The RADIANT “Charlotte’s Barn”
Step into the story this summer at Cheekwood’s Storybook Houses! The young and young at heart will 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.
Come see the TERRIFIC barn playhouse, complete with farm animals, a life-sized spider web, and spiral slide! Inspired by the illustrations of Garth Williams, the Wills Company designed and built “Charlotte’s Barn” with assistance from the Tennessee College of Applied Technology students.
Ridley Wills, Owner and Design Director of The Wills Company stated, “When Cheekwood’s President and CEO Jane MacLeod invited us to participate in bringing to life an illustrated children’s book for the upcoming exhibit, we were thrilled and a bit daunted by the 8-week timeline, from initial call to design to actual construction. E.B. White created a story with great heart that is sweet, good, and kind and it also allowed our team to have fun being creative, which is our passion! As a design and build firm we play both the architect and the builder, so we are always focused on creating beautiful projects within budget. Mr. Zuckerman’s barn with Charlotte, Wilber, and all their animal friends is no exception.”
Whether you’re 3 or 73, you can appreciate these charming playhouses. Feel the nostalgia for a simpler time as you see the vibrant blue windmill spinning in the wind. Hear the ringing of the bell fill the air as giggling children race their way to the top of the life-sized spider web. See Charlotte working hard spinning RADIANT above you as you enter Zuckerman’s barn. Slide down the winding spiral slide as you follow Templeton through the silo as he helps Wilbur and the gang. Make your way through the hay-filled barnyard to climb on Wilbur’s back. This endearing playhouse will have you jumping, sliding, playing, crawling, and climbing your way through the beloved tale of unlikely friendship.
Some other whimsical playhouses include “Oh, The Places You’ll Play” inspired by Dr. Seuss, “Hill Top Garden” inspired by Beatrix Potter, “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.
Special Thanks to Our Contributors
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.