Say Hello to the Heidi Houses of Highland Park

house in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Heidi house #1, Highland Park

The Orbit is generally not big on cute, or quaint, or anything too goo-goo ga-ga–that is, unless you get all doe-eyed for fading paint or crazy person graffiti. But if these elfin charmers don’t warm your heart, well, then you have no heart to warm. Tucked away in the back corner of the one-way-in/one-way-out Cordova Road circle in Highland Park sit two lovely little fantasy cottage-houses straight out of Hans Christian Andersen, or maybe The Sound of Music.

With its peaked Alpine roof, pointed turret entrance, Tolkien door, and cattywumpus brickwork, the first of these is really the picture perfect Heidi house. As we visited, its front garden was in full bloom, a hodge-podge of unmatched flora that echoed the irregular, asymmetric design of the house.

The impossibly narrow dormers must provide absurdly little daylight to the second floor, but they sure look great on the outside! In fact, I expect this house is probably a lot better fantasy than practicality–but we’d rather spend our time in the astral plane.

house in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Heidi house #1 in full Spring bloom

Right next door, there’s a slightly more conventional, but equally magical home. Its front dormers cut into the porch roof with gentle curves that suggest excited brows to the windows’ ogling eyes; the porch below a grinning gap-toothed smile. And what’s not to smile about? The thick piled stone supports and wood railing look equal parts Bavarian der kutenhaussenmaken (look it up) and woodsy Adirondack lodge.

Both properties have an idyllic setting up against the thick wood of Heths Run Greenspace that extends as far as one can see and must make the perfect silent shady backdrop to their inevitable side decks.

house in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Heidi house #2, Highland Park

Bonus! Just around the corner on King Avenue sits what can only be described as a set of Heidi row houses, for, you know, when Heidi comes into the city. One solid block of five adjoined residences in a similar (if less dramatic) Teutonic style to the two houses on Cordova. The roofline cuts at an unusual angle allowing dormers on both the second and third floors, casement windows, and deep, pre-A/C porches, guaranteed to keep herself cool even in the worst summer humidity.

connected three-story rowhouses in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Heidi row houses

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