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April 6, 2011 / Linda Hartong


Carmel -by-the Sea has enchanting architecture. But the most enchanting to me are the fairytale cottages built by Hugh Comstock.  Hugh’s wife, Mayotta, made and sold rag dolls that she named “Otsy -Totsys”.  When her dolls outgrew their home , she asked Hugh to build her a Doll House to use for her sales and as a showroom. And so he built


In 1925, Hugh and Mayotta decided to build a second house on their parcel of land and named it


For more about Hansel click on the following links:



And in that same year, they built still another home of adobe and Carmel stone. I love the hand carved trim on


For more about Obers, also known as The Comstock House click on the following links

HUGH COMSTOCK’S-OBERS « Once upon a time..Tales from Carmel by the Sea

I AM INVITED TO TOUR HUGH COMSTOCK’S COTTAGE « Once upon a time..Tales from Carmel by the Sea

I recently located SNOW WHITE’S SUMMER PLACE. It has been for sale and was looking a little neglected.

The Tuck Box was built in 1927. Because of its unusual location it was built on skids in case the owner wanted to move it.  It was first used as a restaurant in the early 1930’s and was named “Sally’s”. The building just to the rear was also built by Comstock in 1929 and was used as a garden shop, and much later as The Tuck Box Gift Shop. The kiosk next to the patio gate was added in 1931.

The Tuck Box and The Garden Shop

For more about the Tuck Box click on this link

HUGH COMSTOCK’S THE TUCK BOX « Once upon a time..Tales from Carmel by the Sea

Hugh was beginning to need a studio from which to work.  Later it became the residence of Mayotta Comstock.


For more about the Studio click on

HUGH COMSTOCK- FLOOR PLAN FOR THE STUDIO « Once upon a time..Tales from Carmel by the Sea

In the next year, Hugh really outdid himself. Demand for his cottages was strong and he built.



HUGH COMSTOCK- FLOOR PLAN FOR THE BIRTHDAY HOUSE « Once upon a time..Tales from Carmel by the Sea


HUGH COMSTOCK’S THE DOLL’S HOUSE « Once upon a time..Tales from Carmel by the Sea


Hugh Comstock’s Honeymoon Cottage « Once upon a time..Tales from Carmel by the Sea


Hugh Comstock- Floorplan for Fables Cottage « Once upon a time..Tales from Carmel by the Sea



HUGH COMSTOCK’S MARCHEN HAUS- A FAIRYTALE COTTAGE « Once upon a time..Tales from Carmel by the Sea

In 1929, just before the stock market crashed, he built



And Curtain Call

HUGH COMSTOCK’S “CURTAIN CALL” « Once upon a time..Tales from Carmel by the Sea

There are still more Comstock cottages in Carmel, but I have not located and photographed them yet. But I will…..

If you too want to find them all ,The CALIFORNIA VISITORS CENTER on San Carlos between 5th & 6th will give you a list  with their locations.


Unless otherwise stated, all photographs are copyright (c) Linda Hartong. All rights reserved.

You may not use any image on this site without my written consent. If you are interested in using a photo from my website for any purpose, please send me a quick message and let me know which photo(s) you are interested in.


Leave a Comment
  1. jeanette sclar / Apr 6 2011 6:26 pm

    If Snow White’s Summer place is looking neglected, I only wish my place had that look! Serious gardening stock-taking this year!

  2. Paige Odelle / May 30 2011 1:14 am

    I don’t know who you are, or how I stumbled upon your site but you made my whole day. I have such a yearning for one of these cottages by the sea……currently living exactly opposite from Carmel (at the furthest point, Outer Banks, NC). Photos such as yours are few and far between and i so want to thank you!
    all best, paige

  3. Barry Kibler / Oct 24 2011 2:35 pm

    I would like to use two of your photos the front views of Hansel & Snow white in a book ,when I was a small child living in Carmel during ww2 I and other small children would walk with Mrs. Smith through the forest of Carmel and at each of these cottages she would tell us kids the story of snow white or Hansel and Gretel telling ust that this is the home of snow white and the seven duarf’s and then commence with the fairytell. We were young enough and still beleived in Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny so we really beleived these tales and watched closely hoping to get a glimps of snow white or a Dwarf. We lived near sixth and Santa Fe. I am a decendent of the Castro family who once owned the Old Castro Adobe and most all of Santa Cruz county. Please e-mail permission
    Barry Kibler /Castro

  4. custom homes Austin / Nov 15 2011 6:03 am

    A dream house, a wish, our hearts make… these are truly wonderful cozy homes that can be considered priceless… The homes that Comstock made are magical. Storybook concepts brought to life in a very artistic and skilled manner. Thank you for sharing the photos, they’re fantastic!

