Storytelling houses, a charming chapter in local architecture • Long Beach Post News

The land, roughly bordered by Norwalk Boulevard and Coyote Creek, between Wardlow / Ball Road and 226th Street, opened in the 1960s when new homes could be purchased for under $ 20,000.

The neighborhood, far from the middle streets of downtown and central Long Beach, was favored by Long Beach police officers who, at the time, had to live in the city in which they served, as were other employees of the city. So many police officers bought homes in the area that it became known as Cop Flats. Former city councilor and harbor commissioner Doug Drummond, who was a police officer in the 1960s, bought a house at Imperial Estates in 1962 for $ 18,740. “I would say that at least half of the residents in the area were city employees,” he recalls.

But that’s not the story in today’s column. Dotting the flyer, and also appearing in some adjacent areas such as the Rynerson Park neighborhood in Lakewood, are a number of Storybook homes, unmistakably Disneyland-inspired, still a relatively picturesque wonderland in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Conventionally, Storybook homes are typically several steps above and several decades older than model lanes. True Storybook homes typically cost millions of dollars and are marked with more expensive touches, including handcrafted shingle roofs, stained glass or stained glass, and the use of layers of clinker brick serpentine.

A true classic 1926 storybook on Third Street in Long Beach. Thursday September 2, 2021. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

The style of the Storybook houses was much more affordable and became popular in the mid-1950s before fading out about a decade later.

The Real Cinderella Houses were designed by Jean Vandruff who, along with his brother Shannon, built fairy-tale-inspired houses marked by diamond-shaped pane windows, high gabled roofs that often slanted down to the ground (those long, steep rooflines are called, in delightful architectural jargon, “catslides”), gingerbread trims, scalloped borders and fascia boards, decorative trims on false shutters and planters or shelves under the windows.

The Vandruffes built a plot of 168 Cinderella Homes in Anaheim in 1955, the year Disneyland opened, and sold the entire lot within three days.

Houses continued to be built elsewhere in Orange County and in states further east.

In Imperial Estates, there are currently a few Storybook homes for sale – or, in fact, one and a half because one, at 3681 Monica Ave., is a pending sale, listed at $ 795,000.

This home at 3681 Monica Ave. at Imperial Estates is in receivership, listed at $ 795,000. Photo of the ad.

The main exterior feature of the house is an impressive pair of electronic ticket slides on the garage.

The house is quite large, with over 1,600 square feet of living space which includes three bedrooms and two bathrooms on a large 7,000 square foot lot giving the buyer the flexibility to add, build a new home. accessory or add a swimming pool.

The huge family room has “wood look” porcelain tiles, exposed beams and a custom island extending from the kitchen.

Its master bedroom has a walk-in closet and a renovated private bathroom with subway tiled floors and a walk-in shower. If you want to make a living off the land, the backyard features a grove of fruit trees bearing bananas, mangoes, and lemons.

The house’s listing agent is Rick Rodriguez of Century 21.

A few houses down, at 3691 Monica Ave., is another cool-looking Storybook home with a very steep A-frame entrance framed by scalloped, suicidal catslides (my life changed when I discovered catslides).

A Storybook home at 3691 Monica Ave., complete with killer slides, is for sale for $ 769,000. Photo of the ad.

Listed by Art Tarango of Legends Realty at $ 769,000, the three-bedroom, 1,554 square foot home has hardwood floors, a good-sized kitchen, and a large living room.

The garage has been converted to an ADU, so you can either kick one of your kids out of the main house or generously invite your mother-in-law to live with you in exchange for childcare or housekeeping.

But for our money, the biggest selling point is a backyard treehouse built on a beautiful, sturdy tree. A great place for your kids and their friends to flip through dirty magazines and smoke cigarettes while your stepmom waxes the kitchen floor.

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