Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Queenslander - or two ...

While I was in Bathurst two weeks ago, I was able to take photos of some new dolls houses. 
This one is my first made in the style commonly known as a Queenslander - built on stumps, with a verandah on at least one side. The stumps mean that air can flow under the house, and the house itself catches more breezes, being raised. It's also useful in areas that flood.


This one is quite simple - a single storey, with square verandah posts and solid brackets, and large-scale lattice on three sides of the underfloor space. It was made for a little girl who would have been born around 1920 - she is now 95. Unfortunately I don't know her name, but I bought the dolls house from her niece, who lives in an inner north-western suburb of Brisbane. The niece had also played with it as a child, and so did her (the niece's) daughter, so it had remained in one family since it was made. 



The inside is also simple - just three rooms, with solid partitions between them, no doors. It's big - 134 cm long, 63 cm deep, and 88 cm high. (This dolls house is currently stored in a room with many others, and it's so big that I couldn't get far enough back to get the whole length in a shot, so the photos of the front and back of the house are the seller's.)



The front door doesn't open - it currently has an open upper part, but this may have had glass in it originally. As you can see from this photo of the middle room, some repainting has occurred. I haven't really thought about it much yet, but I do rather like the colour on the side wall here - and I wonder if the floor was originally a reddish colour.


This is the room on the right (as you look at it from the back), and as you can see, there is coloured, patterned glass in one window. Perhaps they all originally had glass - I'm glad it remains in one window. The detail of the glass can be seen better from the front of the house - 


The room on the left (from the back) - both end rooms have two windows. 
Here's a view of the ceiling - just simple planks:


I think the lattice and roof have been painted green fairly recently - I'd say the lattice was white at one point, at least on the outside:


Inside, it is still bare wood:


There's quite a large roof space, but it's not accessible.


I look forward to cleaning this house during another trip to Bathurst, and perhaps investigating if there are other paint colours underneath the current ones. I will also think about what larger scale furniture I have from the 1920s and 30s - perhaps the pokerwork set I bought at the Sydney fair might find a home here, and I have some wicker furniture which will probably go on the verandah.


Another new dolls house, which also has some features of the Queenslander style. Lots of houses in Darwin are built like this too, with the main part of the house set high off the ground, and stairs leading up to the back and front doors. In fact, I bought this house in western Sydney - the seller told me that it came to him from a mate of his, whose son had made it while an inmate in Long Bay Jail (a prison at Malabar, 12 km south-east of the city of Sydney). I don't know where the mate or his son were from, or what inspired the son to make a house in this style. I also don't know when it was made, only that the son was in jail for 20 years.


This dolls house is also large, though not quite as big as the one above - but again I'm using some of the seller's photos, as it was difficult for me to get the whole house in shot. I bought it at Easter, and drove with it to Bathurst. I had hired a sedan - larger than my usual car, but almost not big enough! However, we managed to squeeze the base into the back seats, the upper floor into the boot, and the roof came off its hinges and rested on the base! 


The seller, who is a cabinet maker, had repaired and painted the house. It was not originally red and white - he told me that there were symbols of fruit on the outside walls, from the old cases it had been made from. (They might well help to date the house, but I don't know whether it would be worth trying to strip the paint to find them.) 
The balcony on these two sides of the house was originally there - some of the balustrades were missing, and the seller had replaced them. He added the perspex in the double windows - there was just an open space there.

The doors were originally solid - the seller had cut the half-moon shapes into them. However, the posts and braces supporting this end of the balcony are original, he told me.



At the other end of the house is another door. I think this just opened to a small balcony - the seller certainly added the stairs, so there are now stairs to the front and back doors.




