Dentist John Learner will most likely tell you to keep your sweet tooth under control -- but his is running wild. Gingerbread, Pop Tarts, fruit roll-ups, icing, candy canes, hundred of pieces of gum: These are a few of his favorite things. It's not that he's eating them, though. He's using the sweets to build some of the most outlandish gingerbread houses you've ever seen.
"I like my gingerbread houses to be 3 feet tall and too big to wrap my arms around," Learner, who owns his practice in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, told real estate blog Curbed in a recent interview.
That's not an exaggeration. Some of his most prized gingerbread creations top out at 85 pounds and take two men to carry, according to Curbed. With roofs made of up to 60 Pop Tarts, walls of dried icing an inch thick, turrets made of rock candy and waffle cones and wraparound porches constructed from candy canes, some of Learner's most detailed projects have taken nine months to complete.
It's no wonder why it takes so long: Each of his gingerbread houses are models of real buildings from around the world, built with breathtaking detail. His latest project, a candied replica of the 64,500-square-foot Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens estate in Akron, Ohio, has been three years in the making.
With Learner's unwavering dedication to his hobby, you'd think it was his job. And, truth be told, dentistry is "the bothersome, time-consuming job that keeps me from making gingerbread houses 24 hours a day," he told Curbed.
Just how impressive are Learner's sweet creations? Click through the gallery below to compare Learner's gingerbread houses to the actual estates they're modeled after.
See John Learner's Sweet Gingerbread Houses
Ohio Dentist John Learner's Gingerbread Houses Will Give You a Toothache
This private high school in Cleveland is an architectural masterpiece. Let's see how Learner sweetened it up.
It took Learner nine months to complete this replica of the Carson Mansion. Aside from gum and candy -- two staples of his creations -- he also used Twizzlers, sugar and fettucini to construct this gingerbread house.
The Masonic Temple in Kent, Ohio, is a grand building that is listed on the National Register of Historic places. It originally housed the founding family of the town of Kent. Let's see how Learner sweetened it up.
The walls of Learner's replica are 3 inches thick with gingerbread. He used Twizzlers of varying colors for the spires, and all-white candy sticks and mints for the columns along the porch. There are 36 sugar cubes incorporated into his design.
This country estate in Akron, Ohio, ranks as the seventh largest home in America. It measures 64,500 square feet, sitting on 3,000 acres. The daunting size didn't stop Learner from taking it on in a scaled-down gingerbread replica.
A work in progress, Learner's massive replica of the Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens is two years in the making. He hopes to have it completed for the building's 100th anniversary in 2015.
Photo: Courtesy of John Learner
Though Learner didn't use a specific building to create his version of "Hansel and Gretel's Condominium," as he calls it, he drew on inspiration from classic German row houses, characterized by their ground floors being smaller than their upper floors. The roof of this creation was made with 60 Pop Tarts.
The white parts of the facade are layers of citing about an inch thick. Caramel squares, pretzel squares and shortbread cookies adorn the replica. The X's you see along the windows are sticks of Orbit gum encased in the icing.