Thursday, December 16, 2010

Snow in Summer - My New Baby

I recently bought a new house on UK ebay, with the help of Dolls Houses Past and Present member Linda. It's an old English style brick house, which (based on the lighting and furnishings) dates to the 1930s.

The house is small - 1/24th scale, or 1/2" scale, measuring 8 1/2" (21.5 cm) deep, 13" (33 cm) high (to the chimney tops), and 22" (56 cm) long (including the bathroom and shed).

Every roof surface and window sill has a dusting of snow (cotton wool), so it must have been part of a winter scene at one time.

It needs a bit of work - this is how it looks at the moment.

I'm not really sure which side is meant to be the front - one side has a knocker on the door, while the other side has a door with a porch and a letter flap. I think the side with the knocker is probably the back, as the shed also opens on this side. I love the shed door - it opens top and bottom, and has a wooden latch to close the bottom half. This side of the house opens on hinges - or will, when it is reattached to the hinges.

The front door also needs to be re-hung:

There are also some windows that need replacing:

The back of the roof lifts up on hinges to access the two bedrooms:

There is one set of Dinky bedroom furniture - bed, wardrobe, chest of drawers and stool - in excellent condition.

The roof is kept shut with a little hook on each side, which goes into a hook just below the eaves:

Downstairs is a stone-flagged kitchen on the right:

The stairs go at the front of this room, something like this I think, although the gap at the top doesn't seem quite right. There are steps missing - two are with the house, but I will need to make some replacements as well.

On the other side, downstairs, is the drawing room and hallway, here without the dividing wall:

and here with the dividing wall in place:

The far door opens into the bathroom, which is also furnished with a Dinky set:

The shed contains the electrical wiring and switches:

As you can see, both the shed roof and the bathroom roof lift off. The undersides are constructed to sit on top of the walls:

The dolls house is handmade, and probably a one-off. A lot of work has gone into creating all the detailing - the roof "slates" are made from paper stuck on to postcards, painted grey and cut into individual tiles, which have then been stuck down on to the wood:

The bricks and the flagstones in the kitchen are painted, and pencil outlines are visible between the bricks:

The panels in the doors are marked by pokerwork (or pyrography) and chasing, and I think the functional letter-flap and the door knocker are handmade too.

This photo also shows another thing I need to deal with: woodworm holes, which I could not see on the auction listing!

As well as the two sets of Dinky cast metal furniture, this house also came with 3 rugs and 4 lampshades:

The rugs have also suffered from pests, as you can see clearly from the backs:

There is also a hand-drawn picture of a dog, stuck to what I think is part of a matchbox:

The poor dog has also suffered the depredations of pests, poor thing! I'm wondering if one reason that there are only two sets of furniture is that the rest was wooden, and was eaten. The metal alloy that Dinky furniture was made from also deteriorated, though, so if there were other Dinky sets they may have broken and been discarded. Anyway, I'm delighted to have two sets in very good condition.

So there's a fair bit of cleaning and repair work to do before any dolls can move in! I won't get much done before Christmas, but hopefully I can work out how to treat the woodworm, just in case there are any live ones still.


  1. Wow the lintels are exquisite! So is the door!

    I had to put my Bliss house in the freezer in plastic for 3 weeks to make sure there were not worm holes left that could cause trouble!

    The snow is so charming! What a fun project. Cheers CM

  2. Oh my, Rebecca! This is such a beautiful house!

    Is dust falling out when you tap it? We were told by Quarantine to put a similarly damaged item in the freezer for 3 weeks to kill off anything inside (then send it to them for identification - no returns) I don't know how valid an option the freezer is for you. Apparently a lot of stuff gets dusted for insect life on the way into Australia too.

  3. That looks very very interesting, as you say a lot of thought and work has gone into this at some time. It has a really special charm.

    I'm amazed that it got past the quarantine people without being fumigated!

  4. lovely little house!i especially like the painted brickwork and the handmade door.. this was a very nice acquisition... can't wait to see it furnished and lived in!! xx

  5. Oooh Rebecca! What a unique little house you have got - if I had seen it, I would have snapped it up too! A fair bit of work to do but it will be well worth it.