The roof is made to lift up on hinges along the back side of the house. As I haven't screwed the hinges back on yet, I was able to take a photo straight down into the upper floor:


The carpet is new, added by the seller. I don't like it, and I plan to remove it (though I'm sure it will leave a sticky mess - I'll probably have to cover it with other carpet or flooring of some kind). The lino in the two small rooms is new too, but I will keep it, I think, for the bathroom and laundry - or bathroom and toilet? not sure.
The wallpapers are unfortunately sticky-back plastic (Contact), but again I'll remove them - and probably also the remains of earlier wallpaper (from the 1960s or 70s?) and take it back to the original pale green paint, I think:



Although this floor lifts off the ground floor, I didn't take it off to take photos. From the outside, the ground floor is accessed by a small door under the stairs to the main balcony (which you can see above), and two large double doors on one side of the house:


as well as another small door on the opposite side of the house:



 With these double doors, could one of these rooms have originally been intended as a garage? The carpet is new here too - and while the upper part of the base is original, a deeper base has been added, with castors on it - which makes moving the house much easier!
Here we can see the unfinished bottom of the hardboard which forms the floor of the upper level:

The walls of this lower level are also made of hardboard - the rough inner surface is still visible under the paint.



In many ways, I would love to have had this house without the new paint, carpet and wallpapers. However, the seller did a much better job than I ever could in repairing the stairs and balcony - and the house does look really good with stairs at the back too. So I'm happy to have acquired it as it now is - although I don't really look forward to removing the carpet and contact! I'm not sure whether I will leave all the doors and window frames painted red - I'll have to think about it. And furnishing it will be a long way down the track, as this house joins a long list of others in Bathurst needing work! I'd still be interested to hear your thoughts on what period I could furnish it in, though.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

What I bought at the Sydney 2016 fair

should really not have been much at all, as I had just won a rather expensive antique dolls house at an auction .... (I don't have any photos of it yet, as it arrived in Bathurst after I had left).
The main sources of vintage miniatures at the fair were two I had bought from at previous fairs, Robyn's Minis and Diana's Gifts, and one seller whom I hadn't seen before.

I went to Robyn's Minis first, and bought these two lovely sets:
 (I apologise for the poor photos - I was trying to take them in a hurry in Bathurst, so I'd have a record of everything I bought - no time to arrange a good set up with good light.)

These are tiny - the chair is about 1 1/4 inches tall, and the table about 1 1/4 inches in diameter. The Kewpie in the bath is less than an inch long. The bath and the kewpie doll are hard metal; all the other pieces are soft metal. Only the sewing machine is marked - it has the word TOYODA on the bench part, so it's presumably Japanese.
Towards the end of the fair, as Robyn was packing to leave, I went back and looked at some pokerwork furniture she had put out on the second day. I had thought at first that it might have been the kind that was made in Japan, but on closer inspection, I think it might be homemade.
Look how the rails of the chair back are set into grooves in the cross piece (the rails on the bed head are the same):


I got to Diana's Gifts just as Anne Dowdall, from Victorian Miniatures in Canberra, was buying a lovely blue Codeg or Fairylite bathroom suite, and a little Britains table and chair and Taylor & Barrett fire for her Triang Princess dolls house. It would be lovely to see her Princess one day, with the vintage furnishings she's finding for it!
These are the things I bought from Diana's stall:
The Wedgewood style blue and white jug and basin are by Judy Keena - I bought a couple of plates by her last year. I also bought a little summer pudding from Diana's Gifts, at the end of the second day - it got photographed with something else, so it's shown below.

I can't remember the name of the lady who had the other stall I found some vintage pieces at - I think it might have been Nora. She was also selling some pieces she had made herself, before her hands got bad.
A nice bundle of plastic Britain's garden tools, a little vintage flower in a pot, and two rugs, two dusters and some dishwashing brushes made by Nora (?). I think the blue piece (rug/tablecloth) wasn't made by Nora, but I might be wrong.
Nora also had these lovely things:
The picture frame was made in Denmark - I'm not sure about the picture itself. The toiletry set says Made in Western Germany, so is post WWII. The mirror is unmarked, but made of quite heavy metal.
Also from Nora, a couple of wooden pieces - a Strombecker table, she thought, and a lamp, as well as an ARA poodle:
Nora also had some lovely geraniums in pots that she had made, with coloured reed matting around the pots. I would have liked to buy one of those, too!
 
