Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The house that started it all

Last November I had a few minutes to kill before my hair appointment, so I popped into Value Village. I like to check out the thrift shops because I am a dollaholic. Miniatures are a new hobby of mine but I have collected dolls since childhood. I especially love the vintage ones I can't afford - the first Barbies, Madame Alexanders, antique bisques. I love fashion dolls, especially if they come with wardrobes and accessories. We can blame my grandmother and mother for this. I was the only girl in the family and they kept me well supplied with any dolls they could find. They didn't have a lot of money so I received rummage sale dolls, dime store dolls, and, always, a new doll from Santa each year.

Anyway to get back to VV last November - at the back of the store I spotted this little handmade dollhouse for $6.99.

I looked at it with curiosity. I didn't need a dollhouse. I had too much stuff in my house as it was. There was no room for this. But I looked at it again and I saw the hand painted bricks and shingles, the red shutters with  a different design on each window, and the little pond on the patio.

I looked inside and saw the built-in fire place, the kitchen wallpaper and the tiny one-inch tiles in the bathroom. The little girl in me cried out for this house that had been made with so much love and such imperfect detail.

Did I dare buy it and take it to my hair appointment? I was taking the bus home after, could I schlep it home from the bus stop? I did. And, I did.

I arrived at my hairdresser and said "Look, I bought a house!" She shook her head and laughed uncertainly. She thinks I am pretty funny most days, but I could tell she was trying figure out if this was a joke of some sort. If it was the joke was on me because in that short six months since November, I have collected about a dozen doll houses. My living room is full, but I am having a ball.

This little house had only four pieces of cheap plastic furniture in it when I found it. I don't know about you, but I torture myself by thinking of the lovely vintage things that got lost between the donor's house and the sales floor. Maybe it left the donor fully furnished, maybe it didn't, but all I got was two cheap toilets, a little sink and a kitchen sink with a pump apparatus attached to it.
You can see that the carpet for the living room is missing. There is a tiny piece of it at the bottom of the stairs.

I love the gold wallpaper in the living room and the askew picture of Bambi over the fireplace. It is glued firmly, it can't be straightened. Some child must have loved this house.

I furnished it with my sparse collection of Marx, Renewal and Reliable (a Canadian toy and doll company) furniture. I think it looks rather elegant now.

The lawn mower and wheelbarrow are Dinky toys, but the scale is perfect, and I think they add something to the garden.

The dog I got at the same estate sale where I found the dining room furniture. He has lost some of his paint, but he makes a good dollhouse dog just the same.

The TV fits in perfectly but needs some parental restraints. If you look into the little eye piece on the back of it you will see a buxom bare-breasted beauty. Push the button on the bottom and you see another one. There are four in all. I have a feeling that this little entertainment system would not have been put into a child's dollhouse back in the 60s.

Does anyone else love this little hand built charmer as much as I do? For me, it was love at first sight.

As with some of my other treasures, I can't imagine how anyone could give this up.



  1. I love your story, you should link with my daughter Fliss, you are like souls
    I look forward to your next post

  2. Mary has left a new comment on your post "The house that started it all":

    I love the house "that started it all!" The pond in the back is a particularly nice touch because most houses don't have an "outdoors" scene that accompany them. I think it's fabulous that you dared buy it then carried it into the hairdresser's with you :-)

  3. Oops, I accidentally rejected a couple of comment. This wasn't on purpose - just clumsy fingers. Please resend them and I promise I won't reject them


  4. So funny about the TV! I love it for the same reasons you do, perfect for your plastic furniture collection. I have old Renewal and other plastic furniture in an old metal house I've had since a girl. It fits much better in your house. Mine is the wrong scale I think for the furniture, but I love the detail in the old plastic pieces. Thanks for sharing so much.
    Mini Hugs, Jean

  5. MiniKat (http://www.blogger.com/profile/15395914933366678553) has left a new comment on your post "The house that started it all":

    You would be surprised at what goes to resale shops after people die and family members aren't to be found or don't care.

    I'm glad you rescued this treasure and are enjoying every moment of it. :-)

  6. I do not think I have ever seen a dollhouse that I did not love. Hand built and crooked or perfectly built and way out of my price range- I love them all. If I were your hairdresser we would have jumped up and down with excitement at your find! I have to giggle at the tv though :)