Kitsilano Houses: Storybook Style

Storybook / Hobbit Houses: 1930’s to 1940’s

In the post war (WWI) period of the 1930’s and 1940’s, there was an increase in “Cottage” style houses that reflected the Arts and Crafts movement, with reflections of Tudor style of homes and the Early Craftsman Style that Kitsilano has many of. Original owners of Storybook houses wanted to display their unique taste in the form of their architecture style, after years of people choosing their houses style from Sears catalogues in the early 1900’s. The economy had improved after the war which allowed people to afford better, more interesting houses. Styles were evolving, in part thanks to the Hollywood movies that started to become popular, which influenced style choices – often exotic – from architecture to fashion.

These houses have been updated over time and some of their original characteristics may have been changed over the years.

Kitsilano hobbit houses in Vancouver

Storybook House Details

Characterized by steeply-pitched gables and gothic-arched windows in the front, the Storybook house style was inspired by history and whimsy. These houses are almost always asymmetrical with VERY noticeable characteristics, including: interesting roof lines including rounded eaves, turreted entries, steep farmhouse style roofs or tudor style homes. The roofs often came very close to the ground, covering almost the entire house, and were often in a dark colour. The roofs were often overlapping cedar shingles.

The front entry always has interesting elements, whether it be arched with brick or stone, with an inset door, often made of heavy wood, with a small window and industrial style hardware. The windows are also arched with brick, often with shutters and window boxes for decoration. Storybook houses often had noticeable turrets or chimney’s.

Typically the exterior is stucco, often with decorative wood boards (like Tudor Style Homes), or whimsical elements adding to the “Cottage” (think Hansel and Gretel) style. The colours of the homes vary from white to darker colours, with roofs being anything from wood, to red to a darker colour.

Storybook Houses for Sale in Kitsilano

Crown Kits story book house in Vancouver

Take a look at this “Storybook” house for sale at 3143 Crown St (actually in Point Grey) – the photo is above.

List Price$1,498,000
Lot33′ x 105′
Built In1941
Living Area2409 sq.ft.
Bathrooms2 full

Also, 3979 West Broadway, one of Vancouver’s best preserved Storybook houses sold in early 2014 after only 10 days on market. It is the featured photo of this blog post. It was listed for $2,548,000 and sold 10 days later for $2,550,000. Sitting on an odd 72′ x 63′ lot, the home has almost 3000 sqft with 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms.

Not everyone feels a connection to the Storybook style of housing, but for those who do, they tend to jump on the chance to own one of Vancouver’s most interesting style of houses, especially if it’s been maintained and upgraded through the years.