Over the past month Big Poppa and I have delighted in this dolls’ house renovation project. It was an adventure very close to my heart. My grandfather build this simple house for my mother in the cramped little shed at the end of his garden in the 1950s. My Mum played with it as a child and then it was passed on to me in my childhood in the ’80s. Now in the twenty-tens (discussion has ensued regarding what we call this era, Little Fearse rejected the “teenies”, so 2010s is the best I’ve got) my daughter has been gifted this gorgeous house made by her great grandfather. It’s the kind of continuity that really delights me, being a sentimental kind of lass. My grandfather, who I called Papa, was a gentle, industrious and humorous man who I adored and admired as a child. It gives me such a thrill to see my daughter, who never knew him, playing with the house he designed and built with his own hands. Now Big Poppa and I have had the opportunity to make our mark on the house, giving it extra sentimental credit if it ever gets handed on to future Fearse generations. Or, you know, Little Fearse may have been taught the skill of decluttering so well that she turfs it first opportunity she gets.
The original dolls’ house had a frontage the slid along the runner at the front. This was present in my childhood but has since disappeared. We may make another one day, or maybe unearth the original one in my parents’ shed, but for now we’re not worried – it’s just for appearance anyway, and would hamper play. The lid of the house comes off. As Little Fearse grows she will be able to play through the roof space as well as the front.
The dolls’ house is filled with items sourced from here and there and everywhere. You may recognise the family living there. The old school Simpsons family have been gathered by Big Poppa since childhood. They are the perfect size for the house and since he doesn’t want to part with them, we thought we might as well give them a purpose and a home. Each room in the house holds its secrets, which we will reveal in a room-by-room series.
Our dolls’ house isn’t finished – we have lots of plans for additions and improvements (including doing up the roof, which wasn’t done in time). We’ll keep you updated as we make changes.
There are a number of resources we’ve used throughout the project. Most of these are web based, but we have also learned a lot from a number of books we borrowed from the local library. These were:
If you are setting out on your own dolls’ house renovation here are a few of our favourite websites we turned to for inspiration:
Modern DIY dollhouse with wooden furniture – this was my absolute favourite and most inspirational tutorial. I just love how Erin used only things around the house. Our own stove is inspired by Erin’s.
Seven Thirty Three – an adorable dolls house renovation tutorial.
How to: Make a modern doll house – this is a great little house. I’m actually quite envious of the kitchen and the window planters!
My froggy stuff – tutorials for everything dolls house related! Great pics and printables, too.
Creatively content – DIY from building the house to decorating and creating furniture.
Dollshouse decorating – I found this page a little confusing to navigate, but the ideas are endless and usually quite simple.
Kathy’s Miniatures – this gorgeous Irish cottage is themed down to the bathroom towels. Lots of adorable ideas. I particularly liked the little knitted blankets and plan to add some of these to Little Fearse’s house one day.