Ticky Tacky Little Houses.
by victoria comment


“Little boxes on the hillside, Little boxes made of ticky tacky
Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes all the same
There’s a green one and a pink one and a blue one and a yellow one
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky and they all look just the same….”

San Francisco-based photographer and writer Todd Lappin (aka, Telstar Logistics) has a most excellent set of ticky, tacky little homes from the Westlake District of Daly City, California posted on his flickr photostream. One of America’s first master-planned postwar suburbs, Westlake was the “inspiration” for Malvina Reynolds’ song Little Boxes, which became a hit for folk singer Pete Seeger in 1964 and which has recently been revived as theme music for the TV show Weeds. The lyrics couldn’t described these funny, and yet charming little box houses any better.

Todd has a great eye, and I always love the sense of humor his photos often suggest. You may have seen Todd’s own amazing House Tour on Apartment Therapy awhile back, and we plan to do an updated tour of his home on Unexpected Guests very soon. You can follow more of Todd’s Telstar Logistics discoveries on his blog.

21 responses to “Ticky Tacky Little Houses.”

  1. This is my DREAM neighborhood! Seriously. I was meant to live there. I’m adding it to my list for Santa right now.

  2. When I was a little kid, my parents would always sing that song derisively when we’d drive through Daly City. Because, you know, we were from The City and we scorned The Suburbs. Funny how as an adult, I find those houses totally charming!

  3. What memories! I grew up in Daly City and know the Westlake area very well. Like Chez Shoes, I didn’t see the appeal as a kid; but now, I get it. I miss those funky little homes, but don’t miss the DC fog!

  4. Unless that topiary is a growing trend, I think I went to an open house for the first picture. Small world!

  5. i really THANK YOU for the post! i definitely would love to live in a ticky tacky Little boxes house someday! ^_^

  6. I love this! I spent a lot of time in the Westlake area growing up – it was right near my Grandma’s house, and I had a few school friends who lived there. I always thought it was *normal*, but seeing it like this really makes you see how it’s something out of a technicolor-Edward Scissorhands sort of reality.

    Also in that hood is Westlake Joe’s. It’s a total time-warp. I used to take my Great-Aunt there for dinner – they pour huge, boozy cocktails, and there’s even a real working cigarette vending machine in the bar.

    Props to Westlake! They don’t make them like that any more…

  7. You just made my day! I lived in the Westlake neighborhood in Daly City for a couple years and loved driving through the streets, admiring the homes just like the ones pictured here.

    I now live in the midwest and have been thinking of SF lately. I truly miss it!

  8. I have a crazy fondness for those cute little box houses. I live in a neighborhood in LA full of “ding bat” apartments, and I cry inside every time one of them gets ripped out and replaced with something more modern.

  9. Cuteness! And right now the hubs and I are on a wedds marathon :) so now that song has been in my head for the past week!
    the rap version of the song is definitely the best!

  10. I forgot about those houses. I thought they looked so dated when I attended SFSU in the early 80’s. Now they look cool!

    Kathy H.

  11. The first house pictured is the same layout of my dad’s house in Westlake when he was growing up. And that is were we visited Grandma.

  12. Oh yes, my brain always loops that song when driving past this district on the highway. It’s a given :)

    Thanks again Victoria.

  13. All things considered these houses are gorgeous compared to the post-war bungalows in Toronto not to mention the contemporary sprawl that’s happening to us right now.

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