Fairytale Cottage in Carmel by the sea

Carmel-by-the-Sea is home to a handful of absolutely stunning English fairytale cottages, all designed by a man named Hugh Comstock. Hugh was not an architect by any means, but he did have a lot of vision, and the story of how he came to become the town’s most sought-after builder is incredibly sweet.

Hugh first came to Carmel-by-the-Sea in 1924. He was intending to visit his sister and her husband, who had settled in the artsy town. But, on his trip, he met a woman named Mayotta Browne. Mayotta was the artist behind Otsy-Totsies, which were cute little felt dolls meant to be collector’s items. The two were married within a year. Mayotta’s business quickly took off, and it wasn’t long before their new home was filled with dolls. She asked her husband if he might build her a showroom for her dolls, and even though he had no practical experience, he decided to give it a whirl. The storybook cottage he built was inspired by the illustrations of Arthur Rackham, and he didn’t worry too much about making things precise or level, adding a whimsical, rustic look. He named it “Hansel”, and it soon became the talk of the town.

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Fairytale Cottage in Carmel by the sea
Fairytale Cottage in Carmel by the sea

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