Monday, August 18, 2014

Playing with the packing box - my new Dollhouse

Sometimes I get the urge to make something - or "Craft" as I call it. I had this urge a few weeks ago and oddly enough an opportunity presented itself out of nowhere. I had just visited the Little Dollhouse Company in Toronto to pick up a couple of sheets of dollhouse wallpaper.

After making my purchases I was walking to the bus when I happened to glance into an alley behind a drug store. There were several 'Point of Purchase' cardboard display shelves set out for recycling, and do you know what they looked like to me? Dollhouses!!
The living room
I dithered a bit on what to do with this wealth of raw materials, but the displays were all about 4 feet high, so I finally decided I could take only one of them as I had to go home on city transit.
The dining room

My Mount Vernon prints look great in here

I had almost forgotten I had these wonderful Reutter Porzellan sets. 

I had fun setting up the kitchen with things that had been packed away

I bought the little wine bottles in Paris when  was there with CM

I love the deco look of the living room

I found the orignal painting over the table in Italy and the tea set was a gift
from my friend when we visited the Mount Vernon gift shop in May
I took out all the shelves and folded them flat, then put them in my shopping bag. Then I folded the outside of the display flat and put it under my arm. The inside pieces of the shelves kept flapping around so I tied the thing closed with some string I found in the alley
The flower arrangement is also from Paris.

Here is my finished five room townhouse

The before picture of the cardboard display case

And, the After. I put some marble patterned shelf paper on the outside to cover the advertising

The bedroom at the top of the house
The wallpaper here is a wrapping paper and it didn't glue well. I will probably re-do it.

The maid is preparing the dining room for the next meal.

The ladies bedroom has such lovely furniture - I think it is Hanssan

I love the kitchen
To get home I had to catch the bus to the subway, change to a second subway line, then change again to another bus to get to my house. A daunting task with a four foot by fourteen inch unruly piece of folded cardboard under one arm and a bag full of folded cardboard and dollhouse wallpaper under the other.

Of course the handles on the shopping bag broke as I was exiting the first bus, causing all the other passengers to bottle neck up behind me as I tried to get my cardboard treasure back in order.

I did manage to get everything down the stairs and on to the train, but as luck would have it the train was crowded and there were no seats.

I set the display wall on the floor and balanced the bag of cardboard, which had become quite heavy, on it as I clung to the pole and tried to keep myself and my treasure out of the way of the other passengers.

I changed subway lines and did the balancing act all over again. The train was even more crowded on this leg of the trip, but I finally managed to get me and my treasures off the subway, up the stairs and on to the bus for home.

Once home I set up the display again with its shelves back in place and, miraculously, it was none the worse for wear.

Over the next several days I had so much fun, putting in wall and floor papers and digging out furniture and accessories that I had packed away when the focus of my collection had turned to antique houses.

Pulling out all the lovely new(ish) furniture was like seeing old friends and I remembered the excitement I felt when I first acquired them.

I didn't put a lot of effort into making my new townhouse perfect. The papers don't necessarily line up, and I didn't bother with doors or windows or stairs.

I am very pleased with the final product, though, and I had the urge to run out and drag more cardboard display shelves home.

I restrained myself when I realized that I don't have room for more of these beauties and that I have several dollhouses in the garage that need my attention too.

The rooms measure approximately 14" deep by 14" wide by 8' or 9" high. They are the perfect size my furniture.

With a little more care a beautiful townhouse could be made out of these boxes. The cardboard floors would need some reinforcement as they sag in the middle, and if I was making a permanent house I would line up the wallpaper more carefully and I would put in baseboards and crown moulding, plus maybe some window detail.

But seeing as this was a 'Craft" project and I had such fun doing it, it is just fine for me.

I hope everyone enjoyed the tour. Try making one yourself. It's worth the effort!


  1. What fun! Dunhamn Coconut house style updated! Clever! CM

    1. You are right! It does look like the Dunham's Cocoanut Dollhouse, and I have always been intrigued that house. Now I have my own version for much less than the antique one.

  2. I think that you are a brave soul to have hauled that unwieldy piece of cardboard all the way home on the public transit! Bravo, because as a result you have a delightful townhouse with a built in story to tell!
    How Marvelous :D


    1. Thanks Elizabeth! It was an effort to get it home, but it was worth it. I love my new townhouse. And I love that O have a place to display my newer furniture.

  3. Only a true miniaturist can drag a big piece of cardboard home and transform it into a lovely dollhouse. Bravo!
    Hugs, Drora

    1. Thanks Dora! Yes, one has to have a certain dedication to their craft to drag home such objects, but I really enjoyed making the final product. I haven't had such fun in ages.

  4. Oh Susan, I LOVE your creativity here!!! And that you were SO devoted to the idea you struggled to get it home!! Bravo! The results are So worth it! I think the rooms are Wonderful in their "simplicity" and so full of all your treasures! Sometimes we get so caught up in making our miniatures "real" that we lose the magic of "play"! I think this is just a Marvelous creation! I LOVE every bit of it!!!

    1. Thanks! You are right. I was playing! That's why I enjoyed it so much!

  5. Hello Susan,
    I am glad you saw the potential for the piece. It looks beautiful and you did a terrific transformation. It is very elegant!
    Big hug,

  6. That was WELL worth mass-transit wrangling. It looks fantastic, I envy it deeply, and now I want to stumble over one myself, even if I have to take it on a couple of buses and the tram.

    1. Thanks! I now see potential dollhouses everywhere. I'm sure you will find one too. It's so much fun!

  7. Susan you are getting a standing ovation from me!! What a great project and well worth the "dollhouse crazies" we collectors often have. Cheers to you! Florine

    1. Thanks Florine. This was so much fun I can't wait for the next bout of "dollhouse crazies"!

  8. Judging from the results it was worth every jostle and inconvenience on the way home! Lovely!

    1. It was definitely worth it. I get a kick out of looking at my creation every day.

  9. Well done on finding such a great craft treasure and then dragging it all the way home. It looks fabulous. Of course next time I go to the supermarket I am probably going to see potential dolls houses everywhere with their display stands. Love the kitchen.

    1. That's my problem. I see potential dollhouses everywhere and want to drag them home. Only my lack of storage space stops me. I hope you find a good one though!

    2. Just fabulous! You're lucky in a way that you were on foot. I got a ticket a couple of weeks ago for trying to carry too much stuff home on my bike. PS Your sewing machine "makes" my upper room!

    3. Thanks Sarah. I didn't know they gave tickets to bicyclers for things like that. I will keep it in mind. I'm glad you like the sewing machine. I thought you would.

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