Just before Easter, I received two dolls houses which I had bought from an Australian collector who lives in northern New South Wales. She is downsizing her real house, and therefore also downsizing her collection. Here is one of the houses.
It was made in the 1940s for a lady named Diana Mitchell. Anne, the collector I bought it from, told me that the dolls house was made by Diana's grandfather from New Zealand timber. They lived "out the back" of Kyogle, a small town in northern NSW, on the Richmond River. It's a big dairy-farming and timber-getting area, not far from the larger town of Casino, where my father grew up. My father's parents' families had both been involved in dairy-farming around Casino and Grafton, so I'm very happy to have a dolls house that comes from this area. (I do wonder why Diana's grandfather used New Zealand timber, when red cedar and hoop pine are logged locally ....)
The front of the house comes off - it's held in place by the two little clips at the top, the pieces of wood on the inside of the front, and a hook at one side. The curtains are all original - they were made by Diana's grandmother.
Inside, there are four rooms. The kitchen (in the photo above), the living room and the bedroom have original furniture made by Diana's grandfather, with the upholstery, bedding and mats also made by Diana's grandmother. (Anne has added pieces, as I shall too, but I'll show just the original furnishings here first.)
Anne has done some restoration work on this house - when she got it, there was a split in the wood right down the back, through the living room downstairs and the bedroom upstairs. She filled the crack, and repainted the rooms in the same colours but slightly lighter shades (she said that they had been terribly bright).
(I've just realised I left the Dol-toi table in the living room! Obviously, it wasn't made by Diana's grandfather!)
You can see the filled crack in the back wall of the rooms.
Anne told me that she had also painted the doors and the fireplace in timber colours, as they were all painted the same colour as the walls they were in/on. She sent me a photo of the dolls house before she fixed the crack and repainted it:
You can clearly see the crack running up the back, as well as the blue fireplace, blue door on the living room side and pink door on the bedroom side.
The house clearly had a bathroom, as the small room upstairs has the same white and green checked floor paper as the kitchen, and the same material (with small raised green spots) has been used for the curtains:
The bathroom curtains are on the left side of this photo; the other two windows are in the bedroom. The same fabric used for the bedroom curtains is used for the living room curtains downstairs, too.
However, the bathroom furniture is not original - none came with the house when Anne bought it. Anne provided it with the set you can see in the photo of the house before she worked on it, and the set she included when she sold it to me. (The first set had a low cistern; Anne had then found a set with a high cistern of the type real houses of the time would have had - if they didn't still have an outside dunny!)
Anne also included some Erna Meyer grandparents with the house - I'll show them when I post about it again. I have already been looking through my stash for things like pictures to hang, and thinking that this grandmother would be very likely to use the fly covers I bought at the fair, to protect the scones and other goodies she whips up when visitors call - so now I want to find some scones for the house!
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