If I’m being honest, I would admit to you that I’m a firm believer that birdhouses are having a major real estate crisis. I find that there are less and less folks willing to give up their picture-perfect tree limbs to house a monstrosity that is more or less a wonky, anti-chic decoration that’s meant to attract the very creatures that some have nightmares about (and yeah, by “some,” I mean me). Birds have been a source of discomfort for me ever since I a first popped open a bag of Lays at the beach and found that every seagull that has ever lived also shares my lust for salt (or any food, really) –– and they aren’t the least bit bashful about it.

Their beady little eyes, methodical pecking, and creepy caws…yeah, it’s safe to safe I’ve never been a bird watcher by choice. Some people, though, find their chirps a sign of Spring and “good mornings,” and find joy in the simplicity of watching them buzz about — which is why I imagine birdhouses were originally invented ­–– to give those crazy people what they want! The problem, though, is that the old-fashioned bird-feeders don’t fit today’s Pinterest-worthy aesthetic. Don’t worry, though – as usual, some innovative artist is here to save the day. The name of this crisis’ hero is Douglas Barnhard, Birdhouse Builder Extraordinaire.

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Barnhard is the owner and creative mind behind Sourgrassbuilt, a home décor store based in Santa Cruz, California. They specialize in modern-influenced pieces such as bread boxes, furniture, and, of course, birdhouses. According to their website, they are committed to using high-end repurposed materials purchased in the United States. Barnhard first found entrepreneurial success as a cabinetmaker, and has since expanded his offerings to more unique, custom pieces. His birdhouses, however, have earned the most chatter, as they’ve been featured in places such as My Modern Met and Arch Daily. 

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The birdhouses that have earned him a flitter of fame are certainly worthy of hanging in any backyard. Most of them have been crafted using materials such as wood scraps (including anything from bamboo to mahogany) and succulent tiles. Their real beauty, however, lies in the fact that they are inspired and modeled after some of architecture’s greatest names such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Joseph Eichler. All of Barnhard’s work, including birdhouses and beyond, has a very retro, mid-century modern feel. Speaking to the designs’ abilities to attract feathered friends, ArchDaily comments:

“Some of the designs include living walls of succulents to attract the birds and built-in troughs for bird feed, cohesive with the schemes. These birdhouses center the designs right within nature, something Frank Lloyd Wright would have approved of himself.”

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The birdhouses are currently available for sale through Etsy and on Sourgrassbuilt’s website, with prices ranging from $129.99 to $329.99. Come to think of it, these prices confirm the fact that whatever birds get to perch inside these houses are probably doing better than me. I could be mad, but whatever…expensive mortgages are for the birds.

(See what I did there?)


  1. We purchased the birdhouse “Cubism” which I fell in love with. We have it in our living room to show everyone. The craftsmanship is amazing. We looked through Doug’s shop in Santa Cruz and could easily see how he pays attention to details and he uses only the best materials. He had many cabinets sitting around and they were gorgeous. I could have taken home many of his bird houses as they were so beautiful. I highly recommend his birdhouses to anyone.

    Edna Marr, Portland, OR

    Liked by 1 person

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