  5. Cindy Adkins / Feb 20 2012 5:24 am

    I found your blog through someone’s account on Pinterest (who had pinned several of your photos.) I am in Heaven!! I used to live in Sacramento and would visit Carmel-by-the-Sea several times per year. I moved to the midwest ten years ago and miss the California coast, and especially the Carmel/Big Sur area so much. Your blog is outstanding!! I’m so happy I found it. Now I can look and dream and remember…thank you so much.

  6. Diana Fendley / Apr 3 2012 9:39 pm

    I found your blog through Pinterest. OMG, you made my day, I think my heart smiled out loud. These are the cutest things I have ever seen. I’ve always wanted to visit Carmel by the Sea, but had no idea there were these incredible cottages there. Thanks for the great photography and history on each. What a great blog.



  7. Net / Apr 12 2012 8:08 pm

    I came across these gorgeous homes through Pinterest. I have always loved these style homes and am thankful for the opportunity to daydream about them!

  8. Keiren / Apr 27 2012 5:51 pm

    Hi Linda, I was putting a page on about Rackham when I found your photos on Comstock and would love to include some on my blog. Your images are fabulous. Have also just pinned a few on Pinterest from your blog, hope that’s okay. Here is url: please let me know if you approve. Thank you. Best, Keiren

  9. Marcia McCoy / Sep 5 2012 2:46 am

    Hello Linda! These cottages are so precious.I have known about them for a long time as I lived in San Diego in the late 50’s It is uplifting just to look at them. I don’t have a business or blog, but would just like to save some of them in my pictures folder enjoy them again&again. If this is not ok,please let me know. Also, are you going to publish a coffee table style book for folks like me that probably will never get to Carmel to be able to see these enchanting, lovely homes when ever we have time to sit down with a cup of tea and enjoy it? Thank You for all smiles please continue.Kind Regards,Marcia

  10. Alex Rendall / Dec 14 2012 8:31 pm

    Hi there, I am fascinated by these fairytale cottages of Hugh Comstock and have chosen them as the main focus areas for my architecture dissertation topic. I am talking about the meaning of fairytale architecture, picking out the key points and finding the reasoning behind why they are not used in everyday construction to enhance peoples lives. I was wondering if it would be possible to use any of the photos, as I am unsure on who to contact in regards to copyright law. Also I have decided to focus my attention on four houses, Hansel, Gretel, The Tuck Box and ideally Fables, but I am struggling to find any reputable sources from which I can quote information on fables. I would very much like to use it in my project as I personally hold it as one of my favourites. Any help at all is much appreciated. Kind Regards Alex Rendall

    • Roger and Kathy Sanger / Mar 25 2013 4:04 pm

      Alex, We are the recent owners of Fables and have just finished a complete restoration of it. Any help we can offer we would be delighted to do so. I just posted a comment on the “Fables ” section here.

  11. Deanna Joy Stephens / Jan 7 2013 4:42 am

    One Day~ a Shall Wright My Story~ One Of Awe & Wonder~~~ Which Began with an Image of a Rooftop & Chimney ~ D’JOY

  12. Cameron Taylor Dill / May 31 2013 2:33 am

    Wow. I thought this was only in fairy tales. I have always dreamed of owning a garden tutor cottage.

  13. Meredith MacCormack / Jul 2 2013 3:32 pm

    I stumbled upon your site while looking up images for a wattled fence. I’m currently reading Childhood by Tolstoy and he mentions that type of fence and I wanted to put an image to the word and Thank God I did!!! What amazing houses, they are truly dream houses for me! Thank you for the story and the beautiful photographs!
    San Antonio, TX

  14. Sweet.Love.Bites / Dec 20 2013 2:40 am

    Reblogged this on Sweet.Love.Bites and commented:
    Here’s a little more depth about Hugh Comstock’s Fairytale Cottages, that was wonderfully documented by this blogger 🙂 THANKS FOR STOPPING BY.

  15. Corky / Jan 13 2014 5:23 pm

    Visited Carmel two years ago and loved the place. Would love to see the inside of Hugh’s homes some day

  16. sethsownstar / Feb 24 2014 7:25 am

    Reblogged this on Rainbow's Anthem and commented:
    I’m packing as we speak! lol

  17. Reblogged this on La Fée Blanche.

  18. Lillian adams / Oct 1 2014 12:34 am

    We’ve were fortunate to have purchased one of Hugh Comstocks final designs from 1950 not in Carmel but inWhittier CA. It’s for sale now and we only hope and pray the new owners will preserve it in the manner which it deserves. You can check it out online – simply amazing.

