Friday, May 22, 2009

Barton Caroline's Super de Luxe 1980s

The Swan family have just taken possession of their new house. They have a growing family, and this large and commodious residence will give them plenty of room to expand. Buying a house is very expensive, but how could they resist it, when it is decorated throughout with the bird they are named after?

Anyone familiar with this house design will notice that this one has new roofing. Colourbond corrugated steel roofing has replaced the original tiles - perhaps because the combination of bricks and tile was too heavy for the soil it stands on.
(Actually, the corrugated cardboard has been stuck on over the paper tiling. It does give it a very Australian touch.)

The house will need some repairs before they move in. There are a couple of windows missing, and Mr Swan is concerned that the roof is not very secure, and might blow off in a gale.

Mrs Swan would like new carpet, as the floors are rather scuffed. Front and back doors would be nice too, although when so many rooms are completely open, perhaps they are a bit superfluous. Still, it would be nice to have a front door to welcome guests through.

More essential, with small children, are banisters on the stairs:

Still, it's a very nice house, and they hope they can move in soon. They would like to go straight out and buy modern furniture for it, but the costs of transferring ownership, on top of the cost of the house itself, mean that they will have to economise for a while. They will make do with their old furniture, and rent anything else they need from Tim's Secondhand Furniture Store.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

DH/D one week on ...

After a week of scraping paint off my new Lines DH/D, the original colours are starting to be revealed:

The remaining dark green paint on the base and front door, and the black paint on the flat roof, is very chalky. The paint on the roof timbers is in better condition, but all the original paint seems to have been sanded back, and then the whole house painted with a pink undercoat and white topcoat. The olive green is acrylic, and peels off, which is just as well, as when I tried scraping the paint off the chimney, it wasn't easy to avoid scraping off the rough cast as well.

There's no sign of paint on the sloping roofs, apart from the cream paint on the upper part of the overhang roof (which I think is overflow of the rough cast & paint from the upper facade). The lower part of the overhang has raw wood under the white paint (as you can maybe see over the door). So I think it probably had roofing papers, and that's what I'll use on it.

Also this week, I received an award from Oese:

Thank you Oese! I enjoy reading her blog Raum für Raum very much - she is so creative and skilled at making miniature furniture and scenes from materials I'd never think could be used.

And I also joined a Facebook group of Dolls House Collectors. It's great to have so many groups and websites for dolls house collectors, and see more collectors' houses, and how they furnish and people them.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Lines DH/D 1924 - the latest arrival!

This morning I received my latest dolls house. Actually I won it on Australian ebay in February, but it took a while to make the journey north.

There's a little bit of work to do, I think! All of that white enamel paint has to come off, and the olive green trim.

The inside is also solid white:

Someone had added a partition in the middle of each room - I've already removed them, as I'd prefer to have the original two large rooms. Removing them has revealed remnants of the original parquet floorpapers:

which I may be able to replace. I'll see if there's any wallpaper hiding under the paint, but I think not - so will find some vintage wallpapers to paper the rooms with.

Unfortunately there's no glass in any of the windows - but the window frames are there, and they are harder to replace. There is a front door - a bonus, as my Triang 52 is missing its front door. Also, it came with an original kitchen range -

- if that was mentioned in the auction, I'd forgotten about it.

If anyone knows what this should look like (colour of the front door, gable timbers, roof, etc), I'd love to hear, as I haven't seen a colour photo of one of these!

Friday, May 8, 2009

A little fantasy .....

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's customer is the governess from the Californian bungalow-style house. I don't know who she is hoping to entice with help from the witch:

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.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A new website for dolls house collectors!

Ebay Australia seller kittymacdonald alerted me to a new website about vintage (and other) dolls houses: Dolls Houses Past and Present. It will have a free online quarterly magazine! as well as photo galleries, discussion forums, etc. Wonderful! Already there are many familiar names and faces.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Dora Kuhn folk-art style German furniture (and more Erna Meyer dolls)

Here is some sweet folk-art style furniture, which I believe was made by Dora Kuhn, a southern Bavarian firm, possibly in the 1960s. I have furnished a German 1960s roombox with them.

The roombox has a floor, two side walls and a back wall; this one can be put together and taken apart by means of little plastic tabs (as on the end of the left wall here). (The blue you can see above and below the roombox are the shelves of the trolley it's standing on.)

The furniture is not marked, except with numbers stamped on the bottom of some pieces. However, I have seen identical dolls' house furniture on ebay (German, and often also the US), described as made by Dora Kuhn.

The accessories and tiny dolls house are all made in Germany too, though I do not know the maker - they were ebay finds. The dolls are by Erna Meyer, who has produced dolls dressed in traditional German costume as well as up-to-the-minute fashion, historical fashions, as fairytale figures, etc.
Two of the dolls seem to be dressed in regional costumes; I've moved them to the front in this photo:

Perhaps Oese or another reader might recognise them?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Secondhand Furniture Shop's First Customers!

The secondhand furniture shop is now open, and Tim is here to welcome customers.

The Bodensee family are the first customers. Mrs Bodensee is making some large paper flowers to decorate her bedroom, and wants something to stand them in.

"Mm, what about the stoneware jug? No, the mouth is too narrow. This copper jug will be perfect when I've cleaned it up and given it a polish."

The kids are looking around too. The boy spots some binoculars. "Can I have these, Dad?" "What for?" "I've been reading that bird book, and I want to go out bird-watching." "OK then," says Dad, thinking this is a good hobby - quiet, and gets him out of the house.

The little girl has spotted the ballerinas on the lamp.

"We're not getting that," said Mum.
"You've already got a lamp in your bedroom, and there isn't room for another one."
"Can I have the doll then?"
"You've already got dolls."
"But I want this one in the green dress."
"OK," says Mum.

The teenaged daughter spots the record player.

"What do you want that for?" says Dad.
"So I can listen to records in my bedroom," she says. "The other kids are getting things, and everything else in this place is too old-fashioned. It's not fair if I don't get anything."
"OK, OK," says Dad.

Dad wanders off into the next room.

"This is more like it," he says.
"What do you want that old fridge for?" says Mum. "We've got a perfectly good one at home, and that one doesn't even have a door on the freezer compartment."
"It'll be just right for keeping the beer in on the patio," says Dad.

"What on earth do you think this is?" says Mum. "Is it a teapot? But the handle's really thick. Do you suppose it could be an old-fashioned bedpan? Where on earth do they find these things? It's so ugly."

"OK, that's enough," says Dad. "Can you deliver the fridge?"

"Oh, but look," says Mum. "Here's a phone. We haven't got a phone, and this is a nice yellow one."
"All right. Now let's go. We've bought more than enough for one day."