From a stall with at least two women selling (I did not see their names, I'm afraid), I got these little bits and pieces:

The bunny chair and salad vegetable teapots (made of resin, I think) are for the bunnies in my Tree House. The fish teapot below is by Val Casson - there were four of her teapots on this stall, and it was quite hard to choose one!

Margaret Crosswell from Tasmania was at the fair again this year. I bought three bird figurines and another little vase:

I had gone to the fair thinking I would like some miniature knitting by Jennifer Howlett, but I didn't see any on her stall. However, when I was talking to Anna-Maria at the end of the first day, I noticed a fantastic Suffolk Puff quilt, and asked her about it. It turned out that it was made by Jennifer, and was for sale! Then, when I went back to buy the quilt the next day, I spotted some knitted rugs. Were they for sale? Well, partly to show what could be made with the fine wools Jennifer sells - but also for sale, yes. So I bought two - and know next year to ask to see what Jennifer has! 
This is a really bad photo, especially of Judy Foster's beautiful embroidered slippers! I had looked at her embroidered tea cosies a couple of times, but then decided that I have some tea cosies already (though not embroidered), but don't have slippers! These go rather well with the cashmere lap rug from Jennifer - I don't yet know which lucky doll will get them.
 This is not much better, but does show the fine embroidery a bit more.

Kim's Minis from New Zealand was back this year. I spoke to Kim about making a lamington preparation set for me - I need to email her with the details of the table I'd like it for. When she was last there (back in 2012, I think), I had greatly admired the marquetry pieces she sells, and I decided to buy one this time:
The summer pudding is not from Kim's Minis - it was from Diana's Gifts, and is marked SM 84 on the back. I did buy a bowl of sliced apricots from Kim's Minis - it will be great with some icecream in a 1960s or 70s dolls house:
The vase of chrysanthemums was a last minute purchase, from a stall I can't remember the name of. The canisters and bread with knife and board were made by a woman called, I think, Liz Hannaford or Hansford.

 I bought soft furnishings from several stalls:

Minis by TwinMum (Norma Blackburn) had some 3D printed pieces on her stall. I bought this little esky, very useful for dolls house picnics and barbecues:



At the Miniature Supermarket, I bought lots of vintage supplies on the first day, as by the end of the fair last year, these had mostly sold out. I also took photos of the sample boards, so now I can see what is available!
 1920s honey


1930s supplies, including soap, coffee with chicory, oats, fish and washing powder
1940s supplies, including cocoa powder and strawberry jam
1950s supplies, including WeetBix, Vita Brits, Rosella soup, Akta-Vite and Bushell's tea
A few bits for a 1960s house - a book, The Lost Koala (which features dolls called Jenny and Sue), Old Gold soap and Mortein fly spray.

 Here's The Miniature Supermarket's vintage display board:


And the contemporary display board:

And the books available, from the 1870s to the 1970s:

I made other purchases I haven't photographed: some magazines and a book from various stalls, and two kinds of moulding for making picture frames, from Victorian Dollhouses. I haven't tried making frames before, but I have several paintings I've acquired in largeish frames, that I'd like to reframe - so, when I've bought a mitre box and saw, I'll have a go!

So, to finish, here are two views from my window at the hotel I stayed in, the Ibis Budget in Olympic Park itself. Previously, I have stayed in hotels in the city or Strathfield (after my sister moved from Sydney), but I thought I'd try staying close to the venue to avoid long trips back and forth. It was certainly easier, and now that the Ibis Budget has kettles in the rooms, very comfortable! I was lucky to get a corner room, so I had views in two directions.