  19. Janine Waite / Nov 13 2014 4:57 am

    Hi Linda,

    What an incredible post! I just loved looking at your gorgeous photos and reading the text. We just visited Carmel and we found a few of these cottages, and what a fun experience! I have a blog and I was wondering if you would allow me to post a few of your photos and credit you as well as link back to your blog? Your research is amazing and I would LOVE to send my readers to your blog. I could never replica what you have here, so I won’t be any competition, but rather a source to drive back to you. My post would be more of a small review of the Comstock homes. No worries if you can’t allow me to post your photos. I’m fine with that too.


  20. Heidi Madden / Jan 4 2015 5:00 am

    Linda, I really enjoyed your post. May I have your permission to use one of the photos from this post on my own blog for a piece I’m writing about 1920s houses? I will credit this website. I would like to use the photo of Marchen Haus.

    • Linda Hartong / Jan 4 2015 4:09 pm

      Yes Heidi, please use the photo.

      • / Jan 13 2015 8:24 pm

        Hi Linda! We are doing an article on Carmel for Faerie Magazine and we’d love to use some of these images. Can I email you? Or could you email Thank you!!

  21. livrepress / Feb 7 2015 8:24 pm

    Hi Linda… We are doing an article on Carmel for LIVING HEALTH Magazine (, the Healthy Travels section, and would love to use some of your photos. What is your policy? Thank you kindly and all the best!

    • Linda Hartong / Feb 8 2015 10:49 pm

      Let me know which ones you want so I can review. If they are mine, you may use them as long as you credit me and link to the blog.

  22. livrepress / Feb 9 2015 12:36 am

    Hi Linda,

    Also this one:

    Take care,

  23. livrepress / Feb 9 2015 12:38 am

    Hi Linda,

    I copied and pasted several links in this reply box, but apparently it did not take? Not sure if you received it by e-mail.

    There were at least 10 other photos. If you did not receive the links, I will try them again, one at a time.

    All the best!!

  24. livrepress / Feb 12 2015 8:10 pm
  25. livrepress / Feb 12 2015 8:13 pm

    Linda… Can you please contact me via e-mail? sandra @ (without the spaces). I am not able to put all of the links here. Also… I can send you the article so you can view it. Thanks and best!

  26. Hana / Oct 7 2015 8:08 am

    Hi Linda,

    I would like to write an article on my blog about these amazing houses. Please let me know if I can use a few of your photos. Thank you.

    • Linda Hartong / Oct 11 2015 11:11 pm

      Thanks Hana. You may use the photos if you give me credit

  27. adrienn / May 29 2016 10:05 pm

    Thanks for posting these images. I wonder if you knew there was a bookshop called the Sunwise Turn in NYC, circa 1920 — along with a book about it, by the shop’s co-owner Madge Jennison. I wonder if there is any connection? I’d love to see this cottage – can you share the physical address? Or do you know if the visitor center maintains such information? I don’t want to trespass on the owner’s privacy but I am curious about it.

    I should also mention, the interior color of the Sunwise Turn bookshop was said to be a bright orange…! I love the color of this cottage.

    • Linda Hartong / May 30 2016 5:03 pm

      The Visitor Center has a list of all the comstock homes with the physical addresses.

  28. Carol Flanagan / Jun 29 2016 10:35 am

    Omg they r so beautiful r they people’s homes or can u stay in them. What a beautiful magical village they make 😃

  29. Bill / Sep 27 2016 1:05 am

    2931 Alta Avenue Carmel, California 93923
    Is missing from your list.
    You should addo to the list. It’s one of the fairytale cottages.

