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Tuesday, 21 July 2009

My earliest dollshouse

My first dollshouse was actually shared with my sister, but somehow it was me who played with it more. It had in fact belonged to my mother when she was a little girl, and my grandfather took it to pieces and brought it overseas to us when I was about 4 years old. I can clearly remember watching him re-assemble it on the workbench in the garage, which had a convenient window overlooking the back garden, so I could tiptoe and peek in to see what my grandfather was doing. My grandparents had brought over some of the original furniture, and some new items for us, some of which inevitably got broken by small girls. My grandfather even took the trouble to run three lightbulbs on wires through the wood floors/ceilings to provide lights in the three rooms of this Triang house, the battery pack was hidden under the base of the house.

The house took a lot of knocks from two little girls and our friends, and after about 10 years of hard play, was sadly a bit worse for wear, even though very loved. So as a teenager, I did my best to restore it, which included giving it a new plywood roof, repapering and repainting. I didn't do a great job, but it was the best my existing skills could manage - I learned a lot in the process, and went on to build three simple dollshouses out of MDF which I sold, restored one that my cousin had played with, and built a smaller house as well which I also later sold.

Some years later when I had moved to the UK, I had the Triang house shipped back - so it travelled 12,000 miles altogether. It is now in my elder daughter's bedroom but is only occasionally played with now, as she has a larger house of her own. Maybe my little one will play with it soon.

The Triang house after I had repainted it. I wouldn't use gloss paint now, paint a horrible black line around the (original) flowers, nor would I use that large patterned wallpaper, but with supplies where the house was at the time very limited, I did the best I could with what was available. I made the little patchwork quilts for the beds - they really are separate squares sewn together.

I have not done anything else to the house since then - Triang houses in original condition are not worth millions, and this house shows its history of being loved and played with, which was the intention for Triang dolls houses.

This is the shell of one of the 3 houses I built to sell, when an older teenager. My dad's factory cut the main pieces to size from a larger sheet I bought, then I chizelled out all the windows and doors, because I didn't have a jigsaw. I did some woodworking classes after I made the dolls houses! I had fiddled around with bits of wood and tools in the garage for years, so had some basic skills.

Here is one of the houses, all painted up (I think this was the first one I made)

This is inside that house.

This is one of the other houses all painted up.

Inside that house


Rebecca said...

Hello Doll Mum! Thank you for following my blog. I have enjoyed reading yours! How wonderful that you still have your first dolls house. I think you did a great job of refurbishing it - the large scale wallpaper on the inside of the front is subdued enough in colour that it fits in very well, I think. I love the busy crowd of little people downstairs, and the group of dogs! And I'm very impressed with the houses you made yourself. I expressed interest in a carpentry set at a very young age, but was not given one, and have never developed any woodworking skills. When my sister was at school, she did woodwork as well as sewing, but all that was offered in my school was sewing and cooking and so on. They would be very useful skills for mending furniture and dolls houses!
I look forward to reading more of your blog.

DollMum said...

Hello Rebecca, it is even more wonderful in that the dollshouse is being enjoyed by the third generation now. In fact we have 3 dollshouses, I have been slowly building (due to lack of time) a Greenleaf kit - the Westville - for the past 20 years, and my elder daughter has a 3 storey shop which my husband built for her about 4 years ago. I will blog about both in due course, but currently the Westville is in storage, as we are trying to sell our house, so I can't take photos of it or all the little things I've collected over the years, so have to content myself with making clothes for the big dolls.

I tried posting comments on your blog, but for some reason the blogger comment setup you've got isn't allowing me to comment - I had the same problem on another blog. Don't know why. I will keep trying ;-)

Rebecca said...

I'm sorry you haven't been able to leave comments - please do try again, I'd love to read them! I have trouble sometimes on other blogs - either the comment window won't open, or the word for verification doesn't come up, or it just doesn't process it. Maybe blogger itself is having problems. I started with having no moderation, but then actually got spam comments, from India! Amazing the lengths some people will go to. Hope you can get through soon.

DollMum said...

I figured out how to post comments on your blog - it was to do with allowing third party cookies (had to wade through blogger forums for the answer).