Saturday, May 11, 2013

Another "book" house, this time from Sydney

I have posted about one of the dolls houses I picked up from Anna-Maria in Canberra. My sister in Sydney was also holding a dolls house for me - here it is on her spare bed, waiting for me:

This was listed on ebay as a "Gorgeous Vintage Wooden Children's Dolls House'. It was in western Sydney (near Penrith). The house is indeed gorgeous - or could be again - and I was especially excited to see that it came with lots of furniture which I can now recognise as from Walther & Stevenson!

This house is 18 1/2 inches wide, 2 feet tall to the top of the chimney, and 16 1/2 inches deep when closed (so the rooms are about 8 inches deep). The front "door", which doesn't open, is about 6" high to the top of the arched fanlight.

What looks like the front of the house is actually one of the side walls - the house opens in half, like a book, on the chimney side. The house I bought last year from Melbourne also opens like a book, though the chimney is at the other end on that one.

The end of the house with the hinges:

 The house seems to have had several generations of play, going by the layers of paint on it. Under the pink on the roof, there are traces of blue, and under that red:

And on the door and window frames, there's a layer of pink on top of blue again, and under that traces of green:

As you can see, there's some wonderful wallpaper inside:

The lower left room

The lower right room even has beautiful paper on the ceiling:

There's paper on the ceiling of the lower left room, but it has been painted over:

All the upstairs room have been painted pink, over the top of the wallpaper:

Can you see the texture of the wallpaper, and the strips around the windows and along the top of the walls? I'll get some paint stripper, and try to remove the paint from the wallpaper - if it's like the downstairs wallpaper, it will definitely be worth trying to save ...

It looks like there were pictures stuck onto the wallpaper, which were lifted before the wallpaper was painted over, and then stuck back down on the paint. Unfortunately, one of the pictures has torn (and so did the wallpaper it was stuck to):

Some of the dirty felt that came with the house as carpeting 

Most of the windows on this side of the house are broken - not sure how easy it will be to fix them.

I'll show the furniture that came with this house in my next post. Most of the furniture appears in catalogues of the Sydney toy store Walther & Stevenson. Maybe the house was bought from there too? I haven't yet seen it in a catalogue, but as I've only seen four catalogues, and one catalogue specifically states that they have dolls houses in styles other than those pictured, it certainly seems possible.

Whoever made it, they thriftily recycled a packing case. Here's the base:

It appears to say 'Magnetically clea[ned] by [W]alker & [G]reig Proc[....]'. I wonder what was in it?


  1. HI Rebecca,
    This is a great old dollhouse! It is hard to find nice ones here in Australia, so well done! I too found an old dollhouse and spent a long time fixing it up.

    1. Thank you, Emily! I have been lucky enough to find some wonderful old dolls houses here in Australia (and have seen some others I wished I could buy). I must make a page of them! Now I'll go and have a look at your dolls houses :-)

  2. Great house Rebecca. Love the old wallpaper.

  3. Thanks, Sharee! I hope I can save the upstairs wallpapers - I love how the border has been used to frame the windows.

  4. What a delightful and fascinating old dolls house Rebecca. The colouring of the downstairs wallpaper is absolutely lovely. Good luck with the upstairs paper...hope you're able to get the pink paint off. It can be so frustrating when you know there could be something beautiful lurking underneath and you just can't get to it,don't you think?! Shall look forward to seeing how restoration goes with it and also interested to see the furniture that came with it. Celia

    1. Thank you, Celia! Isn't it gorgeous? You'll be seeing the furniture long before the restoration, I'm afraid, though!

    2. Cute house, I haven't seen a book style house before.

    3. I have two now, Diane! And an antique one was featured in the 2nd issue of the Dolls Houses Past and Present magazine, back in 2009. They're not that easy to display, as you need the room to swing them open.

  5. Hello Rebecca,
    What a great find. Old dollhouses like this have so much character. A real treasure.
    Big hug,

  6. Hi Giac, Thanks! Yes, I'm very happy to have found it, and won it. It will take quite a bit of work to restore it - I'm so glad the lower floor wasn't painted over too!