Friday, March 23, 2012

Doll House

For Christmas last year, Timm and I decided to make the girls a dollhouse. A sweet dollhouse that would shape their dreams of domestic bliss, imprint indelibly in their memory, and later fight over as adults. Their fighting over it now as children should have been obvious to me, but it turned out to be a bonus. We didn't actually build it from scratch, as we originally planned. A couple years ago we found a dollhouse, 85% completed, on the side of the road complete with the kit instructions and supplies to finish the rest of the house.Unbelievable. It has sat in our garage awaiting our attention until a few months ago. We peeled off old wallpaper (Timm), did a ton of sanding and painting, and built new columns and railing to replace the gingerbread ones supplied in what was obviously supposed to be a Victorian kit. The rest of it was mostly just decorating. Oh, and building furniture.
My main inspiration was this dollhouse, which  leaves me speechless every time I look at it. Which I did often during the construction of ours. If I had more time and money, it would be more fully furnished and decorated, but as it were this was already a combined Christmas present between parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles. So for now, this dollhouse has tapped out.

Let's go inside, shall we?

The Living Room.
For all of the wallpapers and rugs, I used scrapbook paper. All of the wallpapers are from Hobby Lobby, purchased recently. The rugs are old scraps I had on hand and Mod-Podged to the floor. The bookshelf, desk and chair are from ebay. The 'vase' is a painted wooden bead. Timm made the couch, and I made the pillows.
Oh, and those pink wooden blocks? They're minimalist chairs. I found some just like it on a Mid-century/Modern miniatures website (yes, that exists-) for $25. Per cube. For a 2" wooden cube. Yeah, so we made our own. That website by the way, has amazing miniature furniture that you probably didn't know existed. I didn't anyway. However, I don't think it's typically designed for small hands and their imaginations- I think they're designing for more of the serious miniature hobbyist. For instance, if I bought this beautiful $180 sectional that I wish I had in my own living room, I would stand and strictly supervise all play. (More than I already do-) I would employ a guard to protect it when I was unavailable lest my devious children attempt to play with it without my gentle reminding presence.

Which brings me to another point. Everything is glued down. Now I know what you're thinking- 'Wow, how controlling, obsessive and neurotic can you be?' So? What's wrong with that? But here's my defense: 3 year olds are not known for their dexterity, deft hands, and delicate approaches. Not mine, anyway. I knew that if I didn't, everything would be broken and/or lost within days. I did not slave away for so many hours just to have it destroyed so quickly. And as you can see from my referenced website above, doll furniture can be really expensive. (Plus, let's face it- my daughters just don't quite have my design sensibilities yet. If I left it to their design, they'd have that furniture every which way in uncoordinating combinations, unflattering configurations, and really, just downright contrived. I mean to preserve the integrity of the design. Because you know I thought a lot about that.) You're probably still thinking- 'How much fun can it be for them to play with a dollhouse with everything fixed in place?' To which I rely, 'Probably more fun than playing with an empty one because you broke and lost everything.' Also, in my defense- It is the furniture and a few other items that are permanently affixed- they still bring in plenty of other play things to mix things up. And one last item in my defense- on Christmas day, Fiona broke the only 3 things in there that I hadn't glued down yet. Case in point.
If you think I sound defensive, possibly due to my outlined defense, I am. Some people think I am a little too controlling. I don't really see why.

I had a really hard time with some of the furniture- namely couches and beds. The problem is, those widely available are either way too traditional, or as you saw before, way too expensive. I found some that I thought would work with a little reupholstering from me that I ordered on a website. 2 days before Christmas it became evident that that furniture was not coming, so I asked Timm to whip some up. I think I ended up liking his even better- very simple indeed, but pleasing to me. I sewed all the pillows and the like.

A little nook. Furniture from eBay, the books from Hobby Lobby. After much deliberation, I decided to affix the chair legs to the floor, but allow the chair to swivel. Fiona broke it.

And here is our modest kitchen.

All of the furniture if from Hobby Lobby, as are the pots and pans, and cuckoo clock (Which I painted pink)
I did not glue the oven and sink doors closed but I seriously considered it.

Oh wait, that little table is from eBay, along with the food items and the kumquat tree. (!)

I love the kumquat tree- I have always wanted a small citrus tree in my kitchen. I think I might be able to manage that much gardening.

The 'Master' Bedroom

The silhouettes are scrapbook stickers from Holly Lobby, the frame is one I bought from Hobby Lobby and painted. Shelves and tv are from eBay.

Excuse this dresser (from HL). I found out on Christmas Eve that it didn't take spray paint too well. Out of time, I decided to leave it for another undetermined time.

The Kid's Room

The furniture (besides the bed) are from eBay, as well as the book rack. I made the bulletin board.

I appropriated some small items to furnish the kid's room, i.e. the elephant and the ball. Seeing as they were permanently adhered, it didn't go over too well with Bella. At least I reached my goal of having one of my kids cry over their main gift on Christmas day. I promised to resupply the items.

The pennant is a scrapbook sticker.

I love this chevron fabric, so I stitched along the lines to define it. A real quilt for the dolls!

And that's the house. We haven't done much with the top floor yet, but it's destined for a play room. I just sewed a couple of tufted floor cushions for the little alcove and called it good for now.


We found some Martha Stewart glitter paint that was absolutely perfect for mimicking the look of a real roof.

And lastly, we bought a coffee table from Ikea for about $30 and put some casters on it. A perfect fit.

Fortunately, it was received as warmly as we hoped. It is a great size for their mini La La Loopsy dolls who populate the abode.
 Go handmade!
(With the aid of many mass-produced items...)


Traveling Nut said...

Oh My Gosh I love it! So much work, but they will play with it as children and talk about it as adults. The gift that keeps on giving.

Watson Family said...

How gorgeous!!! I love the time and detail y'all put into making it so personal and lovely. A treasured heirloom piece for your daughters, for sure!!!

michelle said...

Well, I didn't see your inspiration piece, but this one leaves me speechless!

I did think you were a little crazy for gluing everything down, but I can see your point.

The exterior is just as darling as the interior!

I didn't see any of the pieces I sent for Christmas, though! They didn't make the cut?

Jill said...

Wow, this is painfully cute!!!

patsy said...

Wow-- this is amazing!!

I totally agree with gluing things down. They can add more things & will add more things to it. But the main house will always be nice & that way they will play with it more. As a broken up mess- they would not want to play with it.

I just CANNOT believe you found this on the side of the road? I wish the people who left it could see what you've done with it!
thanks for sharing!

Megan said...

It's fantastic! Love your colour theme throughout the house and your furniture is so fab. Glad mine was such inspiration for you :) I really should have glued my furniture down- you should see the state of ours now!!! altho i have taken quite a bit of the little things out- probably will be at least 5 years before it goes back seeing as my baby will be on the move soon! going to share this on my mousehouse FB page- there are a lot of dollshouse reonvators out there at the moment!!

Molly said...

I am speechless.

Except to say, "Can I live there?"

Unknown said...

Just as cute as I remembered! Good post for all.

michelle said...

I want a kumquat tree.

Denise said...

And here I was wondering if there was a way to send the Barbie house Grandpa built and I decorated for Charlotte and Emily. Sheesh--what was I thinking! Your girls' dolls don't want to live in a house that needs to be flipped!

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