Here are two elaborate dovecotes I saw on a couple of other storybook ranch homes in Encino.



Look how tall the dovecotes rise above the roof, especially in the top photo. Quite the decorative touch for a modest and attractive house!

Look also at the rafter tails extending past the eaves on the top house. Such a lovely touch and very typical of the storybook ranch design.

The sweet feature in the second house is the bank of diamond-pane windows. They are so inset and the panes so small that, if I’m not mistaken, the style leans toward Tudor. (Think Stratford-upon-Avon!)


Storybook Book Ranches In The Valley


I apologize that the photos to accompany the text did not upload as planned. I only just realized it!–to see the text, but with the house photos I refer to, please go to my blog “Tarzana Is My Heroine,” where the full post can be found:

Thanks and sorry for the confusion! — Coco


Here are a selection of storybook ranch homes I’ve seen out in Encino, where we live the rest of the time when we’re not in Redlands. These homes epitomize what my favorite retro home blog, Retro Renovation (, would call “mid-century modest” homes.

Fortunately not too many of these homes have been torn down to build Spanish-style McMansions–as happened to one very lovely barn-red storybook ranch home on the corner of Hayvenhurst and Adlon a few years ago. If any of you are familiar with Encino, you may remember the house I’m talking about.

I love the pale yellow exterior of this first house below, and of course the diamond-pane windows on the garage too!

Look at the mix of horizontal and vertical batten boards here (behind the white picket fence!)

I love storybook ranches in barn or carriage red with white trim

Look at the little dovecote tucked just under the eaves

This house below is so attractive with its row of diamond-paned windows, pale green exterior, and the peeling bark of the gum or melaleuca tree in front.

I have in mind starting a project of photographing of every storybook ranch in Redlands–and of course I have a special interest in the ones around Caballero Lane and Crescent Ave., since these were the houses my dad helped Ed Caballero build!

Maybe you can help?

New Living-Room Look

With lots of help from Steve, I’ve been furnishing the living room, the last room in the house to be finished. The furniture is all new.

Those of you who remember the living room with French Provincial furniture and flocked celadon wallpaper may be shocked, but I wanted it updated to a more casual, family- and dog-friendly style.

I had the idea of doing kind of a mod, Warhol-type photo series to hang somewhere, and Steve found a 60s portrait of my mom when she did her hair in a marcel wave, and he worked out lots of great color combinations.

Then he ordered three 16″ x 20″ prints of the portraits on canvas. Here is the result!


(Photo credit: Steve Eubanks)

Along with property management, estate sales, and decorating, Steve does beautiful photography and restores photographs. You can see his gorgeous work on Facebook at his Aperture On The World page (

He also recently finished scanning and restoring hundreds of old Kodachrome slides and photos that my parents and uncle left behind at the house.

Now I have the photos and slides all digitized to preserve and make them accessible for others in the family to enjoy (and who has a slide projector lying around these days?)

Thanks, Steve!

Storybook Ranch Homes, La Sierra




The yellow home on Sierra Vista at the top has fairly pronounced storybook details–see the heavy shake roof and trim–of the many I’ve seen around Southern California.

It also has lovely diamond-pane windows on the other side, but I wasn’t able to get a picture of them without appearing too nosy!

What I particularly like in the second house, just a couple of blocks away, is the dovecote under the eaves.

I think there’s something about birdhouses that feels homey or cozy to us. I imagine it’s because where there’s a birdhouse, by extension, there’s a nest.

If the house has a design that signals that birds are welcome and safe there, I think our unconscious association is that anyone living in such a house will be warm and safe too.

A Storybook Ranch, Balboa Peninsula

I saw this cute yellow ranch house at the end of the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach. It looks to be in beautiful condition and hasn’t had exterior “improvements” like new vinyl windows to replace the diamond-paned originals.

I admit that new windows are probably more energy efficient, so there’s that downside to not updating. But I think there’s an aesthetic and even philosophical benefit to keeping the original look:

Keeping original features of an older house can honor the “mid-century modest” ethic (from Pam Kueber of Retro Renovation, This is perhaps just a different kind of energy conservation–that of opting for less consumption and resisting the impulse to spend money in new products just because they’re new and everyone’s doing it. (Kind of sounds like an adolescent mindset when I out it that way, doesn’t it?)

Even if the product one would be buying, in this case, is a greener product, it’s possible that not updating means not consuming the energy it takes to manufacture, transport, install, and dispose of all the materials involved.

I’m sure there are such cost/energy comparisons out there for updating vs. not updating ….

Has anyone seen something like that related to windows?

Mr. Ed’s Storybook Ranch Stable

As a horse-crazy girl, I was a big fan of the TV show Mr. Ed, which ran from 1961 to 1966. A couple of weeks ago it dawned on me that the show was set in a storybook ranch house. Now that I’ve looked at a few clips of the show on YouTube, I see that the house is more of a modified storybook ranch–it was two stories and didn’t have diamond-pane windows in the front. However, it did have the double Dutch doors in front and a wood shake roof, along with brickwork in the front.

I also had no idea that the car Wilbur Post had the show was a Studebaker Lark. Until last year, we had a Studebaker Lark that my dad bought from a friend in the 80s.

Another storybook ranch in Encino


Now that I’m thinking regularly about storybook ranch homes, I see them everywhere I go around the San Fernando Valley and the Westside of L.A. There were a few especially nice ones I’ve always noticed, but now I see them constantly. Many are very “mid-century modest,” as Pam Kueber of Retro Renovation calls them, and so don’t stand out. But they are there! Btw, here’s a link to her “Mid-Century Modest Manifesto”–

I’ll post any photos to give an idea of the variety of looks (and various types of ‘upgrades’) these houses have. Some of the cutest ones I’ve seen are painted barn red, and in a future post, I’ll put up pictures of some in my SF Valley neighborhood. The barn-red houses look especially good with the invariably white, almost gingerbread trim.