The Thomas Kincaide housing development in Vallejo, California

With the recent passing of Thomas Kincaide, one columnist takes a look at a development in Vallejo, California built with Kincaide’s name on it:

Named the Village, a Thomas Kinkade Community, it promised residents a “vision of simpler times” with “cottage style homes that are filled with warmth and personality.” Its slogan: “Calm, not chaos. Peace, not pressure.”…

The homes in the Village look a lot like other tract homes in Hiddenbrooke, but with Kinkadean touches such as steeply gabled roofs covered in faux-slate tile, gingerbread trim, front porches and stone facades.

Residents see their homes and neighborhood as unique and distinctive.

Teri Booth, an original owner, says she bought her home because “it didn’t look like every other McMansion.”

Homes here average 2,400 square feet. The four models were named after Kinkade’s daughters – Merritt, Chandler, Winsor and Everett. The styles might be described as pseudo Victorian, pseudo French provincial, pseudo New England cottage and pseudo arts and crafts.

The streetlights (electric) look like Kinkade’s gaslight logo and the walkways (stamped concrete) resemble cobblestones.

This reminds me of the Disney-built Celebration, Florida and Martha Stewart homes. Some homebuyers are looking for a distinctive house, a world of not “every other McMansion” but rather a Thomas Kincaide McMansion! (Interestingly, this article suggests that the Kincaide homes are a pastiche of styles, a common complaint about McMansions. These homebuyers also seem to like being tied to a famous person or company. Perhaps this is reassuring or perhaps it means that there might be a bigger market for the homes as they are distinctive. (Alas, as the article suggests, home prices in a Kincaide neighborhood can fall as well.) The Village also seems to promote nostalgia and traditional neighborhood life, as do many other developments and builders.

Why have just a painting when you can buy a Thomas Kincaide house?

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