Gingerbread Cottage: Planning


I’ll just get right to it, this is a project that I have been dreaming of for many, many years. I feel like I sound like a broken record complaining about how I have no time around the holidays to try new recipes/take on projects but it is just such an annoying fact of my life. I know that I’m getting better; I decided that homemade Christmas gifts either get made before December or not at all. I have streamlined my cookie baking to a mere twelve dozen (or so). I’m learning to say no to gatherings that I have neither the time nor the inclination to attend. But still I have not worked out how to squeeze in the not so tiny task of planning, designing, building, and decorating this damn gingerbread house.

fullsizeoutput_3761Until now (fingers crossed). Last year, in that wonderful limbo between Christmas and the New Year when time doesn’t really seem to count at all, I sat down and started planning. Math is not my strong suit but still I managed to emerge from the post-Christmas haze with a vaguely architectural blue print of what I had in mind and I managed to cry only once (though I foresee more tears come assembly). I now realize I should try to give some context for what I am actually attempting to do. Sit tight, this might be a long one.


I take my Christmas movies very seriously. I have a handful of favorites that I must watch every December or else I feel uneasy. These include White Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Love Actually, and, my favorite were I forced to choose only one, The Muppet Christmas Carol. The newest addition to this beloved canon is the 2006 Nancy Meyers film The Holiday. I love everything about this movie but the one aspect that strikes such a chord with me is the house that the character Iris lives in, “Rose Hill Cottage”, which is set in Surrey in the south-east of England. I mean, it’s a Nancy Meyers movie so gorgeous sets are a give in but this one is particularly exceptional. It’s a house that I geekily fantasize about living in but, since I do not live in England nor does this house actually exist, I will have to make do with building it for myself–out of gingerbread.

the holiday cottage
The image pictured (as well as a few below) are from Hooked on Houses, a website that has been an immense resource to me in this project.

The first step in this process is planning and designing the templates for the house pieces (walls, roof, windows, doors, etc.). To do this, I literally handed over my badly drawn blueprints to my dad, and since he excels at math and also loves me, he essentially built me a mock up of the house. He also made me toothpick bridge for my high school physics class that won a prize. Then a toothpick Eiffel Tower just for fun. He’s a great guy, my dad.


So now, with my templates made, the next step is the actual gingerbread baking which is a role I am much better suited to than architecture. Each week I’ll be posting my progress and hopefully, in a month’s time, I’ll have something at least vaguely resembling “Rose Hill Cottage”. At the very least I’ll be able to free up some mental space for other things. Maybe I’ll get very good at math. Probably not.


Stay tuned and wish me luck!

P.S. Here’s some more images of the movie set construction of “Rose Hill Cottage” that I’ll be working from…



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