The Davidson Dollhouse– The Befores

Let’s talk miniatures for a bit, shall we?  That always eases my mind, I consider it to be the perfect escapism.

The Outside, Before

The Outside, Before

From the Back, Before Everything

From the Back, Before Everything

Early in the Summer I completed the organization and decoration of my studio space, and I started pecking away at cleaning out the garage (which still isn’t totally done).  But one of the first things that was excavated from that room– and placed in the aforementioned studio– was the 34 year old dollhouse that my father built for me as a little girl.  Now, in all technicality, it also belongs to my sister, but the real truth is it was built for me in 1980, while my mother incubated that same sister.  They didn’t know at the time that she would also be a girl who would play with it, so the intention behind it being built was all me and only me.  The fact that I grew into a woman that is obsessed with miniatures could be nature or nurture on that one, who knows, but my sister never caught the bug the way I did.  She has some wee accessories in her well-tended fairy gardens, but overall, she doesn’t collect dolls or have any dollhouses.  (I admit in this moment, with quite a good deal of shame, that I have twelve.  I’m getting rid of about half of those, but still.  Obsessed.)  I’m guess I’m saying, this dollhouse is still pretty much perceived by everyone, including myself, as “mine.”    We have a special bond, this house and I, and it will always be my favorite.

The Upstairs Hall/ Now the Bathroom

The Upstairs Hall/ Now the Bathroom

Over the years it had grown incredibly tired.  Fortunately, it was built to be incredibly sturdy: Dad used plywood for the inner structure, and mounted the whole thing on a base/ ‘yard,’ and put a huge drawer in the foundation.  But, thirty-four years with little to no maintenance can be hard on a gal.  It needed a lot.  I had started working on it about fifteen years ago when I got it back from my parents, it was in such sad shape.  They had stored it in a barn, and a family of mice had taken up residence in it.  Sounds adorable, doesn’t it?  Awww!  Baby mice being born in the upstairs bedroom, squee!  I assure you, it wasn’t totes adorbs.  They peed all over the place.  It took me a ton of scrubbing, stripping, and kilzing before my kitties weren’t obsessed with the dang thing.  And then I left it like that for a long time, because life took over and it didn’t reek anymore.  Priorities and everything.

Now I’m at this life stage where not only do I have a young child that could potentially enjoy it as I did as a youngern, but he also has little girl friends that come and play over here that are perpetually baffled by his bizarre mother.  How can there be dolls and dollhouses all over this place and not a single one for a kid to play with?!  Frustrating!!  I get their point, this house is a cruel taunt for every child but my own… visiting a place like this as a little would have made me crazy.

The Living Room, Before

The Living Room, Before

So I realized that this dollhouse *needs* to be fixed up, it needs to be dedicated to play again.  It’s only fair, to the kids in my world, as well as the house.  I’d love for this thing to be passed to my sister if she has children, and then on to any offspring our littles may have.  They all need the renovation!

I began working on it in May, deluding myself into thinking that I could get it finished up in time for Fox’s birthday party.  (I didn’t.)  I’ve used every minute of my spare time on it, and I’m so close to done I can taste it.  I’ve addressed the things that I felt were the ‘problems’  that I had with it when I was little and playing with it actively.  (I will talk about those in greater detail when I show you the after pictures.)  I’ve managed to creatively multiply the play area too, which I’m super-proud of.  You need to come back for the after pics, I promise.

In the process, I’ve sort of created a bunch of extra work for myself.  Part of the issue is that I’m too advanced of a miniaturist to “just” do a playable kid’s dollhouse.  I want MORE.  I want it to look like one of MY dollhouses, (as it IS one of my dollhouses!) and well, those are two completely separate things, my friends.  My dollhouses are filled with delicate things that cannot be handled without a certain element of grace.  And oftentimes those same wee things are overly expensive, or took me countless hours to construct, so they cannot risk being lost or snapped in half from careless use.  It has created a rather fun challenge for me.  I’ve loved it.  I hope that I’ve managed to successfully pull of what I’ve set out to do, which is make a uniquely adorable but– in they end– a playable dollhouse.

The Kitchen, Before

The Kitchen, Before

I have a small assortment of plastic figures that I’ve repainted to look more like my family, and this dollhouse will even have pets like our pets.  I’ve named them the “Davidsons” because my father’s name is David, and he designed and built this house for his children.  And well, “Davidsdaughters” sounds weird.  I’ll introduce them all to you soon, I have some finishing details to give them before they are all done.

The furnishings from this house have come from an assortment of sources, but I am proud to say that I have not needed to buy much at all.  I have a small assortment of minis that are left from my childhood furnishing of this place, and some of them have been cleaned up and will be re-used.  I’ll be sure to point them out in my finished tour of the house.  Some of the miniatures have long been in my adult collection (after all, I said “obsessed!”), as in made or purchased in the last fifteen years.  And a few of the most beautiful pieces were given to me in June by a local family I love, an enormous box of Sonia Messer and Chrysnbon pieces had been unearthed during their basement clean-0ut.  All of the pieces had been purchased around the same time this childhood dollhouse of mine was built, intended for a young Margo to furnish her wee house.  Unfortunately for Marg, her dollhouse was never finished (I also received the pieces to that amazing Greenleaf kit), and that makes for a very *amazing* gift for me– a score of never-used, high-quality furniture pieces just in time to complete this beloved house.  I am not joking when I say that the only stuff that I will have purchased for the renovation of this place will be a refrigerator and about half of the wallpapers.  The rest of it came from my stash, either new or old.  (Shocking when I figured this out, it really was!)

The dollhouse looks great, and in the process I have fallen in love with it all over again.  I hope my Dad is as proud of the finished product as I am, it is my hope that I honored his original choices while still modernizing it and increasing it’s playability.  I know that I have created some excitement in Fox about eventually playing with it, he has been kept abreast of the progress and included in a lot of the decisions.  (In fact, unless I *knew* he would love the wallpaper choice for a room, I let him choose between three to five options for each space.  He feels invested in the house now, too.)  I tried very hard to allow for feminine touches– as I am a super-feminine girl, and it is MY house– without alienating any little boys in the process.  It still needs a few more touches, but it is close enough that I can claim its done.  I hope to get pics up here to prove it soon!

 

 


Aug 27, 2014 | Category: Doll Stuff | Comments: none | Tags: , , , ,

 


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