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"Happiness always looks small when you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and at once you learn how big and precious it is."
Maxim Gorky

Monday, February 4, 2013

I had a dream...

Once upon a time, in 1950, there was a man named Bernard Rogers.
He had a dream.
He said to his wife one day:
"How would you like to live in a house like this?"
He showed her a plasticine model of a funny looking gnome like cottage.
"I think it would be grand!" she replied.
And so he built the dream house and named it Fable Cottage.
It was a home to a family for many years but people were always
curious about the funny house in Cordova Bay just outside of Victoria,B.C.
Sometimes the children that lived there woke up to see a bus
full of Japanese tourists outside their gate, wanting to photograph the
strange little house.
It was decided that the house would be opened to the public for all to see
and was a tourist attraction for decades.
Over 2 million people walked through the doors.
It was sold in the '70s to Bob and Anita Lane who continued to run it
 until, sadly, a divorce settlement caused the couple to sell off the house and property.
Instead of demolishing the house, they sold it...
 for $1.
The only stipulation was that it had to be moved off of the original property.
Once upon-another-time there was a man named Wes Ritter.
Since Wes was a dreamer too, he bought the house and moved it
on a barge on the sea, 100 miles north to Denman Island.
He had taken it apart for the move and in the last 4 or 5 years has been piecing it
back together as his home.
And hopefully he lives there happily ever after here.
Once upon-ANOTHER-time there was a girl named Kerry.
When she was a young lass she longed to go to visit the Fable Cottage, but
sadly the journey never happened.
Then, years later, she was visiting her friend, The Widow O'Reilly, Jane Ann of Denman Island
when some subject led to another in conversation and she mentioned that
she knew the man who had bought The Fable Cottage!
So off they strolled, through the junk...
Past the home made campers...
...and the vintage M.A.S.H vehicles...
To a vision from something out of a fairy tale...
There it was!
The fabled Fable Cottage!
A thing of beauty...
...and uniqueness...
Hand cut shingles...15 times more than a regular roof...
Roof lines that an architect either dreams of or wakes up in a sweat in a nightmare about...
This is a labour of love where a passion for fantasy and design play key roles...
And so the young lass who had a dream as well, will hope to
live happily ever after with this vision of loveliness in her head...


Valerie Brown said...

Thank you SO much for posting this! I did get to go to Fable Cottage when I was a kid, and hadn't thought of it since. I'm so glad that it was saved and still enjoyed!

Rima Staines said...

What an incredible building! Thanks so much for your words on my blog. Pleased to meet you!
With best wishes from the edge of Dartmoor

Stone Angel said...

This is fantastic - how wonderful that you found it. When did you visit there? Also loved the felt slippers post. You Rock!!!

gz said...

like the old lorries too!

have you seen
I wonder if this house is in the book Tiny Homes?

Mairéad said...

What a unique fairy-tale house and how fantastic that someone is living in it.

Suz said...

ha! When i saw it..I thought ...Farmlass should meet Rima Staines...and son of a gun...she was the first comment!
..a match made in heaven...did you love her wee wagon house?
Did you get a peek inside?

The door..the magic, pure magic
glad your little girl inside jumped for joy...this should happen more often to us grown girls!

Kerry O'Gorman said...

I will try to have a visit inside next time since the owner wasn't home and share the wonderful inside bits!

Cobalt Violet said...

What a great story and outcome! I feel like you manifested that outcome!!! So great! Can't wait for you to go back and go inside! It's enchanting!

Anonymous said...

I always wondered what happened to fable cottage. We would visit my mum and dad in Victoria and always take our 3 children there. We have lots of pictures, it was on beautiful grounds. Oh the memories. Thanks for sharing this information.

Sue said...

Thank you for sharing, this post warmed my heart and I always wondered what happened to the fable cottage! I am a Ontario gal but love visiting my sister when she lived in Victoria,, so I was lucky enough to visit the Fable Cottage,,,Thank you!

Corné said...

Thank you for sharing the story of Fable Cottage!

At my very first visit to relatives in my early teens (early 80's, do the math) they took us to this fairy tale house. A Grimm lover since childhood and then regular visitor at Efteling, I recall -and still am- standing in awe for the builder's vision and quality: not a single line was straight, yet so natural! Likewise (and now being a joiner myself), I still have vivid memories of the beautiful handmade furniture, finished in beeswax and shiny like mirrors.
We bought and still keep the little booklet with pictures...

Years ago I learned from my relatives the house had closed down because of too many visitors and "had disappeared afterwards". Every once in a while I told someone about this, it made me search the 'net but to no avail.
And now light has been shed on the history. Somehow it comforts me the house got to live another life, although on a much less fabulous viewpoint.

(Heh, would love to try and find the house myself next time I'm around!)

Diana Bentley-Ramsden said...

I was a tour guide at the Fable Cottage in 1972. It was a lovely place - beautifully built - there wasn't a single nail used in the construction of it. On wet, cold days when there were few tourists, I used to read the books that belonged to the kids. Bob and Anita Lane took over ownership of the cottage shortly after I began working there.

Luan Hajnos said...

35 years ago, my new husband and i went to Victoria for our Honeymoon. We were driving around and spotted this incredible home. As it happened it was open to the public and we were transformed into another world in another time. Just by stepping over the hearthstone, we went back in time to a wonderous man made miracle. That this home was made because of love was inspiring. The love he put into every part of the home and every piece of furniture was incredible. As mentioned before the handmade dining table with (was it 35 coats) beeswax coated by hand over and over to a polish i've never seen on any other piece of furniture in my lifetime. Do you know what happened to the furniture?

I've been thinking of Fable Cottage recently and started searching the web for images. I didn't know the name Fable Cottage, however i knew i'd know it when I saw it. It's as remarkable as it was 35 years ago. Thank you for sharing this with us. Someday, I hope the new owner will open his home to the public as his predecessors did. I would love to take my children and grandchildren to see the home that inspired me to have love first and foremost in my marriage.