Thomas Kinkade home interior designThe Thomas Kinkade company reports that a new development in Columbia, Missouri, will feature homes modeled on the popular artists’ paintings: 

Thomas Kinkade- inspired homes will be featured in a new master-planned community in Columbia, MO, announced HST Group, LLC, the Northwest-based real estate development firm in charge of the project. About 100 luxury homes will feature architectural designs inspired by the artwork of Thomas Kinkade, the "Painter of Light(TM)" and world-renowned artist.

"The homes will be reminiscent of Thomas Kinkade’s charming cottages that are found in many of his works," stated Rann Haight, Director of Architectural Design for HST Group. "We will also be concentrating our efforts on creating a village atmosphere and neighborhood streetscapes such as those found in Thomas Kinkade’s painting, Lamplight Lane."

The 85-acre community, named "The Gates at Old Hawthorne," will be the second in the country to feature the Thomas Kinkade – Masterpiece Homes brand of design. The finished homes are anticipated to be valued between $500,000 and $1,000,000. Construction is targeted to begin in the fall of 2006 with the first home complete in July 2007. HST Group will design, build, and sell the homes in The Gates at Old Hawthorne.

Those are some expensive houses. This is the second Kinkade development. The first broke ground recently in Idaho, and the houses there are even more expensive.

HST Group has seen a tremendous amount of interest with its first community featuring the Thomas Kinkade – Masterpiece Homes brand. "The Gates of Coeur d’Alene" in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, broke ground in June 2006, and will feature five custom homes with designs replicating the look of manors and cottages found in Thomas Kinkade paintings. The luxury homes, which overlook Lake Coeur d’Alene, will be 5,800- to 11,000-square feet with values starting at $4 million.

What a "tremendous amount of interest" in five houses translates to is anyone’s guess, but evidently Kinkade’s plan to take over the world is beginning to work. Certainly what he and his paintings stand for is nice and pleasant:

"The Thomas Kinkade brand stands for the values associated with home and hearth, peace, joy, faith, family and friends. Partnering with HST in the creation of homes inspired by the artwork of Thomas Kinkade delivers on what collectors tell us inspire them most about Thom’s work — that they wish they could step into the world created in the painting. The Thomas Kinkade Company is pleased to align itself with such a visionary home builder," said Dan Byrne, CEO of The Thomas Kinkade Company.

But the paintings are so exaggerated in their presentation, they tend to make their subject matter seem a bit silly and weird. Kinkade makes Norman Rockwell look like a psycho by comparison. Still, people certainly like Kinkade’s paintings, so his intense evocations of simplicity and striving for transcendence obviously serve some powerful need in modern-day Americans. Kinkade is important not so much for his actual aesthetics as for the values he sells.