Posted by: Jennifer | Thursday, August 6, 2009

Perfect for a princess

Even though I have a loudly-professed love of modern architecture and interior design — and even built my very own modern house — I’m actually pretty fascinated with most buildings.

When I go for my walks, I love looking at the different houses on my route and imagine what I would do with them.  Whether it’s changing the color of the shutters and doors on the big brick colonial or landscaping the old white farmhouse or generally rehabbing the modest ranch, I have ideas.

One way I love to relax in the evening after a busy day is to sit on the sofa with some sort of homes magazine — Dwell, Renovation Style, and Natural Home are three faves — and look at all the different homes.  Even if I don’t always agree with some of the design decisions, I think it’s interesting to see what other people are doing and often learn something in the process.

A recent magazine that I picked up was Cottages & Bungalows.  I just love cottages and was so bummed when my favorite, Cottage Living, went under last year.

This is the second time that I’ve gotten  Cottages & Bungalows and also the second time that I have seen a full-page ad for Storybook Homes — “the premier designer of Picturesque Old-World Cottages.”

Now, if that tagline doesn’t give you a sense of what we’re dealing with here, let me help you out:

In case it’s not obvious, that second photo is of a turret.

So yeah, much copying of Merrie Olde England (actually, mostly just the Cotswolds), right down to ye olde limestone bricks.  In fact, I just discovered that there’s an entire Cotswolds-inspired neighborhood being developed in Arkansas using these house plans.  That right there is reason enough to live in Arkansas, as far as I am concerned.

The house plans themselves have provided me with great enjoyment.

If you can’t read the text, the kitchen is now called the Scullery, the pantry is the Larder, the family room is the Gathering Room, and the garage is the Carriage House.  On other plans I have seen, bedrooms are known as Bed Chambers and living rooms are Parlors.  Alas, bathrooms are just Baths.  Boring.  They couldn’t come up with something better, such as Water Closet or Washing Chamber?

Can you imagine living one of these houses?  You wouldn’t be able to shout at your children, “Go to your rooms now!”  You would instead have to say pleasantly, “Get thee to your Bed Chamber, if you please.”

The different house styles themselves have fun names — the Kew, the Codlin, the Chuzzlewit, and (my personal favorite) the Twinkleton.  I can promise you that if I lived in a house called the Twinkleton, I would always call it that.  Instead of saying on this blog, “We here in Jenworld…” it would have to be “We here in the Twinkleton…”  And, instead of saying to my family, “Let’s go home now…” it would have to be “Let’s go to the Twinkleton now…”  And I can promise you that the usual mother/wife’s lament that “This house is a pig sty…” would become “This Twinkleton is ye olde pig sty…”

Now, this is the point where y’all expect me to snark the hell out of all this … but … I can’t.  Because these houses are just so adorable and cute and sweet.  And because even though I’m a 40-year-old woman who wears black all the time and lives in a sleek modern house, there’s still the six-year-old princess inside me that wants to put on an outfit like this:

… and go live in a wee castle of my own.

See? It even has its own  turret, which I think is utterly fabulous.

Pete, I promise that you would not have to dress like this:

… unless you really wanted to.

And I think we know which child would fully embrace her inner princess:

But the fact is that at the end of the day, all houses are just houses, whether they’re the Twinkleton or Jenworld or somewhere else.  They need to be cleaned and maintained, the fridges don’t magically fill themselves, children leave their books and dolls everywhere, and squirrels will still race across the roof at 5:45 a.m.

What do you think about the Storybook Homes?

All house photos and plans from the websites referenced.


  1. “Chuzzlewit” sounds like a place Snoop Dogg would live in.

    Fo Chuzzle!

  2. I lived in a house with a turret, it looked like an old castle. It was all stone and even with additions it still looked like a castle. I will have to post a picture of it someday.

    I might be able to find one somewhere!

  3. I wish I had a turret! The rest of my house looks storybookish. In fact, my whole town does.

  4. Awww…at the last picture. I could handle a Cotswolds inspired home right in Northern Virginia and not Ar-Kansas (which I did the community’s google map is way too close to the world headquarters of Walmart for my liking).

    I think I would like the rustic feel and a European flair to my home (don’t tell Attractive Al). It just screams gardens, fountains, al fresco dining!

    Do you want Pete to dress up like David Beckham? I don’t think I could keep a straight face at Halloween if I saw my husband dressed like Prince Charming.

  5. I for one would love to see Pete dressed like that, with a sword, on a horse.

  6. Those kind of houses are totally up my alley, as you’ll see when you see what I’ve collected in my office — I just hung crystal snowflakes today. But I live in a cookie cutter subdivision that is the sort where if you were to get drunk, you’d run the risk of ending up in the wrong driveway.

  7. I would live in a storybook cottage in an instant. I LOVE THEM.

  8. NOTHING is worth living in ARKANSAS ;-)

  9. As much as I love city living, I could really go for one of these houses - so beautiful. It would make me feel like I’m in Scotland again…

    Excellent choice for the pink princess dress and Elegant looks absolutely adorable!!!

  10. I love the layout names…but I think Cotswold stone would look weird in the US.

  11. I like cute cottages, but I would be more tempted to snark the hell out of these. After all, it’s only a scullery if there’s a scullery maid to work in it. Haven’t these people read Frances Hogson Burnett?

  12. i love those storybook homes. a turret would be nice. actually my dream home is an octagon home based on a house by thomas jefferson.

  13. I agree with Becca, nothing is worth living in Arkansas. Trust me. I did it for a year. It was awful.

    But coincidentally, the Cotswold Village is being built about 5 minutes away from where my old house is located. So I know exactly where it is. And I’m a little annoyed that I just left there swearing to never return and now I want to go back and see these houses in person. Rats.

  14. Since you have been very nice to me when I have a techno problem, I will send you a few back issues I have do English Home-positive drool city in each issue. Loo’s, sculleries, and larders abound.

    I used to get Cottage Living, too, but haven’t seen the new one.

  15. I love the idea of a cottage, and the style would fit beautifully on my lot. I’ve always thought that a turret room would be the perfect writing space.

  16. Those are the most awesome houses ever! I would love to have one of those! So cool. Except for the Arkansas part…I don’t do landlocked. Just the thought makes me claustrophobic.