Friday, January 14, 2011

We all want our tiny houses Built-Rite

Built-Rite structures were made by Warren Paper Products Company which was founded in 1921 by Donald M. Warren. It started out manufacturing paper boxes for producers of candy, apparel, jewelry, and other items.

In the early 1930's the company began producing dollhouses made of paperboard, colorful picture puzzles, paper forts, gas stations and other paper toys.

The  architectural details and room furnishings reflected the styles of the time. The buildings were designed to be easily assembled and disassembled by children.

Many houses were built as replicas of actual homes and were marketed though Life Magazine as a selling tool for the magazine's house plans.

I was lucky enough to acquire three of these lovely houses recently. They came in small flat boxes, and the bottom of the box is the base for the house. The smaller one-room houses have printed carpets on the box bottom surrounded by a flower strewn lawn. The large houses have the floors, lawn, driveway, etc. printed on them

The first three pictures show the box tops.

 These houses are all 1/2 inch scale. The large house has two stories with a garage. I have seen pictures of this house with another room where the garage is. It is advertised as having five rooms which all open at the back.

This house has only three rooms as the upper floor is not divided and is one big room.

A cardboard car was included with this model.
 The smaller houses have one room only. The stucco one is complete except for one piece of the chimney. I love the Spanish feel to this house.

Each of the houses has movable shrubs and pets that fit into slots in the base.
The inside of the Spanish house has plain cardboard walls. The windows and door are cut in the cardboard and scored so that they open.

Mr. Man-About-Town is lounging on the Tootsietoy sofa while he chats with his cloche-hatted hostess. He is painted bisque in a felt tuxedo, and she is an all bisque doll with a molded, glazed hat. She is wearing her original dress and still has her wrist tag that says "Made in Germany".

I love the daffodils on the base of the box.
The red brick house appears to have a tile roof. The box top shows a wire haired terrier on the lawn, but it is missing. I borrowed this cat from the big house next door.

I used Tootsietoy kitchen furniture and a couple of 1930s dolls to furnish the inside of this house.

It looks like it has marigolds on the base.
Here is the back of big house. I love the dog house and hollyhocks on the back of the garage.

I choose furniture for it from the Rooms-in-Miniature sets that were sold in the 1964 Sears Christmas Catalogue. The furniture is wood and fabric. It was made in Japan for the Miner Industries.

I have stacked the wall units on the left wall of the dining room to create a shelving unit. The original plan was to glue these to the walls. They would look something like those Ikea hanging shelves you can buy today.

The furniture is very Mid-Century-Modern.
These little Grecon dolls are just the right scale for the furniture. This young man is chatting with Grandma Grecon while he waits for Gayle to get ready for their date. Grandma is telling him all about the cats and their cute habits. He is wondering how much longer Gayle will be.
Gayle is upstairs getting ready. She is trying to remember why there is no bathroom up there.

Finally they are off for the evening in the cardboard car.
Here is a page from the 1964 Sears Catalogue showing the Rooms-in-Miniature.


  1. Too Cool! I especially love the Spanish style house! How intereting that they were used to sell real houses! The Grecons look very happy in them. C

  2. I CANNOT thank you enough for posting the Sear furniture ad! I have seen the living room pieces labeled as "Pacifico" in the past and had wondered about their origins. Amy and Mini Modern both have the living room sets and these pieces are definitely on my wish list. I didn't realize that there were other sets and that it sold through Sears. How did you identify the pieces as Sears? Can I ask where they are from? Thanks again!!!

  3. Wonderful houses and wonderful photos, these three pieces look like a little village, even a car parks on its small lanes...

  4. Thank everyone! I love that I can make a street with these houses. I can't take them outside right now because of all the snow, but I plan to take an outdoor picture in the spring, so that it looks like a street.
    CallSmall, I got the Rooms-in-Miniature on eBay. I knew what they were before I bought them because I saw them in Dian Zillner's book, Dollhouse And Furniture Advertising, 1880s-1980s. These sets are pictures on page 111.
    I also saw them on This site has copies of several Christmas catalogs and is a wonderful resource for identifying dollhouses and accessories. Have a look.