As I’ve worked on this dollhouse off and on over the course of the last year and a half, I’ve had many comments from readers who say they want a dollhouse of their very own. I say, what are you waiting for? Get one!
Of course, it’s not always as simple as that. In the beginning, I spent a great deal of time looking at ads for new dollhouse kits. I wanted to build my own. However, the ones I was interested in were not cheap. Nor should they be. My thought was that someday I would save up my money and buy a kit. After I paid the bills. And took care of a host of other essentials on our limited budget.
Then I hit on the idea of searching Craig’s List and eBay, either for a kit at a reduced price or a used, finished dollhouse. eBay has lots and lots of listings. I ended up bidding on a kit a few years back and won this:
I think I paid around $30 for it. This has been around MHC longer than the other dollhouse. Frankly, I didn’t have the guts to take it on initially. It intimidated me. The other day I wondered aloud to Don, what am I going to do when the dollhouse is finished? Start another one, was his reply. And then I remembered this kit. After all the work on the dollhouse, I’m not nearly as intimidated as I was. I’m looking forward to it.
And for all of you who say, “But I have no room!” “Bullocks,” I say. (Can you tell I read British murder mysteries?) We live in a 1200 square foot cottage with no basement or attic. I managed to make mine work in this space – in fact, it adds a great deal of charm to our den. As to the next project, when I asked Don where we would put it, his answer was, “We’ll find the space.” If you want one, you will find a way to make it work in your house. So, check out eBay – search Dollhouses, Miniatures and Dollhouse Kits.
On to Craig’s List: I spent a few months periodically checking my local listings for a dollhouse. Most of the listings were for playhouses and real kid’s stuff – sturdy and made of plastic. Every once in a while, I found something that looked promising. It wasn’t until I was away working in California that I found my house. I was in my temporary housing, scanning the local (back home) listings. I saw a listing in a neighboring town and a photo that looked promising. I emailed the seller and had a little conversation. I called Don and in my sweetest, most cajoling tone, asked him if he would do me favor. Would he drive to the neighboring town (about a 30 minute drive) and buy a dollhouse for me? Pretty please? He did. When he got back home, he called me and said, much to my surprise, “This dollhouse is really cool!”
I got it for $35. A steal.
Here’s what it looked like when it first arrived at Mockingbird Hill Cottage:
It had been put together more than a wee bit haphazardly. The upstairs dormer windows were crooked. Shutters were missing and the shutters that were on the house were really just pieces of wood with lines painted on them. The roof was missing shingles. That tower room on the roof was incorrectly placed. The front door wouldn’t close. Some walls were crooked. Here’s what it looked like on the inside:
None of the seams in the three rooms on the left met correctly. There was water damage on the downstairs floors. You can see light coming through the seams in the three rooms on the left. I had to reposition the dormer windows and the tower room. As I’ve worked on the inside, I’ve found ways to disguise the seams that don’t quite meet.
I added new shingles and took off the old shutters, replacing them with real mini shutters. I straightened the windows and repositioned the tower room.
And here’s the wonderful thing. The moment I started to mention my dollhouse on my blog, other dollhouse lovers and talented miniaturists found me. I, in turn, found a whole community of miniaturists who are generous with tips and advice. I’ve learned so much from them. Every step of the way, they have been there, cheering me on.
Believe me, I am not a miniaturist. I am just a girl who had a metal dollhouse when she was a kid. You know the kind – the fireplace and kitchen cupboards were painted on the metal. The rug was painted on the metal floor. It had plastic furniture. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it. But this dollhouse? It’s my girlhood fantasy come to life.
If you want one, do it. Get one. You will have the time of your life working on it. I mean, come on…this baby only cost me $35! If I can find a deal, you can, too. If you have one already and have been thinking of working on it, do it!
I’d love to share some of your dollhouses as you work on them. If you have one in process or are about to start on one, send me some photos and I’ll highlight them in a post.
And don’t give me that excuse about not enough room. If you stood in the middle of Mockingbird Hill Cottage, you would soon realize that where there’s a will, there’s a way. I live in a very small space every day. I have collections. I have lots of books. I have a dollhouse.
You can, too.