week 25 in my “this is where i am from” year long project:

I remember wanting the dollhouse for a very long time. I remember getting a full sheet of quarter inch plywood for my birthday, the hours and hours spent with my father in the basement on winter evenings working on the house and the importance of having a plan and measuring twice and cutting once etc, etc.

It had real wood shingles and flower boxes under windows with a diamond lead pattern made from tiny and  precisely cut strips of black electrical tape on rectangles of plexi glass that fit  perfectly into each little window opening. It was carefully decorated and furnished with things either made by me, purchased with saved allowance or  acquired on birthdays and holidays – every bit of it  treasured and wonderfully fancy and precious and magic and small.

I still have much of he furniture and little things I made – I used some of it for the bird production of red riding hood.

And here are a couple things I made. The chair is made from a mini cereal box and an old bathrobe – I made it with my brilliant Aunt Rita on a summer  I spent with her that was largely devoted to creating things for the little house.



  1. I remember making a huge dollhouse, one room at a time with my mother when I was little, for my Little Women Madame Alexander dolls. One of the chairs was made from an oatmeal box and foam for the cushion. Each box was wallpapered with paper from huge sample books that were given away to us. Their beds were from cigar boxes, with a headboard from a wicker placement cut in half. So sadly, I have none of it left but the memories. Thank you, Ann, for rekindling.

  2. Oh Anne, I must complain! That’s really not enough! I love dolls houses and the idea of knowing what you would put in one is fascinating. The lovely sketch and pictures you shared were just a tease. I am sure I speak for others when I say: please share more!

  3. My sister and I spent hours upon hours playing with the dollhouse my dad built for us. We made lots of stuff for it too and most of it is still intact at my parents house. My nephew broke one of the red velvet lounge chairs by sitting on it when he was about 18 months old. He knew it was a chair and sat down very carefully on it – he looked so surprised when it was flattened and we all laughed. We did lots of drawings of imagined houses too in that funny Birdseye perspective that kids favour I remember getting in very heated arguments with my sister about layout and colours. We lived on a small island and had no electricity and no other kids so spent all of our time playing and drawing together.

  4. Lee Lange

    I built such a doll house for my youngest daughter and even now that she’s over 50 she still reminds me of it from time to time in our conversation. Still brings me joy that I did it.

  5. love the chair and especially the little book. i am lucky enough to live near a SCRAP and FAbMo, where scrap fine fabrics can be found cheaply.

  6. At nearly 70, I am still playing with dollhouses. I am restoring one now that belonged to my niece and hope there will be a grandchild in the family so I can pass it on. I wonder if I will ever out grow my fascination with wee things or if I want to.

  7. Earlene Williams

    The first dollhouse I made with my daughter, when she was about eight was in a little closet in her bedroom. We had just moved into a new apartment on the Upper West Side in Manhattan. Her room was what was called “the maid’s room” in a pre-World War II building–about six by eight feet! The closet was only about 14 inches deep, and had shelves. The door was not square on top, but cut at a angle because the wall was angled as well to make room for heating pipes inside the wall. The original maid must have had only this space to fold and stack her clothes. Anyway, it was a little hide-away. We made things–a berry basket was a playpen, tiny rectangles of aluminum foil contained little breads made of baker’s clay, and linen hankies were cut to size for bed linens and table cloths. We also bought things from a tiny gift shop called Mei Cin. We were devastated when it closed. We got a working thermometer from there! Some years later we transplanted everything to a cupboard that stood on tall legs. It had shelves, so what else was it supposed to be used for? It stood in the living room, closed, like any other piece of furniture, until there was a reason to reveal it’s secret to a visitor. Quelle surprise! Today my daughter is 46. She recently found a giant vintage dollhouse at a flea market and got right to work hunting down old furniture for it. She got a little lady with human hair from somewhere and moved her in. We were recently looking at it together and she picked the lady up and slid her under the bed, on her back, until just her feet were sticking out. Made me smile.

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