Sunday, September 11, 2011

My dolls house

Finally I seem to have found some time to tell you about my dolls house.  I have had it for over ten years now, and shame on me, I haven't done much with it yet.  However, I am very grateful to have bought it, because it was just the step that I needed to start this wonderful hobby.  I will try and tell you all about it in the next few postings.

It all started with this little armchair on the left in the picture:

It was advertised on TV as the first issue of a dolls house to be build step-by-step by buying monthly issues.  As this happened in 1998 a lot of people will remember the house and if you do you may recall that it was a Del Prado house.  It's what I still call it: My Del Prado House, for want of a better name.  I don't even know what the meaning of it is, since I don't speak Spanish...

My husband called me and showed the commercial on TV.  He said: "You've always talked about building a dolls house.  This is your chance.  So, I bought the first issue.  Put the chair together.  Liked it so much I bought a second one, and........ never looked back!

I think that happened in June or July of that year.  I started to build the house, but sometimes I didn't really know what I was doing, although I tried to follow the instructions to the letter.  In September of the same year, on a Saturday afternoon, we were on our way to a birthday party when I noticed a banner informing us of a Dolls House And Miniatures Fair.  By golly, a fair?  About dolls houses?  That I had to see.  So we stopped off at the place, went inside the building and there I was just bowled over!  The place was full of displayed dolls houses, roomboxes and even a huge castle!  We went upstairs and there were traders!  One could actually buy stuff!  Needless to say that I became a member of the association then and there and since we still had a birthday party to go to we planned to go back the next day, which we did.

So, that's how it all started.  It was also the reason why my dolls house didn't get finished as quickly as I had anticipated.  For one, I had to wait for every issue to arrive, but by the time I had received enough to started building in all earnest I had lost interest in the building itself.  I preferred dabbling in making small items and furniture for the house.  I did workshops at the club, we worked on projects, I started on a roombox, etc. etc.

Eventually, four years after I'd bought the first issues, I decided that it was about time to start on the house again.  One of the reasons it took so long was that we not only moved house in the meantime, but we moved into a very old house which had to be renovated.  At first we hardly had any furniture and we lived out of cardboard boxes, but later I found a little room on the built-in veranda of our house where I could work.  Then I started building, but as the whole thing was quite flimsy and some of the walls were warped, I decided that a sturdy base was called for.  With the help of my husband we built the base and then I started on the downstairs part of the house:

the walls fitted loosely together

structuring the base

me, being impatient, I start to put the kitchen together first

everything painted white originally, but that all changed again later

I was too impatient and started putting the kitchen together, as I had already done the sink, table, chairs and stove.  The kitchen floor was done with beautiful paper from a very expensive looking report from some company or other.  The right colours and thick paper called for a tiled floor.  All I did was paint the floor a dark grey to simulate concrete, and glued the card squares on top.  Even after all these years it still looks great.

The step-by-step guide said to paint the furniture white, and so I did, but changed my mind later down the track and repainted and even re-shaped a lot.  We'll come across it as we go...

the base doubled as a glue tray, nice and square

The kitchen finished it was time to build the hallway and living room, but first I needed the base as a glue tray. ;-)  By then I had decided that I didn't like the kitchen cabinet with the sink as it was.  I built an extension and since I had learned to work with polymer clay I wanted to make a granite bench on top of the cabinet and extension:

new kitchen cabinet

It then looked like this and I was much happier with it.  It still needed a curtain, but I was proud that I had at least changed its initial appearance.

There was more that I didn't like e.g. the place for the stove.  Anyway, I had little room left for the stove and mantelpiece in the centre of the kitchen now I had extended the cabinet, so I looked for another solution.  Which I found.  A false wall in the corner, and luckily I had some left over wallpaper:

a false wall and the stove in the corner

It looked good, or so I thought, so next I was to build the mantelpiece.  This I also changed from its original appearance.  I was on a roll now I'd discovered my own input!

the mantelpiece half finished

I felt that there was something missing.  Wallpaper behind the stove just doesn't look right, so on to building a brick wall (which I made of paper, paint and sand), and a granite floor for the stove (polymer clay):

the wall and floor done

the completed corner

That, to me, made all the difference and I was happy as Larry with the result of my hard work. 

