The Fading Romance of America’s ‘Cinderella Homes’

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The Fading Romance of America's 'Cinderella Homes'

The Fading Romance of America's 'Cinderella Homes'

All fairy tales fade. But few ever sparkled as deliberately as the Cinderella Home.

This story starts in 1954 in Downey, California, just outside Los Angeles, where Jean Valjean Vandruff built his first Cinderella Home. These low-slung, ranch-style houses, marked by high-gabled, shake-shingle roofs and decorative gingerbread trim, sold a fantasy. These were storybook homes, designed through and through to appeal to the nuclear family at the dawn of the Atomic Age.

They also sold dreams of Western expansion and middle-class membership—dreams that have faded as much as the homes themselves.

All You Can Lose Is Your Heart (Kehrer Verlag, 2015), a book of photos by KayLynn Deveney, measures the distance between the dream of the Cinderella Home in the 1950s and the truth of today. Deveney has spent the past 6 years photographing Cinderella Homes, which she first came to know in Albuquerque, where she grew up, and where she worked as a staff photographer for The Albuquerque Tribune in the 1990s. […]

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