Once upon a time, way back in the early 90’s, my dad took an early retirement from his job at IBM. I believe he was around 55 or so at the time. Back in the day an early retirement from an excellent company was totally do-able because companies were more likely to provide you with health insurance after retirement. That’s no longer very likely and now people like me will have to work until they are medicare eligible because health insurance has gotten so ridiculously expensive. But I digress. This is not a post about the ongoing woes of our health care system, this is a post about a dollhouse.
You see, once retired my dad quickly grew bored. He desperately needed a project. So when I casually mentioned how I’d always wanted a dollhouse, he took that idea and ran with it.
At the time my parents lived in Kentucky, and I was here in Minnesota. Now remember, this was the early 90’s. We didn’t have email. Nor did we have cell phones. My dad would take photos of his progress, get them developed and then send them to me in the mail. I would send paint chips, wallpaper (dollhouse sized) and tiny furnishings back to him in the mail. It was an awesome way for my dad and I to connect. We were both so excited about the project. I will always have fond memories of that time (my dad passed away about 10 years ago).
All of that being said, the dollhouse is large and heavy. For a long time it resided in what is now the Q Branch and it took up the entire room since you really need to be able to get around all sides of it. I used to decorate it for the holidays when it was on display in that room, I even had a Christmas tree with working lights. But eventually I decided that it was a poor use of a really great room so we moved the dollhouse up to the guest room where it has been sitting and gathering dust for quite some time.
Since we had to move the dollhouse downstairs to refinish the floors in the guest room, I did some serious thinking and decided it wasn’t going back up. This will allow Mr. Q to take over the larger room as his study, and the smaller room will become the guest room with no space for the dollhouse. I just don’t have a large enough house to devote so much space to something that I barely pay attention to anymore.
My niece used to always say she would take the dollhouse one day, so I asked her if she really wanted it. The answer was no. I offered it to a couple of other family members who also didn’t want it. I was starting to think I might have to just sell it, when Mr. Q’s step-dad mentioned that he would love to have it! He loves anything miniature (just check out this post about his workshop for proof of that), plus he’s an extremely talented wood worker, so the dollhouse will be in good hands.
So it’s a happy ending. The dollhouse is going to a wonderful new home. Tom is in the process of adding a three season wrap around porch at their farmhouse and the dollhouse will fit neatly at one end. I’ll be able to visit it whenever I want to, and the grandkids will all be able to play with it whenever they visit.
Before I send it off to its new home, I thought I’d take a few photos to share with you guys.
Gosh, where do I even start? If you haven’t already gotten yourself a fresh cup of coffee, you might want to do that now. This may be a long one.
Since this dollhouse was for me, obviously it had to have impressive gardens.
Most of the flowers are made out of Fimo clay. I made some of them myself, like the trailing vines in the window boxes, but it didn’t take me long to figure out that I really don’t have the patience for working with tiny things.
Let’s head inside …
and begin our tour in the kitchen.
Did you notice the tin ceiling or the ceiling fan?
Remember, this was decorated back in the early 90’s. Stenciled borders were all the rage. I added that stencil myself with a tiny little metal stencil. And even though farmhouse sinks weren’t quite as popular yet, I wanted one in my dollhouse!
My dad was very detail oriented. The door between the kitchen and the dining room is a swinging door. And check out the paneling below the chair rail, the parquet floor and the dentil crown molding above the stenciled border.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed yet, but the dollhouse is fully electrified.
Another example of attention to detail, there is a little door under the stairs that opens and closes. I suppose I could store the Christmas tree under there. See it back there?
You can catch a glimpse of the foyer through the arched opening in the dining room. The floor in the foyer is a type of blue shale that is found in Kentucky. My dad just gathered some up from a field near his house and ’tiled’ the floor with it.
Boy, you can also tell the era of this dollhouse by all of the wallpaper! My real house was entirely wallpapered at that time as well. And the garish shades of pink, burgundy, sea foam green and forest green (all chosen by yours truly). Yikes!
Here’s the living room. See that wedding photo on the wall to the left? That’s me and Mr. Q!
Oh, and did I mention that my dollhouse has two original water colors on the walls? Yep, my dad was friends with local artist at the time and he asked him to paint a couple of paintings for the dollhouse. The first one hangs over the living room fireplace.
The second one hangs over the master bedroom fireplace. I really can’t decide which one of these is my favorite, I love them both. Had I ended up having to sell the dollhouse I would have removed these and kept them. But now they will stay in place.
Can I just mention here how much I love that fireplace? Isn’t it fantastic! This is another great example of my dad’s attention to detail. He purposely added black ‘soot’ to the brick fireplace insert so it would look well used. See it? The little pile of logs on the fire is electrified so that it glows like a real fireplace.
Currently the master bedroom is sparsely furnished with just this lovely four poster bed.
Next door is the bathroom. Originally there was just going to be the claw foot tub with the towel bar above it, but my dad found this amazing hot water heater and had to have it.
I love all of the details in this room; the tile floor, the wainscoted wall, the tin ceiling, the wall mounted sink, even the little toothpaste box next to the sink.
But I can’t lie. My favorite detail in the bathroom is the tiny roll of toilet paper. Seriously, does that thing just crack you up or what?
I decorated the second bedroom in the house as a young girl’s room. Naturally.
Complete with a faux wicker vanity.
Just above the girl’s room is the attic.
I believe my dad originally came up with the idea for this space when he found the newspaper wallpaper.
My dad had a lot of fun with the details of this room like the exposed studs and electrical, and we both had fun coming up with stuff to ‘store’ in the attic.
The other room on the 3rd floor was inspired by the pool table. When my dad found that, he knew he had to have a room for it.
Last, but not least, there is one more tiny room tucked away in the tower.
A cozy little reading nook.
I hope you enjoyed this tour of the dollhouse.
I’m looking forward to a week off the day job next week. A little staycation, during which I plan to work on my master bedroom makeover. I’ve got several projects planned, so be sure to stay tuned!