3 Ways to Enjoy “Oh, The Places You’ll Play”
Step into the story this summer at Cheekwood’s Storybook Houses! The young and young at heart will all enjoy these five large-scale outdoor playhouses inspired by beloved illustrators and brought to life through a collaborative effort of talented local architecture and building firms.
Inspired by the illustrations of Dr. Seuss, this playhouse features three whimsically connected, multicolored houses complete with a slide and music-makers. Sam Wible AIA, Hastings Project Lead, explained that the playhouse was designed to embrace a child’s sense of exploration through play and movement. The playhouses create a miniature, child-sized Seussian world dominated by color, music, and exploration.”
1) Colors, colors everywhere!
In true Dr. Seuss fashion, these vibrant houses immediately grab the eye. With a saturated bright blue, pale green, and Cindy Lou pink, each house brings a different-sized world of wonder to the children inside with new instruments and color. Constructed out of an innovative new material called Cross Laminated Timber, even the wood grain is swirly and whimsical. Scramble up the rainbow rock-climbing wall to see the happy yellow painted sides of the houses and embrace the colorful wonderland
2) The sounds of music!
Located next to the Herb Garden, amidst the bubbling noise of the water fountain, come hear the shimmering twinkle of bells and laughter! In every window hangs rows of multicolored bells or stringed wind chimes while the doorways are lined with hand-squeezable horns. Ring a bell, call down to your playmate through a speaker phone, or tap to your heart’s content on the xylophone!
3) Last but not least, PLAY!
The elaborate structure encourages an inventive, creative mind to explore. Built along a radius, the multilayered houses mirror a circular pattern, designed by Hastings to promote a child’s continuous movement and energy. On the bottom level of the houses, play with the music-makers and gaze in awe at the colorful world around you. Climb the rope ladder or rock wall to get to the top level where there are even more instruments, climbing nets, and wonky windows to see the gorgeous gardens surrounding you.
Some other whimsical playhouses include “Hill Top Garden” inspired by Beatrix Potter, “Charlotte’s Barn” inspired by Garth Williams, “We Are Wild” inspired by Maurice Sendak, and “TRAINS!” inspired by Loren Long. Storybook Houses opened on May 1st and will be on view throughout our gardens until September 1st. From June 22 through September 1, visitors may also enjoy Childhood Classics: 100 Years of Book Illustrations in the Museum Galleries.
Summertime at Cheekwood, Storybook Houses, and Childhood Classics: 100 Years of Children’s Book Illustrations are presented by Vanderbilt Health. The “TRAINS!” exhibit and new depot feature are made possible by Jim Crossman. Additional support for Storybook Houses has been provided by Sara and Richard Bovender, Karyn McLaughlin Frist, Kailey and JR Hand, Sharalena and Dick Miller, and an anonymous donor.
Special thanks to Hastings
- Sam Wible AIA
- Leigh Fitts AIA, LEED AP
- Erich Ritzhaupt AIA
- Laura Hollier AIA, LEED Green Associate
- Katie Laughinghouse
- Emilee Wilson
- Andy Cho
- Carter Group, General Contractor
- Graham Montgomery of Montgomery Structures, CLT Structural Advisor
- CLT provided by Calum Dodson of International Beams
- Paint donated by Sherwin-Williams
- Hardware donated by Will Leveret of Log and Timber Connections