When I was somewhere around 4 or 5, my great-grandfather gave me a dollhouse. I have so many fond memories of this dollhouse…literally hours and hours of play. I remember decorating it with my mom, the furniture she’d made from Kleenex boxes upholstered to match our own family’s furniture, the various dollhouse accessories and, most of all, having my Barbies live here (despite the fact that they had to crawl through the 6″ doorways).
With Jessie’s third birthday approaching, Kyle and I started talking gifts and dollhouses, of course, came up. I loved the idea, it would be *perfect*! I remembered how much fun I’d had with mine…I knew she would enjoy one, too. But what I didn’t love were the price tags! On the cheap end, a wooden dollhouse is pushing $200 (not including furniture and dolls!) And then, once we got it, what the heck was I supposed to do with another giant toy in the house?? The more I thought about it, the more the sad reality sunk in…a new wooden dollhouse was completely implausible, illogical, and irresponsible.
After a few days of moping around the house like a three year old (I don’t know where she gets it!), it came to me…what if my old dollhouse was still around?? I called my mom and thankfully, my parents had had the forethought and patience (and storage room) to hang onto it for the last three decades. It was time for the renovations to begin…
Now, the most brilliant thing about this dollhouse design is that it’s totally collapsible! It’s approximately a 24″ cube when assembled, but flattens out to a 24″ x 24″ x 2″ square that can be slid under any bed or pushed to the back of any closet when my little Diva changes interests.
When my dad shipped it to me, I was actually giddy with excitement. It was all I could do to wait until Jessie had gone to bed before putting it together. Here it is, in all it’s mid-80′s glamour! After giving Kyle
the grand tour forcing him to relive all my childhood memories, we started talking about how to renovate it to make it personal to Jessie.
To say I *flung* myself into decorator mode, would be a bit of an understatement. I pulled out mountains of scrapbook paper and fabric scraps and started a new “Dollhouse” board on Pinterest. I even had a notebook with sketches…I know, I’m insane. BUT I WAS GETTING TO RELIVE ONE OF MY GREATEST CHILDHOOD MEMORIES, who wouldn’t be excited??
I eventually settled on a 1/12 scale which means every inch in the dollhouse is equivalent to a foot in real life. My hope is that going with one of the most common scales for “play” dollhouses will make decorating and finding accessories easier in the future. After deciding scale, Kyle straightened up the edges and raised the height of the doorways to 7″. Then I went to work with sanding, paint and Mod Podge.
BEFORE and AFTER of the two floors and roof.
I used only the scrapbook paper and fabric that I had on hand. For all the 2D furniture, art and landscaping; I Googled images and then scaled them to the appropriate size in Photoshop. After that, it was just a matter of printing the images and cutting them out. Admittedly, the Mod Podge took a few attempts to get right. The first wall had A LOT of bubbling and I ended up having to redo it. The trick was doing 3 to 4 very thin coats, allowing for plenty of drying time in between.
I requisitioned Kyle’s nights for making most of the furniture. Didn’t he do an incredibly awesome job?? We used the tutorial from Blue Dinosaurs as a starting point and then scaled things up or down to fit our purposes. I opted for the kitchen appliances to be blocks of wood, as opposed to having doors that open and close, in hopes that we’d be re-gluing things less often. Then I just freehanded the paint and sewed a few cushions.
The bathroom accessories were a gift from Marmie & Grandpa Dan. Neither Kyle nor I wanted to tackle them but we couldn’t do without as ‘going potty’ is such a big deal to a three year old. :)
There were only two *actual* purchases for this project…the baby accessories that I just happened to find new at a local second-hand swap for kid stuff…
and the dolls themselves. I am SO pleased with these Once Upon a Tree House dolls. For one, they don’t look entirely creepy…which I was beginning to think was a prerequisite for dollhouse families. Secondly, I was able to pick and choose my family members…meaning that if I have more than 2 kids and no grandparent living with us or if mom and dad don’t look identical, I can still make it fit our family. Lastly, they are completely moldable/moveable which makes the creative play go so much further!
I can’t wait to show you how it turned out and the big reveal to Jessie on her birthday! Stay tuned next week for the final unveiling. ;)