  6. OOOooohhh... I am so happy for you. This looks like quiet a treasure and am sure you will fix it up nicely. The electrical room looks like it needs a miniature handyman. Why not give your dolls some cleaning supplies and let them clean it up while you have Christmas. Wishful thinking I know. What a lovely find. Congrats!

  7. It is a charming cottage. I look forward to seeing it loved and in good order. The great pity is the ruination of the hand-drawn dog. It looks rather sweet.

  8. Rebecca, this is such a wonderful house! How lucky you are to have it. It is full of charm and sweetness. I can't wait to see it when it is ready for the dolls to move in.


  9. What a wonderful house Rebecca, I especially like the ceiling beams!

  10. It's really a wonderful house, it looks so warm and cosy, I first thought it was a real house when I saw it on my bloglist. So many beautiful details, I can see why you love the shed door, I would too. And I love the brickwork, even though it's "just" painted. beautiful flooring too.
    Too bad the house was infested, hope you can solve the problem without too much trouble. It will be so nice to see it restored to it's former glory, I can really see your dolls live their lives there.

  11. I find it really interesting to see images of old dolls houses, this one looks handmade, you have some work ahead of you to restore it but I am sure the process will be most rewarding.

  12. Rebecca, this seems to be a house only for you. I cannot imagine a better place for it. So many beautiful details, the bricks, the stairs, the doors and windows. I love it. I'm glad for you you've got it.
    Have a nice time with your family and blissfull Christmas!

  13. Thank you all for your comments, I'm glad you like it too!

    Yes, this got through Quarantine and customs without being inspected. It's quite a while since I've had a parcel which said "opened for inspection", actually - in this case, it would have been very useful .... The old German roombox which I use for the witch and PI's offices was fumigated by quarantine. That's the only one which has come from overseas - I got one from Victoria which had woodworm which turned out to be alive and well. I tried fumigating it in the shed - it's been OK since, but the pandanus baskets which the woodworm spread too have still got it, despite fumigation and freezing.

    Thanks for reminding me about freezing. Sometimes I think I should buy a chest freezer just for dolls houses - but this one is small enough to fit in the freezer on its side, when I take off the chimneys (loose) and the shed and bathroom rooves. So it can sit there over the holidays, and then I'll see.

    It's actually quite hard to tell if dust comes out - the whole house is so dusty! And I don't want to leave it to see if little piles of frass build up ...

  14. Oh Pan, I did mention this on the Nice Things on Ebay discussion on Dolls Houses Past and Present! I don't know who the other bidders were, but I was very happy to win it - I was scared that a dealer would buy it for the Dinky sets and lampshades. So I breathed a sigh of relief when the auction ended!

  15. Hmm, Amy, some of my dolls are quite good at cleaning - better than I am, if the truth be known - but they have a good excuse in this case, as I don't have any cleaning materials in the right scale!!! And, while it's in the freezer, it would be rather cold for cleaning - so I'll be quite happy if they help later on :-)

  16. I love how some of you like particular aspects of the house - the lintels, the brickwork, the handmade doors, the flooring, the windows, the stairs, the ceiling beams, the little picture of the dog - I love how every part of it has been made which such care and skill. I wonder if one very talented person made it, or several people with different skills?

    Lynne, the dog does look sweet, doesn't it? I think I will try to make the damage less obvious, by putting a piece of paper behind the original and filling in the lines and shading. I would like the dog to keep living in its cottage!

    Margaret, thank you for visiting! I have several handmade houses, some made quite crudely, some with a great deal of skill. This one is quite special - I'll show pictures as I restore it.

    Dear Oese, thank you! I am very happy that its new home is with me, and I like thinking of all the love and effort that its maker put into it. It seems to have a life of its own, in a way that commercially made houses don't, so much.
    A very happy Christmas to you too :-)

  17. I too watched this house on eBay (no bid) but am so delighted you won because now I will get to enjoy the renovation...with you doing all the work!
    I too love the lintels and the different shades of paint used to create the bricks...a true artist did their magic! Looking forward to your first update on this wonderful little house...after it's stay in the freezer, of course!