Ohio dentist makes the world's sweetest gingerbread houses

Dec. 13, 2012

John Learner is a dentist with his own practice in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, who signs each email—even those to people 1,000 miles away—with "keep flossing." His bread and butter is root canals, bonds, veneers, and general check-ups—but his decadence? Gingerbread, frosting, candy canes, rootbeer barrels, Pop Tarts, and hundreds upon hundreds of sticks of gum. To Learner, dentistry is nothing but "the bothersome, time-consuming job that keeps me from making gingerbread houses 24 hours a day," and he's dedicated to making the most immense and ostentatious architectural replicas in the country. Each house—many of which take two men to carry and some of which top out at around 85 pounds—is based on a real-life building or architectural trope, but with thousands of punchy, sticky-sweet details to make each project look like holiday decor on a mind-bending sugar high.

Take, for example, his replica of the Carson Mansion, a grand Victorian home in Eureka, Calif. His version, above, takes the already fanciful and detail-heavy façade and pushes it into near-insanity with a rock-candy and waffle cone turret; Swedish Fish gables; a Ring Pop and candy cane wraparound porch; and a Fruit Roll-Up-wrapped colonnade. Each inch is crowded with detail, from dots of pea-sized jawbreakers to tiny butterflies and hearts punched out of stick gum. He takes pride in the minutia, the textures, and the sheer size of his houses. "I like my gingerbread houses to be three feet tall and too big to wrap my arms around," he says.

To read more and see pictures of Dr. Learner's gingerbread houses, visit Curbed.com.