A Storybook Style #ThursdayDoors

I am crazy-go-nuts about Storybook Style architecture. Crazy. Go. Nuts. I was crazy about it before I knew it was a style, because Louisville, Kentucky, where I grew up, is rich with Storybook houses, neighborhoods, and elements.

Then I got a copy of Storybook Style: America’s Whimsical Homes of the Twenties by Arrol Gellner at a half-price book store and the obsession began.

Storybook Style began when the boys came home from Europe after World War One. They were full of memories of the architecture of the countryside and villages, and translated those memories — sometimes faithfully, sometimes whimsically — with an American accent. Some of the architecture they copied was already what’s known as “vernacular”, meaning specific to the customs of a particular place or the preferences of a particular owner/builder.

In this area (we call it Kentuckiana, meaning northern Kentucky and southern Indiana), a lot of fairly ordinary houses have Storybook elements: round-topped doors, often surrounded by a different material than the rest of the wall, doors at angles, and “cat slide” roofs, which are steep and come down lower than necessary, often with a flip at the end.

Here are three such houses in the neighborhood where one of my brothers-in-law and his wife live.

Storybook2A very Storybook house, with half-timbered bits, stone construction, a roof that goes off into all angles, a rounded door, and an arched opening off the porch. A classic!Storybook1Two cat slide roofs! Note the round and rounded windows with the stone accents, and the stone around the door.Storybook3This one just seems to have the Storybook bits stuck on, although it’s more likely that there’s been some ham-handed updating, instead. I particularly like the little arrow-shooting window next to the front door, and the occasional lighter-colored stone mixed in with the dark brick. A very Storybook touch.

My friend Jane took me on a driving tour of a Storybook neighborhood, and I snapped so many pictures, but I can’t find them at the moment.

[revision: I forgot to say this is part of Norm Frampton’s Thursday Door series! Go see Norm’s post and follow the links to the other participants. If you want to join, you have until Saturday to post your link.]

Are there any Storybook houses around you?

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: A character tries to recreate a house they used to know.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “A Storybook Style #ThursdayDoors

    • Author

      Marian Allen

      November 5, 2015 at 7:49am


      Thanks for the comment, Dan; I do love Storybook Style. If I can dig up those other pictures, I’ll do another post on them. 🙂

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      • Dan

        November 5, 2015 at 7:54am

        Thanks for that shout out – and I do mean Shout!

        Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  1. norm2.0

    November 5, 2015 at 8:47am

    Some beautiful choices this week. I like the mix of brick, stone, and siding on that last one. Thanks for sharing them 🙂

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  2. Jane

    November 5, 2015 at 10:47am

    Or, you can snap some more pix next week. 😉

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  3. jan

    November 5, 2015 at 2:41pm

    These houses remind me of the two years I spent in Evanston Illinois – a town filled with storybook houses!

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  4. A.C. Flory

    November 5, 2015 at 6:56pm

    Thank you, thank you! I’ve always loved this style as well, without knowing it had a name. We have an artists colony near where I live that’s open to the public and it has architecture very similar to some of the examples shown. If you’re interested it’s called Montsalvat and it’s like a village of weird and wonderful houses. From the same vintage too, I think.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      November 6, 2015 at 10:11am

      Another item on my imaginary bucket list! Thanks, Meeka — love the pictures!!

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  5. janet

    November 6, 2015 at 8:44pm

    I just learned something new. Thanks for the beautiful lesson.


    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      November 7, 2015 at 8:30am

      Thanks for coming by, Janet! I do love Storybook Style, and I’m always SO glad when other people like it, too. 🙂

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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