Fab Fairy Doors In All Kinds of Places

Quirky / Funky

Red with star fairy door…a perfect copy of its human-sized counterpart. Photo: Celeste Headlee, source: npr.org

Walt Disney had it right all along: “You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.”¹ It seems that artist Jonathan B. Wright, founder of urban-fairies.com took this notion to heart. After all, for almost 20 years he has been installing puny portals called “fairy doors” all over the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Initially, he built his first one to inspire and delight the children from his wife’s home-based preschool program. Soon, his fairy doors went urban, popping up and disappearing “like magic” on the sides, entrances, and even insides of his neighborhood’s struggling businesses. He figured something quirky like this might just help bring interest and “maybe vitalize some interest in the downtown area,” he says.

No doubt. Since I last spoke with Jonathan back in December of 2010 (see our first “Urban Fairy Doors” blog), these fairy doors have continued to mysteriously emerge and disappear not only in Ann Arbor, but all over the country and other parts of the world. For those of us who still believe in Santa Claus, their magic lies in the belief that Tinkerbell might actually live behind one of them, with her friends and family taking up residence in others as well. Additionally, there is another part of their mass appeal which is the architectural attention to detail, often mimicking the character and style of the building on which they appear. From the framing to the hardware, the entryway accessories to the inside furniture and artwork, children of any age are whisked away into a “Never Never Land” kind of experience whenever they witness one of these unique openings. We now return for a visit and to view a few of these special fairy features we’ve not seen before…don’t forget to wipe the magic dust off your feet before entering.

Tree truck fairy door. Source: casualee, etsy.

Now you can install one of these tiny nifty-knockers in your home or garden. This one is prefabbed…river rocks not included.

Pink urban fairy door. Source: via greenbuildingelements.com

This pretty-in-pink portal appeared on the facade of the Selo/Shevel Gallery in Ann Arbor. The charm of its steps, the brick surround, and clothespin flower holder was unmatched. It shortly disappeared after this photo was taken.

Bookshelf fairy doors. Source: urban-fairies.com

Side view of fairy book house. Source: urban-fairies.com

Inside the fairy books. Source: urban-fairies.com

Located in the Ann Arbor District Library is the home of a fairy (and possibly more?) with inside living quarters, furniture, and even wall paper. The shelf sign whimsically, yet authoritatively reads: Please do not touch. These books are out of circulation. Besides there may be someone living in them and it would be rude to disturb them.

Fairyvators. Source: via notcot.com

Fairyvator, too. Source: via notcot.com

These doors are not only urban, they’re city-sleek and mobile…well, not actually up and down, but the doors do slide open like the real thing. Featured in the Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin in Paris, the “Lift”, by Maurizio Cattelan, was a giant hit.

¹. Source: justdisney.com

Have you ever spotted one of these tiny Tinkerbell doors? Where?

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Written By Skaie Knox

Decor/Design/Repurposing nerd and DIYer, brand ambassador, freelance writer, and the editor-in-chief for HomeJelly. Skaie is also a signed and published singer/songwriter (Fervor Records/ASCAP) and kid's book author (Big Bug Lunch!). She was voted "Class Clown", and is a rescue dogs crusader.

  • Louise

    Love your page!

    • http://homejelly.wpengine.com Skaie Knox

      Thanks Louise!

  • http://shop.aussiebubs.com.au/little-fairy-doors-tooth-fairy-kits/ Louise

    One day I will make it to Ann Arbor with my kids to spend our days hunting for faeries and their little homes. I think this is truly and amazing contribution to the town. Inspirational in such a boring, mundane world…love it 🙂

    • http://homejelly.wpengine.com Skaie Knox

      Thanks Louise! We hope you find some one day. Just a note, many of these fairy doors pop up in unexpected places, then, one day, they’re gone. Be sure to check urban-fairies.com for updates on fairy door locations…you never know! One may pop up near you! Thanks for stopping in!