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Renovations

May 17, 2010

Early Christmas morning in 1975 I snuck downstairs before anyone else was awake.

In the dim living room, the Christmas tree glittered and shone in quiet majesty. The sweet scent of candy stuffed stockings filled the air. Piles of mysterious wrapped gifts covered the carpeted floor.

And there, under the tree, sat a small, glowing house. Bavarian style, with an interior decorated just like my house! Tiny people sat in miniature chairs, pulled up to a wee little table. I was dumbstruck with joy. For many years, I played with my doll house. Bought a few furniture pieces with my carefully hoarded allowance, and wallpapered a couple of the rooms. Eventually, I grew up and moved away. The doll house was packed up, put away, and forgotten. Years passed.

One day, another little girl was born to the family. My father drove up to my house and dropped off a large heavy cardboard box. Inside was the Bavarian Doll House. The many years had left their mark. The decals were no longer crisp and fresh. The windows were yellowed and brittle. The classic 1970 interior was faded and outdated. My little girl is fast approaching her 5th birthday, and I would like to gift it to her. It is time for a renovation.

I knew I needed to replace the brittle windows, and damaged door. A Google search reveled that although there were several on line stores that sell replacement doors and windows in a 1/12 scale (which means 1 inch equals one foot in real life), none fit the openings in my doll house exactly. A sinking sensation filled my stomach. I began to suspect my father, a skilled craftsman, had not used a kit. He passed away last December, and I could not ask him to verify my suspicions. I did a search for Bavarian Style Doll House, and got one hit. Scotties Doll Haus Shop-Book. They had a kit that can be purchased, and a little booklet, that explained how to paint the doll house, and doll house furniture. I quickly purchased the book, since I had already planned on replacing the peeling decals with traditional hand painting.

At first glance I thought that the doll house on the cover was the same style as my doll house, but then I saw a number of differences. Scotties doll haus does not have functioning doors or real windows. Also the layout of mine is different on the interior. My doll house has a different balcony, and real shutters, and different trim. Perhaps my father purchased the plans, and made modifications. My doll house is made out of heavy duty plywood and pine planks. It certainly was made to last! But that doesn’t answer the question of where my father purchased the plastic window film and decals.

My father electrified my doll house with LED lighting, which in the 1970’s was revolutionary.I will be refreshing the lighting system as well. You can see where he labeled the rooms, in German of course!

Here are some photos of the original interior.

Here is a picture of the Scottie’s Doll Haus (named the Mier Haus) interior.

I ordered replacement parts from an online store called Doll House Collectibles. They have a extensive assortment of working doors and windows. The parts I selected were as close to the style of the originals I could find, but I was going to have to remove the existing trim and enlarge the openings. SCARY! My hands actually shook as I gingerly took a hammer and 5 in one tool to the trim. I tapped. I pried. No results. Finally I hammered with gusto. If we ever have an earthquake, I’m going to crawl inside that doll house, because it will surely make it through intact! At last I got the trim off with only minor splintering.

Inside, I had to remove the 1970’s carpeting and vinyl. Those were more difficult. I had to sand them down with an electric sander to get the underlayment off.

You can see from the window openings the cuts I had to make in order for the new windows to fit.  Next, I will have to fill in the little notches at the top with tiny bits of wood.

In my previous post I promised I would show you a picture of my Secret Spinning Project.  Here it is!

This 8 oz roving from Creatively dyed is a blend of merino, silk and cashmere fiber, and it was a real pleasure to spin.  As you can see the interesting colors blended beautifully, and the yarn is really soft and warm.  This yarn will be the color in my Top Secret Project.  Next I will dive into the 3.5 lbs of prepared Cormo that I have in my studio.  The natural white will be the other component of the Top Secret Project.  Never having spun any fiber prepared by Morrow Bay (that I am aware of), I am curious to find out if their reputation of being the top mill on the West Coast will meet my expectations.

🙂

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 17, 2010 11:03 pm

    Wow, your dollhouse (post-demo) looks like some of the houses we looked at when we moved here! What a fun project!

  2. May 18, 2010 4:01 am

    Your dollhouse is really unique! Good luck with the renovation — I can’t wait to see the finished product!

  3. Rick Landry permalink
    December 4, 2012 1:18 am

    We have just purchased one just like it. We are refinishing for our daughter

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