Happily Ever After
Ivan Spaller and Priscilla Glover create whimsical storybook homes that dot the neighborhoods of South Austin
By Sarah Robb
If these walls could talk, they’d tell an epic tale, one that captivates, amazes and delights. But this is no fairy tale. For nearly 15 years, local castle builders Ivan Spaller and Priscilla Glover, of Spaller Glover, a full-service design-build firm, have captured the imagination of Austinites with their storybook architecture. Popularized in the 1920s, storybook, or fairy tale, structures are one-of-a-kind, defying architectural conventions with a unique blend of art and architecture, whimsy and shrewdness, fantasy and reality.
Spaller Glover’s portfolio shows an unparalleled depth of design that reflects the couple’s respective adventures growing up among the great architectural wonders of the world — the kinds of places that most of us will see only in photographs, or perhaps dream about, and for which craft, construction and design are sacred. And their innovative approach marries timeless design with modern functionality, each space meticulously crafted and profoundly unique, with every angle and curve artfully placed and imbued with meaning.
See all nine photos of Spaller Glover’s whimsical South Austin homes:
Unlike many design-build firms, more than half of Spaller Glover’s projects are speculative — straight from the couple’s own imagination. A bit of Gothic Revival here, some Victorian there, or perhaps a dash of Barcelona Modern — this dynamic duo regularly colors outside the lines and is perfectly at home outside the box. Never ones to shy away from an architectural conundrum or hesitate to take creative risks, they embrace design challenges and relish every minute of it.
Describes Spaller, “Our vision is one of the ‘bespoke home,’ a space that is both functional, creatively adorned and profoundly unique. We have both been fortunate enough to have grown up in different parts of the world, and we both travel extensively now. We come back from a trip, have a new, exciting idea, and we both look at one another and ask, ‘Well, you think they’ll like it?’ Our formative years were really a blessing. To be able to see Europe and the Middle East in the ’70s, the Americas in the ’80s. I’m often nostalgic. Nowadays, people are more cautious. Not all, but more. Where’s the fun? Where’s the folly?”
Looks like it’s all around.