Sunday, September 5, 2010

Two generation Schoenhut Dollhouse

A few years ago my son asked me why I had to go to several thrift shops right before Christmas.

"Well, David," I said. "Santa hides my Christmas presents in thrift shops all over the city and it's my job to find them."

The next thrift shop we hit offered up a rare 1600-era barbie outfit on a cheap plastic doll.  I bought it for 50¢. The outfit sells on eBay for $150.00. This was just one of the presents Santa had hidden for me that year.

Apparently, it works for birthdays too.

A few weeks ago a dollhouse showed up on Toronto Kijiji just in time for my birthday. How did the birthday fairy know I was craving an early Schoenhut  dollhouse? I don't know. Maybe Santa told her.

It has a few condition problems, but nothing I can't live with.

I did a little research on Schoenhut houses and found that they made over 80 different styles in the late 20's and early 30's. The earlier ones opened on the sides, as mine does.

It is four rooms, two on each side, and a full attic.

This is one of the smaller houses made by Schoenhut. Tootsie Toy furniture is about the right scale, so I believe it is a bit smaller than 3/4" scale - maybe 1/2" scale.

All the inside windows have the original lace and cardboard valances. The lace is brown, but intact.

The living room has a gorgeous staircase.

Unfortunately the outside windows on the living room side of the house have had a less than ideal existence.

 Maybe I can find replacements or reproductions. Does anyone know?

 I love the locks that hold the sides closed.

The dollhouse came with the Tootsie Toy furniture shown here. This furniture is from the same period as the dollhouse

Also included was the plastic furniture shown here. This furniture is from the early 1960's

And the wonderful 1960's Marx furniture shown here. Plus one orphaned 1950's Strombecker lamp.

So, this was a two generation dollhouse. Purchased new in the late 20's or early 30's when my mother would have been a little girl, and brought back to life in the late 50's early 60's when I was a little girl.

This idea delights me. My mother would have cherished this dollhouse when she was a child. And I would have cherished it a generation later.

This beautiful house did not belong to my mother or to me in the past, but it could have, and it belongs to me now. I plan to keep it safe and pass it along to a new generation who will appreciate it as I do.




  1. Es una preciosidad de casa e imagino que alegria te llevarias al encontrarla.
    Enhorabuena por tan buena compra.
    Los mueblecitos y accesorios del baño y cociña me encantan.
    Ahora poco a poco rehabilitala y disfruta.
    Besitos, May

  2. Så fina hus och så fina möbler! Grattis på din födelsedag!

  3. I love findings like this one, are you going to spruce it up or keep it as it is? I like the idea of keeping my first dolls house, right until my future daughter, or perhaps son, is old enough to look after so that she/he can re-decorate as they wish.

    It's a lovely house though, shame about the living room windows - I'm no help with finding replacements, but I'll keep my eyes peeled for you. :)

  4. Lovely house, Susan! It is really charming. Schoenut houses are truly a find. For replacing the windows, I have not seen many on eBay, but you could always check there for replacement parts. Or you can get them re-fabricated (I did this for my VERO house front doors with Elisabeth Le Pla of ELF Miniatures). Other than replacing the windows, I don't think you have much to do other than enjoy it!! I hope the house was a steal, too ;)

  5. LOve it! You are a true dollhouse magnet! Cheers CM

  6. I'm so glad all these wonderful houses are finding a home with you! This one is lovely - how nice that it came with the original furnishings, and that the periods it was played with match your and your mother's childhoods! I love knowing that a house was loved, and seeing how the children who had it furnished it.
    I'm intrigued by the inside partitions - looking at the downstairs one from the kitchen, it looks a little clumsily made, and fits a bit awkwardly around the architrave of the front door. I don't know anything about Schoenhut dolls houses - do you think the partitions are original? Maybe they just put less work into the inside than the exterior.
    (I'm also intrigued that the furniture seems to have changed colour overnight! I guess you decided that a colour other than cream would look better against the cream-coloured walls.)
    Congratulations, and happy birthday!

  7. Thanks everyone;

    I will make what repairs and renovations I can without changing the integrity of the original dollhouse. I am undecided at the moment about repairing the windows or leaving them as is.I really can't see anyway to repair them unless other windows turn up without a house.

    The windows and shutters are all one piece and are pressed cardboard with the shutters shaped on a mold. They kind of remind me of egg cartons.

    I love the house as is, so I am not too worried about it. I will do a cosmetic repair on the missing sidelight for the front door, but nothing that will damage the original.


  8. Thanks Rebecca;

    So you noticed the furniture change colour in the blog about the family. I cheated by using some Tootsie Toy room settings I already had. They were in much condition.

    I believe the inside walls are original. They are the same kind of wood as the outer walls and the paint it the same. I need to clean them up though. They are still quite dirty.

    You will see the house's Tootsie Toy furniture in the nanny's attic room when I do that post. The nanny must be a bit of a tyrant despite her sweet face. She has her own bathroom up there.