Mention birdhouse and most people think of it as a box with a slanting roof resting on wooden walls with a hole on one side. Well, this used to be the conventional form of a birdhouse, but not anymore. This is because the revolutionary designs of Sourgrassbuilt birdhouses have turned the conventional birdhouses on their head.
The creator of these amazing custom mid-century birdhouses is Douglas Barnhard, who designs and builds them in Santa Cruz, California, USA. His handmade birdhouses appear as modern-day apartments with dual-toned wooden panels and architecture to match!
Barnhard creations are influenced by mid-century modern architects like Eicher and Frank Lloyd Wright, known for their Prairie Style of architecture. This architecture incorporates low-pitched roofs, overhanging eaves, a central chimney, and open floor plans. According to them, the open floor plans are an antidote to the confined, closed-in architecture of the Victorian era. Barnhard incorporates this architecture in his unique birdhouses and even equips some with handmade bird feeders.
It’s not only the designs that set Barnhard’s birdhouses apart but also the material he uses to produce them. He prefers to mix textures of wood and colors in his organic birdhouse designs. For this, he purchases only high-end repurposed materials locally from California. However, his main source of wood is the scraps from his cabinet business!
Barnhard, who grew up in Los Angles, California, took Art and Drafting classes in school. His passion for building things with wood got him a job as a cabinet maker. He eventually started his own cabinet business – Design Built – that he pursued for 20 years. However, his love for architecture prompted him to build modern birdhouses to pay homage to his favorite architects. The response was overwhelming and the rest, as they say, is history.
Seeing the positive response, Barnhard decided to start a business of selling birdhouses. This is how Sourgrassbuilt birdhouses came into existence. Not only did his Etsy shop started doing good business, but he was also named the ‘Best Maker’ by Sunset Magazine, followed by features in several magazines. Today, the Barnhard has over 15 different birdhouse designs in his inventory.