Skip to content
March 25, 2018 / Linda Hartong


Its defining characteristic might best be described as the kind of house you’d imagine Seven Dwarves or some happy Hobbits heading home to at the end of a hard day of work. I see them all over Carmel (not the hobbits, the houses)  but have never really thought about examining the parts that make up the whole.


“Lilacs and Laughter” is one such cottage.

I pass it often and try to get a decent photo. I am either too late in the morning or too early in the evening and the harsh light wipes out the details.

Plus the owners’ landscaping is thriving and even when I poke my camera through the gate , I can only see parts of this boxwood garden.

Then a huge winter storm blows through and plantings suffer and the clean up is a photographers dream come true. Now I can see so much more of this little house.

 I am not sure if the name is new or if the vines just covered it up before.

 I take my shots and am pleased. Then I find a website called  Storybookers. com.            

What a wonderful resource for those of us who love these whimsical houses with towers and turrets.

I begin to look at “Lilacs and Laugher” in a whole new way. I start at the chimney and work my way down the house.

Yes that chimney is oversized for the house- definitely adding some charm.

The roof has so many storybook details and must have cost a small fortune. It is swaybacked and irregularly shingled with an eyebrow window and clipped gables.

The stucco looks like it has roughly trowled and that wood trim detailing is known as decorative half timbering. At one time this was the real timbering of the house left exposed and stuccoed in between. There was no insulation.

The casement windows are trimmed with the half timbering.

There is the darling little turret with its peaked roof line.

The front door is rounded at the top. This is one of my favorite hall-marks.

And that fence with its stone base, ironwork and wood detail is really icing on the cake. I see no others like it in Carmel.

  Year Built:  1992 MLS#:  81122659 and he includes some photos of the interior and the back deck.

I love the timbering on the ceiling, the shelf for books,

and the wavy stone on the fireplace.

There are two bedrooms.

The irregular ceiling  in this bedroom is just charming.

Check out this kitchen with the stone floor, rounded door openings and great cabinet details.

The cottage is on a slope so the upper deck

looks down on a sweet patio.




Leave a Comment
  1. kathysue / Jul 6 2011 6:55 pm

    Oh only if I could get my hands on 11/2 million!! What a dream come true that would be to live in such a sweet cottage in my favorite village of Carmel. So fun being able to see so much through your eyes and learn so much at the same time. Thank you for all your hard work, Linda!! I truly appreciate it,Kathysue

  2. marie arden pink living blog / Jul 6 2011 7:22 pm

    What a nice little lesson. I learned a lot and I love the house too! Too bad the prices are not diminutive also! I have got to get back to Carmel for a visit someday soon.

  3. jeanette sclar / Jul 7 2011 5:11 pm

    You are definitely the queen of fairy tale architecture! This is such a gem!

  4. Michelle / Jul 21 2011 3:56 am

    Hi, I am so enjoying your blog. What a photogaphers dream! I have planned on Carmel in July 2012. Have you taken any of the Snow White Cottage as yet or have I just yet to find it? Great job, I am living vicariously through you. Thank you!

  5. tobby17 / Aug 8 2014 9:43 am

    That is a beautiful cottage looks gorgeous. .

  6. carm / Jan 29 2016 4:57 am

    Was fortunate enough to live in Carmel’s golden rectangle for 10 years in a “TINY” guest quarters
    below a Murphy house. Love, love, LOVE the quaintness and charm the town embraces you with. Those were the best years of my life and was thankful to have the pleasure and experience of living in one of the best little towns in the world.

  7. Gerri / Mar 25 2018 7:42 pm

    This is so lovely and quaint! Perfect for hobbits and such!

  8. Robert H / Oct 27 2019 8:12 am

    Just happened upon your blog while searching for pictures of Carmel, one of my favorite places to visit. What a wonderful collection of photo-stories you’ve shared!
    In case you were wondering about the significance of this cottage’s name — “Lilacs and Laughter” — it’s from a 1940 song called “Polka-dots and Moonbeams” that was Frank Sinatra’s first hit record, backed by the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. The relevant lines are
    “Now in a cottage built of lilacs and laughter,
    I know the meaning of the words ‘Ever after’…”
    How delightful that the owner (or builder) decided to reference that!

    • Linda Hartong / Oct 29 2019 12:33 am

      Thanks so much for your kind comments and for telling me the reference!

  9. leilani / Jul 13 2020 12:45 am

    I sure do miss this wonderful blog, but it’s great that we still have the archives on hand to re-read during this months-long bout of Covid-induced cabin fever.

    I honestly don’t know what I’d have done during these times without all the photographers, amateur & professional, who shared their work online & let us imagine we’re somewhere else, even if only for a few minutes.

    Hope you are well Linda!


  1. THE STORY OF “TALES FROM CARMEL” - Monterey Bay Insider

Leave a Reply to Michelle Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: