This dollhouse was originally built in 1991 by my mother, my step-dad, and I. It is an absolute work of art and of love. It was one of the best times of my life both in the original build and in the remodel in 2012.
My Mother had made one a few years prior cut almost entirely using a keyhole saw.
By the time my oldest was born the original keyhole house made for my nieces was long gone. So my mom started to talk of another. At some point that talk became reality and we were cutting, sewing, and creating. My oldest was ecstatic. But then again so were all the adults. This thing had everything, working lights, ceiling fan, even a red Corvette in the driveway. You name it…it had it. 3′ x 3′ made with 1/2″ plywood, it is SOLID. We could sit on it and it wasn’t going anywhere.
The more we worked on it, the more ideas came,
And the more stuff. Everyone that cared about Brandi started donating miniature pieces to fill “her” house.
Many of the items were handcrafted, some store bought and many a mix of the two. Over the years, it has had a diversity of residence also, from live lizards, fancy china dolls, to Bratz. So as you can see it is just like any other home…
(I have many original pictures and when located I will add them also)
In 2012, I decided to redo the house for Brandi’s daughter, My grand-daughter.
It had already given Brandi so many hours of enjoyment and had spent years in the garage with its beautiful belongings in a box. I felt it was time for an update and a new child to love it (kinda due to the fact that she begged to play with it every time she went in the garage.
The first step in the remodel was to clean it all down and prime. We didn’t REALLY want to change anything. As there was so much of myself and my parents that went into it originally. The original pink and white we decided had to stay (Just brighter), And we found the only structural damage was to the electrical system, the balcony rail, and one missing stair. Not too shabby for a 21-year-old house. Emily’s father was a tremendous help with the cleanup and undercoating. So it begins…..
We taped it all off and put on many coats of very bright pink paint, so it might last until the next generation remodel.
It took weeks for the finished product to come together, but it was well worth it.
There are so many “little” touches that make this house special. The patio doors, for instance, are a lot of little tiny separate pieces each hand cut by my Dad. He can still tell you all these years later the exact measurement. Each is precise and they are double sided with plexiglass insert and brass hinges and knob.
Originally there were also two hanging baskets of flowers on the patio. My Mother made the baskets from the metal soda bottle lids. The ones they don’t make anymore. punched little tiny holes and wired it to look real. Only one survived through the years. The little cobblestone patio is a vinyl sheet that is original to the house and worn looking. We left it as the worn rock look really appealed to me.
It just occurred to me that the brass table and chair set came from my sister Darla who is no longer with us. I had forgotten about that. For years, it was in the attic of the house as there was a little white wooden set that my mother had gotten for it. If you notice in the corner there is a puppy. He is a new addition, although through the years just like with our real homes there have been many pets here both real and pretend. Brandi originally received so many items that we filled the attic as well as the house, she has two fireplaces, many pets, extra toys, everything an attic should have.
The front porch holds the rocking chairs and one of Brandi’s favorite features of the house. A custom, hand built swing that my Mother crafted. I think she would have sat in it herself if she could have.
Kitchen & Dining
The kitchen was where the most change occurred. Originally my Mom built all of the cabinets and appliances, as miniatures seem to be cost proportionate to real ones. In the rebuild, we lucked out and found stainless steel looking ones for a fraction of their original cost. So we updated everything. not wanting to get rid of the history of the house, though. We moved some of the originals to the attic and the sink unit to the porch for a cleaning station for fish.
The dining room set in here is one of the most fragile pieces of furniture in the home. It was given to us by an elderly woman (Mrs. Mallory) that treated Brandi as a Grand-daughter. It had a weird red felt cover that seemed, old on the seats so I replaced it with hand cross stitching. I have been amazed that the entire set has held up all these years. She had china pieces, spatterware, coffee pots, toasters that the buttons push, copper pots, I made a memo board for the wall, and a little brown bag to go inside the trash can. Spent hours making and painting play food from dough and clay, She had/has it all…. fruits..veggies….cakes….anything her little dolls desired.
The kitchen rebuild also got real wood floors to replace the linoleum. and the drop chandelier over the table. that in retrospect wasn’t such a good idea. Hard to get little hands around. We opted to remove the curtains for a cleaner fresher look.
The bathroom was just FUN!
The original china set held up. Can you believe it? And did you notice the molding in there? It is one of the prettiest rooms so I felt it needed a kick. I had purchased a broken antiqued stained glass lamp some time back. And this was the perfect place for it. I took apart the little pieces and tiled them onto the bathroom floor. gave it a fresh bright blue coat of paint to match the original floral design on the tub and purchased a dollar store wooden cabinet to paint and house the felt towels we had made years ago. And what bathroom would be complete without the tissue? The basket that used to hold the towels was now empty, so I took some tissue and made little mini rolls of potty paper for her dolls tushes.
The hall is the most elegant.
I used fancy scrapbook paper to wallpaper this area and glass tiles for the floor. Fixed the missing stair and replaced the damaged light fixture. I really loved the golds and richness of this area.
Little girls room,
My mother made the dresser and the frame of the bed. I had made the mattresses way back when. But just as with real ones, they wear… So all of them got replaced during the remodel. The lighting is new in here and the rug is made of felt (along with bed covering) and duct tape as with the ones in the other kids’ rooms. I know …I know.. Sign of the times. I used polymer clay to make a mirror and a couple of art pieces for her wall. And tye dye duct tape as wallpaper. Again no curtains for a cleaner less cluttered look.
So how do you “Glam” up a room for one of my kids? Well, you either get your geek on or you punk it up! So guess which way I went…
This is the little boys’ room.
New bed, new shelf, both hand-made. Bed cover is material from a cos-play costume that Amanda did that year.
Not surprisingly it was one of my punk rock grand-daughters favorite rooms.
The babies rooms got new paint. and the knobs put back on the handmade crib my Mother did. A few new embellishments just to update the look a bit.
I SOOOO wanna live here!
This is the master bedroom. Duct tape and felt…
I choose to use the original furnishings and just embellish them. with buttons, I cut the backs from. I took scrapbook frames and framed magazine pictures to hang. Eventually, I will change them out to mine LOL. And you can’t see it in the picture but the reason the monopoly game never had the iron was cause we stole it years ago to go with the ironing board I had made. (Shhhh don’t tell).
Flooring in the bedroom is a textured rubber-like scrapbook material that is made to feel like animal hyde.
All drawers, cabinets, containers, ect…throughout the house open
ZAAAAA MUZIC ROOM!!!!
I LOVE this room.
I spent so long hand painting each leaf around that door years ago. And the little blue bird that nests there. Norman Rockwell plates sit on the shelf, and lush carpet on the floor to lay on as you listen to the beautiful music.
The ceiling fan spins and the new addition to the room was the framed picture of Emily’s Meme. Originally there were also pictures of her Mom and her “Grumpy” in there too. The photos did not get put back in, but they are in the attic and will be one day.
The living room had to have a stair replaced. We also replaced the flooring and repeated the glass tile from the hall into the hearth. We kept the stone fireplace my mother had built and the handmade furnishings.
I think this was one happy little girl and still is!