tiny dollhouse renos
August 14, 2019 6:25 AM   Subscribe

Two tiny (dollhouse) home makeovers from Young House Love: one and two.
posted by warble (10 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
So neat! I used to live a couple of blocks away from a dollhouse store. I loved going there and browsing all the rows and rows of tiny things. Lamps that lit up, oh my! It was so expensive, tho'! Cool that they got it on the cheap. Very talented.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 7:03 AM on August 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

Oh wow. I am 99% sure I had the dollhouse in link two. No idea what happened to it, though i know it was already gone before I went to college. I'd forgotten all about it.

But this part I'll never forget: When I was in 5th and 6th grade I was really into dollhouses. I subscribed to Miniature Collector magazine, I made some foods out of clay and some furniture out of Christmas ornaments (and my few forays into teenage shoplifting were both to get dollhouse accessories - shameful on both levels now). I even had a set of Jewish things - a menorah, a tiny challah and shabbat candlesticks, a challah cover I made myself. And of course a porcelain toilet and sink. Anyway, I had a friend named Kay. And she also had a dollhouse. I never went to her house, but she was always describing the things she had. Her father was a contractor (or possibly a carpenter) and he would make amazing things for her, and she said that he would do the same for me. We would look through Miniature Collector and I would be amazed by what was possible - I had a couple of battery packs that I used to light some small chandeliers and lamps, but some of these houses had real electricity or even running water. And each time, Kay would say that sure, her father could put them in to the dollhouse he was making for me. I'd ask when it would be ready, and she would always say he was still working on it, and then change the subject. She moved away that summer, and I never got my state of the art dollhouse - or ever got invited over to her house to see hers. I wanted that dollhouse so badly - mine was nice, but just like the one in the link you could see all the tabs and slots, plus the wallpaper was handmade, the stairs were a bit crooked, and the sinks were always dry. I couldn't stop wondering what had happened to "my" dollhouse - why they couldn't have left it behind or given it to me before they moved, or even let me know their moving address so I could follow up.

It took many, many years before I realized that while it's possible that one or two of the early things Kay had told me might have been true (maybe she had a dollhouse, maybe her father made her some furniture, maybe she thought she could ask him to make something small for me) - there was no way that most of it was. Maybe she was bragging, maybe she told everyone what they wanted to hear, maybe she just wanted to be friends with me enough that she went along with promising all my increasingly insane requests, until she was in too deep to admit to it all being a lie. And I was too gullible (or greedy, or just dumb) ever to put two and two together and let her drop the subject. Kay, if you're reading this - I'm sorry. Would love to know what happened to you.

I still love looking at tricked-out dollhouses, though.
posted by Mchelly at 8:33 AM on August 14, 2019 [4 favorites]

For the ultimate in dollhouse renovation, nothing compares to the restoration ($200,000 in 2014) of silent film star Colleen Moore's magical, $7 million dollar Fairy Castle (exhibit photos) at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. See larger/additional images at The Independent and Pinterest, and several books are available.
posted by cenoxo at 9:21 AM on August 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

You guys, dollhouse renovation is totally a thing I could get into obsessively. All of the fun of home decoration with none of the stress or annoyance!
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:58 AM on August 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

These are awesome! The things everybody remembers about our childhood dollhouse are the tiny rolls of toilet paper Mom made for the bathroom and the Tiffany chandeliers she cut from ping-pong balls and colored with paint markers. Wall-to-wall carpet was velour from the scrap bag.

We also loved making tiny food! A metal bottle cap makes a perfect pie plate with a salt dough crust, and a plastic bottle cap covered with plaster of Paris looks like a buttercream-frosted cake. Salt dough is also good for sculpting baguettes and Italian loaves.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:21 AM on August 14, 2019

Cute miniature things are EVERYWHERE if you look close enough.

QFT. I remember back in my 1/35 scale modelling days putting on my mental filter, seeing the world from the scale of little 3cm folks, branches become trees and pebbles become boulders.
posted by Meatbomb at 10:33 AM on August 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

I love the idea of dollhouse renovation, but it seems like every type of renovation or design or decorating these days is harsh white walls with ultra-pale chalky-colored pastel accents, and I get that it looks clean and neat, but it also looks SO VERY SAME-SAME from one website to another. Someone please embrace dark colored walls or wallpaper or paneling or deep pile shag or SOMETHING other than white with the occasional barn wood.
posted by xingcat at 11:19 AM on August 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

I love dollhouses and have all my life. I got a huge kit for my 16th birthday and did the electric and hardwood floors and tiny tiles and everything.

This is the very best dollhouse instagram in the world

He puts his hands in the pictures because it is absolutely unbelievable that they are real
posted by elvissa at 12:20 PM on August 14, 2019 [5 favorites]

I am currently working on a dollhouse-scale project (we have a display window at the shop that's just the right size to build a 1:12 scale version of our store) so this is very exciting.
posted by nonasuch at 1:16 PM on August 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

I love this so much. I had a dollhouse as a child, and I would spend hours arranging and rearranging furniture and finding new things to add. My Glamour Gals and Dazzle Dolls were the perfect size to live in it.
posted by SisterHavana at 7:55 PM on August 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

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