Sunday, January 19, 2014

Interesting tab and slot construction

I mentioned that I had four new dolls houses (plus a cardboard one) in Bathurst. I've shown two of them, and while I'm now back in Darwin, I did manage to photograph all of them while I was in Bathurst, so I can still show you all of them.

This house was listed on Australian ebay last August, by a seller whose name was Jennie. That's how our mother spelt her name, and her birthday is in August, so I felt a bit sentimental about it anyway, but was also attracted by some lovely features, including the front porch with its picket fence. And look at that sliding front door! Here you can see it from the inside:

The house also has a very interesting construction. The right side of the front, and the whole of the back, are removable, and sit in place by means of tabs which slot into the base:

You can see the three tabs along the bottom of this side of the front, and in the next photo, you can just see the slots in the base. The two rooms behind this wall are the bathroom and a small bedroom, and they have a flower box running under their windows, which will look lovely when filled.

All the rooms in this house are decorated with wallpapers and carpet from a real house, perhaps the maker's house ... the seller didn't know who had made this dolls house, though, as her husband had rescued it from a clean-up in the Carlingford area of Sydney many years ago.

Here's the back wall, where you can again see the tabs slotting into the base:

What really fascinates me is that all the walls of this house are constructed the same way - they have tabs which slot into the base, and then the non-removable walls have little nails through them to keep them in place:

So, the back wall can be taken off, and the back of the roof lifts up:

Downstairs on the left is the master bedroom:

Through the door, you can see a small hallway and into the bathroom. I think that the tops of the interior walls have the same tab and slot construction, too. The wires hanging down by most of the windows were used to hang the curtains on - the curtains came with the house, but I haven't taken photos of them yet. They need washing before they are rehung - in fact, the whole house needs cleaning. I took photos of the kitchen/dining/living area, and then wondered what the kitchen flooring was made of:

So I felt it, and then wiped it, and realised that it was not in fact grey!

If there was that much dust on the vinyl flooring, I imagine there's the same amount on the carpets, so I will have to vacuum and shampoo them.

On the other side of the living area are the stairs:

leading up to one large room running the whole depth of the house, and one smaller room:

On each side of the roof, there's a rod screwed to the wall which can be moved upright and placed into a notch in the beading at the edge of the roof/ceiling:

The large upper room:

where the stairs come out:

The small upper room:

As well as curtains, all the windows, and the front door, clearly had some kind of covering stuck to them, probably plastic. I'll have to see if I can remove the glue marks before fitting new plastic. I wish I had photographed the curtains, even before washing them - they each have a number written on a bit of masking tape and stuck to them, and the windows also have numbers on masking tape below them, so it's easy to identify which window the the curtains go on:

I'm intrigued that the sides of the house are identified as northern (above) and southern (below):

This would mean that the back, with the kitchen and main bedroom, would face east, and the front, with the porch and front door, would face west. The downstairs bedrooms are on the south side, which here in Australia means less sun, and the dining room, kitchen and side of the porch are on the northern side, getting more sun and warmth. I don't know if the labels were attached by the seller, or have been there since her husband found the house - I wonder if either the maker of the dolls house, or the seller's husband, is a house builder, and so thinks in terms of siting a house with relation to the sun ...
The base of the house, laid out as a real house would be, is fairly large: it's 86 cm wide and 71 cm deep. To the peak of the roof is 43 cm. The scale is 1/16th: the room height is 6 1/4 inches, and the doors vary between 4 3/4" - 5 1/4". So I'll probably be furnishing it with the 1/16th scale brands of the period - Barton, Dol-toi, perhaps Lundby ... I have a couple of pieces of homemade furniture I was going to try out in here, too, but forgot. But the first task will be cleaning it, especially the carpets!


  1. Neat little house Rebecca. Unbelievable the before and after of the flooring. The style of the house is nice and I like the little sliding door.

    1. Thanks, Sharee! It's amazing, isn't it - the grey carpet is probably cream too! I'm looking forward to cleaning it next time I'm in Bathurst.

  2. Marta said:
    Hello from Spain: I like your 'new' house. I'm looking forward to seeing your makeover. Keep in touch

    Thank you, Marta! I'm sorry, somehow I managed to delete your comment, although it's still in my emails! Until I visit my sister again in a few months time, I can only plan for the furniture and dolls :-)

  3. I am really enjoying your posts about your new (old) houses. This one makes me nostalgic for my mid-century childhood. What a great find!