    • Linda Hartong / Oct 1 2016 9:35 pm

      Thanks. I will look it up

      • steve ober / Jan 24 2017 10:49 pm

        Hi Linda – My name is Steve Ober and I lived/grew up in the “Ober’s-Comstock home. I would love to talk to you. I will be back in Carmel in late FEB and would love to look in the house. Do you have contact info for the new owners? My email is Hope to hear from you. Warm Regards, Steve Ober

  30. Kay Kaiser / Feb 6 2017 12:52 am

    If you are ever in the Twin Cities, visit the Como Park neighborhood where you will find hundreds of well preserved “fairy tale homes” built in the 1920’s-1930’s. A magical place with many beautiful gardens and a 400 acre park with paths, lakes, gardens and a conservatory that dates from the early 1900’s are sure to charm. 🙂

  31. Kay Kaiser / Feb 6 2017 1:03 am

    If you are ever in the Twin Cities, consider a visit to the Como Park neighborhood where you will find hundreds of well preserved “fairy tale cottages” built from the 1920’2-1930’s. Many have unique and beautiful gardens, as well as being near a 400 acre public park with lakes, walking paths, gardens and a historic conservatory that dates from the early 1900’s. 🙂

  32. pr4mr22 / Apr 10 2017 8:59 pm

    Hello Linda, I understand this is a long shot but I wanted to ask anyway. Back in 2015, I moved from Los Angeles to Minnesota. During the process I took a road trip on my FZ1 up to Vancouver via PCH starting in Los Angeles before crossing over to the Twin cities. I had a couple cameras on the bike and a couple friends join me. I’m putting together a documentary series of the trip but I’m looking for some B roll of certain areas. We didn’t have a lot of time but I mentioned the cottages to my friend and we took a short ride through the area. I was wondering if you would allow me to use some of your shots of cottages for transition shots/B-Roll, and if so how you would like me to credit you in the final presentation. I understand this may be a business for you and you may require more remuneration, I totally get it, I’m just not in a financial position to be able to pay for such things. Right now, the project is purely a passion project of “sweat” equity. I put a little teaser together from some of my footage, if your interested in seeing what I’m working on.

    Peter Bisson

    • Linda Hartong / Apr 11 2017 4:11 pm

      Hi Peter,
      This is not a business for me and I would be happy for you use some house photos for your film. You can credit me as Linda Hartong -and link to my blog. Good luck with your project . Sounds fun. I did look at your blog.
      Let me know which photos you want to use.

  33. Jan Folkner / Jul 5 2017 7:39 pm

    we were in Carmel last week and i ran across a book about the houses in Carmel and of course i didn’t buy it but now i would love to have a copy. do you know where i could purchase a copy?

    • Linda Hartong / Jul 11 2017 9:44 pm

      There are many books out. The Pilgrams Way in Carmel has them but most are also on Amazon.

  34. Erin Harris / Jan 1 2018 9:36 pm

    Hi! I love your photos and explorations. Wish I knew about these houses when I visited Carmel–I would have made it a point to find them. Of course, as your blog so beautifully shows, the entire town is filled with enchantmentDo you mind if I use this photo of yours on this post of mine? I will of course attribute credit to you and link to this post. Thank you!

  35. Sharksgirl / Jan 21 2018 9:28 pm

    Another home is on Santa Fe and 8th St. Still has the original milk delivery box out front. Same family also owns Tuck Box.

    • Linda Hartong / Jan 22 2018 3:54 pm

      Thanks so much. I will check it out!!

    • Linda Hartong / Jan 22 2018 4:03 pm

      is it the home with the red gate called the Nelson Crough home?

  36. Roger and Kathy Sanger / Apr 27 2018 3:04 pm

    Linda, So nice to met you finally out front of Fables the other day. Keep up the great work as the Comstock Cottage Historian. Roger Sanger, Fables

  37. Irma Roberts / Jul 21 2018 2:10 am

    Hi Linda! I so enjoyed reading about the history of these lovely cottages. Thank you for all of the work you have put in! I have been to Carmel so many times but have never looked for one of these cuties. Next trip for sure!

  38. Angie Barrett / Apr 21 2020 3:21 pm

    Good morning! I am just a visitor to Carmel and an artist who paints, I wanted to share about my visit to Carmel at the top box and was wondering if I could use the image on this webpage off the top box, with your permission and with your name attached on my Instagram feed. My Instagram feed is Angie found a canvas. Thank you so much for your permission and consideration.

  39. Alta / Aug 19 2020 8:13 pm

    Hey I wanted to find more info on Hugh Comstock and there is no wikipedia page about him, could you create one please? This man cant be forgotten.

  40. Holly / Aug 5 2021 4:02 am

    Thank you for this lovely site! I recently visited Carmel to see the homes and wanted to see some interior pictures. Your work is beautiful!

  41. Ramkishore S / Sep 11 2021 5:48 am

    Hi Linda,

    I am from India and visited Carmel-by-the-sea in June 2016. The memory of those fairy-tale cottages have remained with me every since and I periodically keep looking at the pics I took then. Came across your page and once again was transported me to that fairy-tale land. Thanks!!


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