Hidden Dollhouse, Part 2

August 17th, 2011 · 21 Comments · Children's Books, Gifts, Culture, Rituals

So I’m sure by now you are all wondering where and how the girls have spent all their hard-earned summer book club points. There have been trips to the soccer shop (Phoebe bought a Rooney jersey, Abby a miniature black and yellow ball which she has been kicking against the backyard wall nonstop, much to the delight of my neighbors, I’m sure); and trips to amazon (they decided to pool their earnings and go in on walkie-talkies together); and then there was the trip to ebay to buy Abby furniture for her dollhouse. By dollhouse, I mean what you are looking at above — the bottom two shelves of her bedroom’s built-in bookcase. Abby has created little worlds for herself all over the house, most notably in the kitchen, but I think this is my favorite one of all because it’s a work in progress and has been for over two years. Together we’ve wallpapered the kitchen with Old Navy wrapping paper, renovated two bathrooms with leftover scraps of ceramic and marble tiles from our real house, laid down wall-to-wall carpeting (fabric swatches from the store), and created enormous jewel–and-giftwrap-on-felt wall-hangings worthy of MoMA. A lot of the furniture in the two story apartment complex was in my dollhouse when I was a kid, but over the years we’ve supplemented with ebay purchases. It can take Andy and me years to make decorative decisions in our real house, so it’s immensely satisfying to wallpaper Abby’s bathroom with a sheet of origami paper in five seconds. In other words, I don’t know who enjoys this project more — Abby or me.

I always politely suggest that it might be time to start shopping for a real kitchen table, but Abby is committed to her makeshift masterpiece, four tea party plates piled on top of each other. The kitchen is from the dollhouse I owned when I was little. The dolls are Plan. (Christmas present, 2009.)

We have one television in our real house, but Abby’s apartment complex has four — which I guess makes sense since there are three families that occupy the space. The pink cabinet was fashioned from a Melissa and Doug beading kit and the photos on the back wall are cropped from old family photos and framed with silver paper.

Abby bought this little lounge set as well as the bathroom behind it with her book club points. The wallpaper is origami paper.

Her idea, I swear! We took a screen shot (on a Mac: Command/Shift/3) and then shrunk it in Word before printing and sticking on to hard white stock. (Andy’s leftover GQ stationery.) I know, I have problems.

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21 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Amy // Aug 17, 2011 at 9:08 am

    This is freaking adorable. I love how much thought, rather than cash, went in to this.

  • 2 jess // Aug 17, 2011 at 9:35 am

    This is beyond amazing!

  • 3 Melissa@Julia's Bookbag // Aug 17, 2011 at 10:28 am

    LOOOOOVE THIS! SO cute! I Loved the inside-the-cabinet-door magazine clippings one as well :) I did a whole dollhouse week not long ago, and among the memorable DIY dollhouse ideas I discussed, I mentioned and linked yours! http://www.juliasbookbag.com/2011/07/delightful-dollhouses.html
    aloha, Melissa

  • 4 654carroll // Aug 17, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    I. LOVE. THIS! these photos are the coolest (the scale of them is so deceiving!). a kitchen sponge wrapped in a fabric scrap makes a pretty convincing bed, FYI. Don’t ask me how i know this…

  • 5 mek // Aug 17, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    I love that it is in a cupboard, and the decor, too! A great idea. I never thought to look on eBay for dollhouse furniture…probably because I have walled off all knowledge of eBay from that part of my brain that would like to spend too much time there!

  • 6 Stef // Aug 17, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    I don’t often comment on blogs, but love this so so so so much, that I had to say so. SO much. What a creative bunch.

  • 7 Caitlin // Aug 17, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    I love this post and Abby’s imagination! I hope my future children will love playing in their created worlds as much as I did. I’m looking forward to having an excuse to play like that again.

  • 8 Sophie // Aug 17, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    Oh my goodness! I had a dollhouse just like that on the bookshelf above my bunk bed for years! I loved it!! I still have all my furniture carefully packed away…

    By the way, cardboard jewelry boxes make beautiful beds– you can use the lid as a headboard and the padding as a mattress to tuck the blankets around– I even glued beads on the bottom for feet once :) And I see you already have darling little pillows…

    Different-shaped beads glued together also make great little bottles for the bathroom.

  • 9 Kat // Aug 18, 2011 at 12:22 am

    I love this! As a kid, I wanted those doll houses that I saw in catalogs and toy stores. My mom eventually gave me one but it’s too small for all my toys. We had an old shelf planter that became my dollhouse. My grandmothers, resourceful & creative ladies, would make me furniture and whatnot with scraps. This post brings back memories of those days. :)

  • 10 Elizabeth // Aug 18, 2011 at 1:56 am

    No, you two most certainly DON’T have problems. I adore this kind of thing — was thrilled when one of my sons got a terrifically huge firehouse one year for Christmas that became a sort of dollhouse for me, too! Your daughter seems amazing –

  • 11 Caroline // Aug 18, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    this is truly awesome–and perfect timing because Belle recently unearthed my unfinished dollhouse from the attic and after using about 20 leftover Benjamin Moore samples to paint it (the house now resembles Ken Kesey’s bus ) she’s been gearing up for the interior decorating. I am going to show her your post tonight!

  • 12 Courtney // Aug 18, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    This is pure genius. Why have I never seen a doll house in a cabinet before?! Love it.

  • 13 cg // Aug 18, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    I did a version of this as a kid too! I can’t believe i forgot all about it and hadn’t done one for my own kid. Mine was the bottom two shelves in my closet, for my barbies and I used a tissue box (full) as a bed, shoes as a car, etc. I had some furniture already and all the table and kitchen ware I made from foil. Love it. Am going to have my kid convert part of her book case so I can get rid of the plastic house.

  • 14 little t // Aug 18, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Oh my God- I want to do this!! But I don’t have a child, and I can’t think of any other excuse to make it socially acceptable…

  • 15 Kate // Aug 19, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Love this! Wow it’s so so creative and I love the finished product and the thought and care behind it, this dollhouse is certainly rich in value and meaning!
    -Kate

  • 16 Rena // Aug 19, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    Love!!! I had a dollhouse that my mom and I built from a kit, using a hot glue gun. The windows never fit in quite right, but I loved it so much. I can’t wait until my daughter is old enough to play with it!

  • 17 Slauditory // Aug 21, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    The level of detail in the decorating of this dollhouse is amazing! I love the tiny art and the tiny computer. Also, the idea of having a dollhouse inside of a piece of furniture meant for something else is quite creative. I love it! (Also, I love the snickerdoodle recipe I used from your site for my birthday party’s cookies. Yum yum!)

  • 18 Rose // Nov 4, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    This dollhouse is amazing! I love the open floor concept that this cupboard provides for, it makes it so modern and fresh and not like the tiny-room-for-each-different-thing Victorian dollhouses I saw as a child. (My childhood dollhouse was actually a Barbie tent – is it surprising that I love camping as an adult?)

  • 19 Annie // Feb 4, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Wonderful! I love your blog. Thanks for sharing.

  • 20 Sally // Jun 5, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Holy cow, this is amazing. I can’t imagine anything that would have thrilled me more than this as a kid. Who am I kidding, this still thrills me! Great job :)

  • 21 Sherry // Jul 13, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    This is so wonderful, creative and adorable. I love all that has gone into this! Especially the makeshift computer. My 6 year old loves to make computers and cell phones out of construction paper. This idea jazzes it up! She would love to pull some pictures from the internet and make her own “screen”. See? One more way your blog is making the world a better place!

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