I've grown tired of it now.  :-)  So, I give it a rest and it's off to bed with me.  Hope you like the story so far.  See you next time.


  1. This is interesting. I love to know how people began. A dollhouse is a big and wonderful project. I wish you luck with the progress. So far, it looks good.
    A mini hug.

  2. Wow! That is amazing! I love your kitchen! Great progress!

  3. As your reader, I will follow all progress of this project!

  4. Marion, las mejoras en la cocina son estupendas, gran idea los ladrillos de la estufa y la extensión del gabinete.
    Un abrazo

  5. Liebe Marion, eine wirklich schöne Geschichte. Und ich staune darüber: delPrado verkauft seine PuppenhausKits wohl in der ganzen Welt. Bei mir hat es auch mit dem Sesselchen angefangen, das war 2002.
    Deine Küche gefällt mir auch sehr gut, die Spüle ist toll geworden und die Farben sind sehr schön.
    Nun bin ich auch gespannt wie es weitergeht.
    Gruß, Nina

  6. Hi Marion, My husband said the same thing to me. I bought the entire magazine collection including the extra copies. It ended up costing over $1000.00.I put it all in boxes because I thought it would be better to have it all before I started. In the meantime I bought another house and I am working on it. Seeing what you are doing I feel more enthusiastic that one day I will start on my Del Prado house.

  7. Thank you for the story, it`s interesting. I love what you have done with the kitchen, looking forward to see more.

  8. Thanks to all of you for your lovely comments. And Sharon, if you ever start building the house (it'sstill worthwhile doing it) don't make the mistake I made, but build it in one go and do make a sturdy base for it. It will make a difference. Good luck. Do I see another story coming in blogland? ;-)

  9. Thanks Marion for your blog.
    I stumbled over it just a few days ago, and me like you also bought this house many many years ago. I had started it and lost interest mostly because of time but also because the three rooms I had together were flimsy. I have now (with the help of a heat gun) pulled it all apart and my partner is helping build as base as you suggested. My attention has now been turned back to this house and how much better it can be now.
    I will be following your blogs with interest now.

    1. Glad to hear that my blog has re-kindled your interest in the house, Michelle. Good luck with the re-building. It will come good with a bit of help! Do you have a blog or website at all?

    2. Hi Marion,
      Thanks for your words of encouragement. At the moment I dont have a blog but definately thinking of tracking my progress. I will leave a link once I have started one.


  10. I will be on the look out for it.... ;-) Good luck with everything

  11. I don't know if my other comment showed up, Blogspot can be weird that way. Just wanted to say thank you for the insights into how to put this together and keep it together. My instructions have discrepancies between the text and the photos on some pages, so I had no idea how the hinges and doors were supposed to go in the doorframes.

    I also like what you've done to make the structure more stable, I will do what I can to accomplish that as well. This thing is so unbelievably flimsy, and I too have been unable to completely flatten out the warped walls.

    I was lucky that I didn't have to pay anything for the kit, it was given to me complete by the daughter of the woman who'd bought it and never opened a single item. I have shelled out a fair amount in supplies such as paint sample pots to do the rooms and glue and sandpaper and varnish and craft tools and whatnot. I suppose there are worse addictions to have. ;-)

    1. Hi Nightfall,

      Thanks for your comment. I can't remember an earlier one, however, my own just disappeared, so you never know...

      Glad to have been of some help and enjoy the building of your house.

  12. Wow this is nice, can you tell me what size the furniture is. is it 1/12th inch?

    1. Hi Christel, the dollshouse, as well as the furniture, is 1/12th scale, which means 1/12th of full size metric or an inch to a foot (which is also 1/12th).

  13. Hello, i have just come across your blog whilst doing some research before i start building my very own version of this house. I want to build it onto a base but i wondering if what size base will i need? Thank you in advance 😊

  14. Greetings
    I have just come into a set of issues for the your dream dolls house and have found some of the structure items missing.
    Would you know what piece is needed in issue 7?
    If its the same as other pieces I could try and make another .
    Any help would be appreciated.


  15. HI

    found your blog while looking for other info, glad I did.
    Love what you did with the kitchen, adding the corner piece.
    You have inspired me to look beyond the written plans and make it my own.
    Linda.(fellow Queenslander living on the west coast.)


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