whether Comstock created his distinctive storybook 'look' independently, or was influenced by others, is unknown," says Marlow, "but without question, he was a master of the form."

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