Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bodo Hennig Bodensee 1981

It was love at first sight for me with this house:

I grew up in a country town in Australia in a house built in the mid 1960s by a German builder, Klaus Lenffer. It was a split-level house (we had four stairs!), built of concrete blocks painted white, with dark wooden beams and panelling. The exterior of Bodensee reminds me so much of that house.

The only problem was that the Bodensee house was listed on UK ebay. Luckily it was listed by a wonderful seller, tink4tatt, who was prepared to ship internationally - and was not daunted by the problems involved in doing so. First the postage quote she was given was wrong, then she was told the box was too big for the mail at all. Finally, she found a shipping company (literally - she lives in a port town), which would ship the box by sea to Australia.
It wasn't cheap, of course, and it wasn't straightforward at this end either. The box arrived not in Darwin (also a port city), but in Perth, 4300km away. I had to pay a customs inspection fee, and fill in forms stating what it was made of, and that I didn't intend to sell it. Then it was sent by road (!) on the final leg to Darwin.

It was definitely worth all the cost and effort, as it's a wonderful house. It's big - it has eight rooms, including three bedrooms and two living areas. It came with curtains, presumably made by a previous owner, and some furniture. I have bought more Bodo Hennig furniture, mainly on German ebay. The house seems to me very 70s in style, though it apparently doesn't appear in Bodo Hennig catalogues until 1981.

On the left are the kitchen, downstairs, and a bedroom, upstairs. The kitchen has very groovy wallpaper in an apple design:

and the kitchen units have typical 70s orange & yellow flowery tiles:

All the furniture, and most of the accessories, here are Bodo Hennig. The blender is marked Japan, and the braided rug came from America.

Above the kitchen is a bedroom which I have furnished as the teenage daughter's room:

She has a beautiful set of furniture, with matching dressing table, wardrobe, single bed, and two bedside tables. All the furniture is Bodo Hennig, including the amazing rug.

However, the younger children (Erna Meyer dolls) are playing in it at the moment, as their own bedroom, on the other side of the house, is too small to play in:

So they use their older sister's bedroom. They have been colouring in at the table, but now they are dressing up:

The family has some visitors today, and the men are outside on the (imaginary) patio, drinking beer and keeping an eye on the barbeque:

Don't you love the beard and moustache on these Erna Meyer men?

The women are having coffee in the upstairs living area:

As you can see, I have a number of very groovy Bodo Hennig lamps. The house did come with a transformer, but I haven't yet tried setting it up and connecting the lamps.

You can just see the top of the stair rail at the back right of this room - they go up behind the wall with the fireplace in the downstairs living area:

The teenaged daughter doesn't have any friends of her own age over today, and she's sitting reading in the downstairs living area with one of the cats for company.

From the upstairs living room, we can access the bathroom (behind the yellow wall) and the master bedroom (behind the white wall).

Wow! As I said, the exterior of the Bodensee reminds me of the house I grew up, but all the interior walls of our house were white. Just imagine having a bath here, in the orange and brown bath, surrounded by orange flowered tiles!

The master bedroom is a bit quieter, being decorated in brown and yellow:

Below the bathroom and master bedroom, off the downstairs living area, are the kids' bedroom, which we've already seen, and the dining room. Really, the family needs an extending table, as they can't possibly fit all their guests around this one:


  1. Wow, what a cool house! I love both the house and the furniture and lamps, especially in the teenagers room. Great match with the wallpaper!
    In addition to the shelf in Gjengangere I recognize the orange chairs in the upstairs living area, I bought them and the shelf some years ago, since the seller said they were in Lundby scale. Nice to see them in the right surroundings!
    So funny with the children dressing up!

  2. Thank you, Pubdoll! Hmm, any doll who needed chairs this big would probably have trouble getting through the doors in a Lundby house! I hope you've found a use for them - otherwise you could sell them in Gjengangere!

  3. I have a daughter who benefits from my dolls house hording. She has Barbie children who can use them as children's chairs. I just make sure she handles them with care.

  4. Oh! I want to steal this house from you so bad. Now, promptly tell me your address! kidding.
    It's a lovely, lovely dollhouse. I hope to have one someday. Boo hoo...sniff

  5. Thank you both. I was very lucky - I haven't seen many on ebay.
    I think you might have to hire out to steal it, given the size and being in different continents!

  6. Oh wow!!! Aside from stock photos, this is the only Bodensee i've seen "live". What a fanTAStic find!

  7. hi, again :)

    i´ve been 20 times and more here and i can´t stop to come again&again and look... i adore your "bodensee" and all the furniture and little scenes you photographed here. i´m dreaming of a hennig-house since i bought this bunch of hennig furniture (because i wanted one lundby-bed which was in the auction and i thought the other furniture were the same scale...).but i don´t have the space in my tiny house (besides it would be not that easy to find one). so i come here and look at yours... dream on, dream on ;D


  8. ...is the garden swing bodo hennig, too? i bought a similar (with that special auction) and could not find any information. if you like to take a look: http://www.flickr.com/photos/32082400@N00/3729539895/

    thanks, nicola

  9. Hi, Just wanted to let you know it was my Grandfather (Klaus Lenffer) who would have built this house you use to live in. He built many houses in Armidale along with my father Arno. I love the style of all of his houses and just seeing this dolls house reminds me of all of them.

    Thanks for the memories :)

  10. Hello,
    Thank you for leaving this comment! I loved the house we lived in, as you may have gathered. It was in Armidale, in Johnson Avenue, and there was another one across the road that he built too. I wanted to include some photos of our house here, but didn't have any good ones at the time I wrote this. I've since put one that shows half of the front of the house in another post:

    - I'll see if I can find more good ones.

    It's wonderful hearing from you, and to know your father's name and that he worked with your grandfather on these houses. The people my parents bought the house from knew the name Klaus Lenffer - they were the probably the first owners, as we bought it in 1968.
    Thank you very much!

  11. Hi Rebecca,

    A number of years have passed by since this posting and just now discovered it! Hope you can update on the Bodensee and all the merry goings-on! Thanks for the fun! Btw, am a Hennig collector though just a few things at this point. :)