    1. Hi Susan, Thank you, I'm glad you are enjoying them! This one is very mid-century in a homely kind of way - it will be fun to furnish it!

  4. Hi Rebecca, do you renovate the houses you buy completely or just try to get them to their original state? I love the fact that you save pieces of history. Like Shale said, it's a trip down memory lane to see the styles of houses from years gone buy. Love this house =0)

    1. Hi Pepper, Thanks for visiting! Glad you like this house! With this one, all I'll do will be to clean it, and then either remove the glue stains on the window frames and door, or paint over them, before rehanging the curtains (nylon lace!). Then with the 1930s book-style house, I'm stripping paint from the original wallpaper, and will get the exterior back to the original paint if I can, too. Some have been redecorated so many times that there's almost nothing of the original paper or paint left, so I feel freer to paper how I like ... But I love having houses with their original decorations, especially when they were lovingly made or decorated at home for a particular child. I'd love to know more of the history of this one, but the care that went into it is clear!

  5. You are so lucky to have found this house. Its a very interesting one.!

    1. Hi Neomi, Thanks for visiting! I was very lucky to find this house, and to be able to buy it. I like it more and more :-)

  6. Hello Rebecca,
    What an interesting house. It is lovely and very unique.
    Big hug,

    1. Hello Giac, Thanks for visiting. Yes, it looked interesting in the auction photos, but they didn't show how interesting and unique it was! I'm looking forward to cleaning it up and furnishing it :-)

  7. This is a totally fascinating house....and looks like it would be a lot larger than the dimensions you gave. I'm glad you will leave it in it's original state...cleaned of course. Looking forward to seeing a little family move in!

  8. Hello Rebecca,
    I am writing to you for the first time - and I am exited because I have just bought a very similar house built around 1955, and I believe that our house models arose from the very same plan (called A Woman's Plan), which was an insert in a magazine from around 1955. I am trying to trace the magazine and I have the original plan in very good condition, and it mentions 22 September, but which year and which Woman magazine (Australian?) It also contains an attached garage. I love its realistic plan and dimensions, and its roof and front and back walls can be removed for access. It is a gem and I intend to research its origin. Interested?.
    Greetings from Gitte

    1. Hi Gitte, I am very interested to hear about your dolls house - and the original plan! I'd love to see photos of yours, and a scan of the plan, if you'd like to email some to me, at greenreb41 at hotmail dot com (I'm sure you can figure out that means replacing ' at ' with @ and ' dot ' with . ) 1955 is much earlier than I would have thought for this house - well, certainly earlier than the wallpaper and carpets used in it. But of course, someone could have used earlier plans to make a house some years later ... A Woman's Plan is an interesting name for it, too! All very intriguing! I look forward to seeing and hearing more. Thanks for getting in touch! cheers, Rebecca

  9. Hello again Rebecca,
    I was distracted by the purchase of another home made house model in scale 1:16, this one built in plywood in 1965 from a plan in a magazine, and which also has a roof that comes off. Again very exiting, just as it is to have raised your curiosity! I have narrowed down my search of the first house plan to the English 'Woman' magazine issued around 22 September 1956 (my best guess), but I have paused my search after hours of searching for this issue among internet sellers of vintage magazines. I will send some pictures and try to scan the (size AO?) plan for you, or perhaps bring the two houses with me to the Sydney Miniatures Fair in 2015. I have promised to stay in contact with the ladies who sold the miniature houses, to eventually present to them my result of what home interiors and exteriors may have looked like in the 1950s and -60s. I have also decided to name the residencies after the families who produced and used them, especially since they seemed sad to part with them but never got to finalise them with wallpapers and floorings etc. The houses were very clean and intact, and so I will try to minimise my impact by adding interior surfaces secured with temporary Blutack or similar. I am using vintage Kleeware and Barton furniture and similar, but will use the very articulated and to scale accurate Lundby dolls. Not to bore the blog readers, I will write to you and mention my other two scale 1:18 and 1:6 house projects.
    Greetings from Gitte in Sydney.