So due to my out-of-control, nigh-on-murderous jealousy of this abandoned caboose (!) house in Lake Washington, I started thinking about how much of my design aesthetic has to do with my yearning to live like one of the damn Boxcar children. Like, let’s get real here for a second: childern’s books characters had it HOOKED UP domicile-wise, and while I recognize it’s probably not everyone-with-a-pottery-barn-credit-card’s bag, I am a huge sucker for hidey-holes, tree houses, secret passages, and anything that makes me feel like a viking. Even the non-supernatural totally gets me:
So after the jump, my top 5 children’s book inspirations, in no order.
1. The Borrowers.
I was into most things lilliputian as a child, but this was probably the best. The Borrowers were bitty people that lived in a little nook under a floorboard, and in retrospect, TOTAL design nerds who spent most of their time stealing various tchotchkes from the giant-sized people upstairs. If there were any way for me to mount a giant pocketwatch on my wall or sleep in a down comforter with the consistency of a massive cotton ball, you better believe I’d do it up.
2. The Chronicles of Narnia.
Yeah, there were a lot of minotaurs and christ allegories and delicious British confections in these books, but one of the things I remember most were the interiors. Not only did the Pevensie children pretty much have it hooked up from the beginning—giant British mansions with secret passages to antique attic laboraties? anyone?!!—but Narnia was pretty much chock full of cozy, enviable, and looking back on it, green homes. Dudes were hanging out in really luxe hideouts under tree roots, ice palaces, moorish-style ultra castles, you name it.
3. James and The Giant Peach.
When I really break it down for myself, I think what’s so appealing about children’s book houses is how all-their-own these spaces were for the characters. They usually find them after their parents are horribly murdered (in James’ case, by rampaging rhinoscereses) or they are otherwise abandoned to the elements and have to find sancturary. James actually has a series of pretty hardcore adventures inside the peach before it disintegrates to a pit and he leaves it in Central Park for keeps. I mean, check that real estate. So jealous.
4. The Little Prince.
…oh, and then there was the little prince, who had his own damn house-sized PLANET. I won’t delve too deep into the aesthetic virtues of it, since it’s already tattooed on every hipster in America and you get the idea, but come on: roses, Baobab trees, a 360 degree view of the universe.
5. Pippi Longstocking.
Okay, so she was Swedish and had her own freaking villa, so that’s, like, 95% chance of being totally fabulous right there. More specifically, she lived in a giant mansion full of monkeys and horses and intense wall colors and I was very, very jealous as a child. Still am.