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September 6, 2011 / Linda Hartong

HUGH COMSTOCK’S SWISS CHALET- A FAIRYTALE COTTAGE IN CARMEL

When we board the plane for Carmel it is 102 degrees in the Kansas sun. The garden has given up and no amount of watering can revive it.

We de-plane 6 hours later in a cool, foggy Carmel evening. It is a blessed 53 degrees. It is late so we head straight to our little house, turn up the furnace and bundle under the covers for a good night’s sleep.

There is a long list of things I want to do this trip. After a quick breakfast, I grab a sweater and the camera and start out on my quest for yet another Hugh Comstock Cottage- Swiss Chalet. 

My map search says it is on the east side of Monte Verde St. 3 or 4 houses past 5th. And there it is!! 

I have walked this street many times, but the Chalet is so tightly tucked between its neighbors that I have missed it. Like many Comstock homes, it turns its side to the street .

It sits up on the hill atop its garage  and I am darned if I can find the front door. I crane my neck and am rewarded with the sight of a door peeking over the branch of a large oak tree.

  Look at that great light fixture. 

SWISS CHALET is carved on the top of the gate.

  “Gate opens in” I read,

so I pull the wooden stick on the rope

and hear the latch open.

Up the side of the house I go.

A steep, curving wooden staircase with a distinctive bannister appears to be the way to the door .

As I climb, I take a little glance at the garden below.

At the first door

I rap the acorn knocker several times,

admire the light fixture above me

and peer into the kitchen.

After several more knocks, I leave my card on the little ledge beneath the window

and walk around to what must be the front door.

 It is a curved top dutch door with hand carved trim.

The window beside it is beyond cute with its irregular shape and old porch light.

I again knock, this time with the mermaid knocker.

Still no one home. I leave another card and retrace my steps. The roof line is low here and I love the hand carved wooden shingles with their whimsical lines.

A quick glance at the back yard and I am heading down .

Wow these are steep little stairs.

As I make my way to the back of the lot I step over a tired oak taking a nap on the pathway,

and am rewarded with this view of the house. The steeply pitched roof is a Comstock trademark .

I go back down the stepping-stones,

unlatch the gate

and carefully close it.

This is the detailing on the banisters .

Even the garage doors are unique.

From across the street, I can see the interior ceiling is vaulted and has a skylight.

I am guessing this cottage has a kitchen, living room and one bedroom and bath.

Later I find an old postcard showing the house in earlier times.  It is indeed “folk tudor”. 

I can find little about Swiss Chalet’s history , but do find it was once a summer rental. How fun to live in a fairytale for a while ,where despite the wicked witches in the world, everyone lives happily ever after.

4 Comments

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  1. Carolyn / Sep 6 2011 9:45 pm

    Love it. But I think I like the old version better with the rustic stained/weathered wood, which makes it look older and more fairy-tale, in my opinion. Probably the wood trim needed sealing, but the gray paint takes away some of the rustic timber charm. And I don’t like the gray with the beige stucco. A weathered looking gray-brown (more like the roof shingles) would have worked. I do like the green accent color on the windows and doors, and adore the light fixtures and door knockers. I’d love to have that acorn door knocker!

  2. Bonnie Jobe / Sep 6 2011 11:29 pm

    I’d love to live in this little world of steep roofs and little gardens and unusual windows and doors. It is a fairyland. Lucky you to fly away to this world so often.

  3. Vickadilly / Sep 8 2011 1:36 pm

    I was just looking at an article I clipped out of Cottage Living a couple of years ago. It was about the Comstock storybook cottages, so I thought I would do a google search and viola – here is your post with these all these amazing and beautiful photos of his homes! . A house like this is every girls dream. It’s incredible that someone actually built them. Hugh deserves a place in the annuls of architectural history. Thank you for sharing them – you did a great job of capturing all the details.

  4. Annie Westlake / Sep 8 2011 6:13 pm

    Oh you luckigurl! Your excursions make me rejoice and ache with longing at the same time!

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