Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My $5.00 house

Remember I said that a couple of thrift shop finds lit the spark that got me into dollhouses? I showed you the house that started it all in a recent blog (, but I haven't shown you my second find.

This is an entry level dollhouse kit designed for children. It has rounded corners, is not easily tipped over, and is strong enough for the child to sit on. It has four basic rooms and an attic. I was delighted to find it in Goodwill on a half price day for only $5.00 (they had $9.99 on it originally - and I would have bought it for that). I'm just a kid at heart, after all.

The house is shown here with it's new wallpaper, but no floors yet, except the blue carpet that was there when I bought it.

The funny thing is I had been  out 'thrifting' all afternoon and evening, as I had a rental car that day. I got to this particular Goodwill just minutes before closing time. As I drove into the parking lot and I said to myself, prophetically as it turns out, "I need another doll house."  I spotted it through the window before I was out of the car, and I couldn't get into the store fast enough. 

This house is really heavy. I had trouble lifting it into the shopping cart, but I managed. It was one of those thrift shop days where you find a bunch of stuff, and I had to load the cart around the dollhouse. I think I bought a painting or two and some books, but one of the items I bought was a small sturdy table (like an end table) that is the same size as the dollhouse base. The house is still sitting on it just inside my living room.

One of the men at Goodwill helped me put it in car, but when I carried it into the house I hurt my back, and suffered the hells of painful back spasms for a few weeks.  It was not fun, but I was still thrilled about my find.

I decided to decorate it as a 1930s house to go with the nice set of Strombecker furniture I had won on eBay. So, armed with a $25.00 gift certificate my daughter had given me for Christmas, she and I subwayed and bussed it up to the Little Dollhouse Company on Mount Pleasant Avenue, here in Toronto.

Now, all of you reading this know that $25.00 is just a drop in the bucket when you walk into a doll house store. Ah, I was so naive then. I didn't know what treasures were available. I had never heard of Bespaq, or Bodo Henning, or Reutter porcelain. I was about to get an education.

My bargain dollhouse was in the store. It had a price tag of $79.95 for the kit, or $139.95 assembled. Talk about purchase reinforcement. It was very handy to have the dollhouse there when choosing wallpaper and floors. My daughter and I sat on the floor beside the house and tried several options. 

The store staff was great. They hung up our coats, offered suggestions and helpful hints and didn't say a discouraging word as we hunkered down, blocking one of the aisles to make our choices. I ended up spending $145.00, but I enjoyed my first adventure in the Dollhouse store and my first wallpapering job even if it isn't perfect. 

The living room. You can see I had a few papering problems, but I will fix them soon with a new sheet of wallpaper.

I love this little house and have a lot of plans about painting the outside with trees and flowers, and finishing the trim and windows. Until that day comes I am enjoying it as it is, full of the gorgeous Stombecker furniture and a metal kitchen appliances from Marx (I think).

The furnished living room as you see at the top of this blog.

The bedroom with bedspreads cut from an embroidered bun basket cover and real oil paintings on the walls

The dining room. I love this paper and enjoy the parquet floor pattern. Don't you just love the little tea cart? The large cabinet in the background is not Strombecker or old. It just needed a place to live.
Grandmother's kitchen is bright with cherries, a 'tile' floor and 'tin' ceiling

More soon.



  1. For a $5.00 house, you made it quite the litte "home!" Congratualtions on your find! I guess you found out that even $145.00 doesn't go to far in a dollhouse shop! LOL! I love Ebay! I have found many wonderful treasures there and far too many dollhouse kits! 12 at last count! I will be building until I take my last breath! (my husband said that)!

  2. You sound like me. I can't resist a treasure. I have been rescuing dollhouses from Craigslist and Kijij, so most are already built, but I did get one kit. The Apple Blossom, for $75.00. I want to do a few more renovations before I tackle the kit. I think I have at least 12 houses too. I admit, I'm addicted. LOL

  3. Hi Susan (we both share the same 1st name :)

    I must congratulate you on what you have done to the dollhouse! A real charmer. I will be back to read more of your mini-ventures. Thank you for following my blogs :)! See ya soon

    Sans( Susan)

  4. Thanks Susan. I enjoy your blogs. I am enjoying this whole blogging community. It's so much fun to learn how to do mini things and follow everyone's adventures.
    Susan was the most popular girl's name the year I was born - over half a century ago. I don't think it's back in style yet so I am guessing you are over 40 - like me ;)


  5. I really like the living room you feature at the top of this blog! Did you make the couch and chair or did you buy them somewhere? They have an interesting, used furniture sort of look.

    Thanks, too, for subscribing to my blog!
    George Held

  6. Oh, it's lovely! :) You did a nice job. :)

  7. Thanks Dales Dream. You've made my day!

    George the Miniguy asked about the living room furniture at the top of this blog. It is Stombecker - US made dollhouse furniture from the 1030s. The chair and sofa are flocked with a green fuzz. I love them. Most of the furniture in this house is Strombecker. I got them on ebay.


  8. I am that way, too. I bought a dollhouse at a garage sale for $3.85! It was in bad shape, but I fixed it up best I could and eventually sold it for $30. I have a dollhouse I bought for $15 at a garage sale, another one from a garge sale for $20 and from Craig's list one for $20. I make a lot of things, as you can see from my blog.

    Susan Ghearing