I saw this roombox on German ebay, and was very taken with it. The contrast of the vines on the pillars and the strong colours of the rooms suggests to me that we may be in an imaginary world, so here we have offices - of a witch, who sells love potions, and of a private detective!
The witch has her familiar on her shoulder, and a cauldron handy to brew up potions, as well as several jugs of ready-prepared potions. Her furniture came with the roombox - as she is a purveyor of love potions, among other things, the heart decorations suit her very well!
The private detective has two customers who have lost a daughter, and are prostrate with grief. He is taking details of the case, and has a compass and penknife ready to help in his search.
On the wall hangs a portrait of a former, very grateful, client.
As the private detective sees his customers off, he is grim-faced but determined:
His size and determination give them hope.
The detective is very proud of his office furniture, so he has turned his desk around to display it:
This furniture is ingeniously made of cardboard; the cupboard doors slide open. This is the box for the furniture, very battered and a bit mouldy:
Hapa Puppenmöbel, Neuheit!! (Hapa Dolls' Furniture, Novelty! I have found a reference to a firm called Hapa, based in Bavaria, which now makes roller shutters and plastic windows, but I don't know whether this is the same firm.)
This is not the original furniture for this room; it originally contained a bed, bedside tables, sofa and handtowel holder:
- all handmade from pine wood and cigar boxes.
The roombox also is clearly handmade, also from pine, and handpainted inside and out. Here's a detail of the blue room:
The curtains in both rooms are original; this one also had lace, but it did not fit the detective's very functional, no frills image! So I have put it away with the furniture.
The witch's room had wallpaper over the paintwork when I received it. It is (or was) rather lovely wallpaper, and I now believe quite early - 1920s or 30s.
It was stained and peeling, and I could see the painted wall decoration underneath, so I removed the wallpaper to reveal it:
It seems that some little girl (perhaps even the first) who owned this roombox did not like the almost overpowering colour scheme here - red, black and gold! I've seen seen similar colouring in 1920s wallpaper sample books on ebay - here are a couple I downloaded:
The adult who decorated this roombox seems to have been very up-to-date, but the little girl who played with it preferred a light, soft and flowery setting for her dolls.
The outside of the roombox is also heavily decorated:
As you can see, the wood is splitting. I think this may have been a problem for some time, and that the metal braces at the corner of each window were put there to hold it together. There's no evidence that the windows ever had glass.