Near the crossroad of Southwest Boones Ferry and Day Road, a gateway to another world awaits. As if transported from an enchanted forest, a 200-square-foot storybook cottage — one usually reserved for the likes of Snow White and her dwarves — stands in direct contrast to the modern vehicles racing toward the busy intersection. Complete with stained glass windows, wood trimmings and even an atrium, the cottage is the stuff of fairytales.
"It started with building my folks something nice to look at," cottage owner John Stanhope says. "With the property and zoning changes they lost a little bit of the view as trees were cut down. I thought I would build them something nice to look at on the other side of their pond."
His idea sparked the construction of not only one, but two playhouse cottages, the larger of which is now for sale. Nicknamed Gnome House and Troll Lodge respectively, the smaller Gnome House was constructed first around seven years ago near the pond, in view of the main house. The second cottage followed a few years later, adjacent to the road.
"People only see one of them from the road, but there's actually two," Stanhope says. "I thought I would make the second one modular and build it out front. Because it's modular, it's made of little boxes that plug-in, like Legos. It's kind of fun to build that way, and it means it's customizable. Parts of the second story can become part of the first simply by taking out one plug-in and placing it somewhere else."
The cottage is a conversation starter for many in the Wilsonville area, including passerby Edith Sanguinetti Alben, who often wondered about the cottage origins.
"The little cottage on Boones Ferry road seemed out of place for the neighborhood. It looked like something from a little European village, or a movie set," Alben says. "Not what you expect to find at the edge of a plowed field along a busy thoroughfare, although the wooded backdrop was just right."
"The trees on the property inspired the architecture style," Stanhope says of Troll Lodge. "It's the best look for Oregon, though it does have some German influences."
Stanhope even drove all the way up to Mt. Hood so he could ensure a paint match from Timberline Lodge. It's just one example of his dedication to the details and his quest to ensure quality.
"Some of the windows are 100 years old and from London, others I salvaged from a house in Eastmoreland.
Stanhope's knack for construction stems from his childhood, where he honed his craft by building treehouses. To this day, Stanhope continues to grow his talent, wanting to make the most of his summers in Oregon.
"It's fun to have a project. I come out for the summer, and I don't just want to sit around," Stanhope says. "I've always built treehouses, even as a kid," Stanhope says. "The people that bought my (childhood) house from my parents kept the treehouse I built — it lasted for years and years."
Now, Stanhope is looking to sell Troll Lodge to a passionate buyer, wanting a happily ever after for the cottage he put so much heart into.
"This was a labor of love," Stanhope says. "There's still more to be done, but those finishing touches will have to wait until someone buys it. It's a buyer's market when it comes to enchanted cottages."