Introduction to my three doll’s houses

I have owned a Georgian-style twelfth scale doll’s house since 1982, and recently, as that house was *almost* finished (they’re never completely finished!) I became interested in getting another miniature building of some kind.

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But which kind to get?! I eventually settled on a Sid Cooke 1:12 shop kit (called ‘No. 1 High Street’), which will become an Edwardian toy shop. But I also became tempted to get a third miniature building soon after, when I came across the wonderful mini food created by Paris Miniatures, and I then decided to create a French-style two storey doll’s house shop, with a cafe upstairs (to display all the yummy cakes in), and a flower shop downstairs, as I have always adored miniature plants and flowers.

So, I now have two miniature shop buildings to complete at once, and I’ve decided to expand what I write about on this blog, and to start sharing with you the process of building, decorating and collecting for both of them.

I’ve always loved doll’s house nurseries, so the idea of making a toy shop in 1:12 scale has always appealed to me. It would give me so many opportunities for collecting all those little toys, especially dolls!

When I decided to make a mini toy shop, I thought it would be easy to choose a building. But once I started looking, I got picky. I needed a building with a Victorian/Edwardian look to it, with no stairs (as that would take up valuable display space) without too many upstairs rooms (as I didn’t want to be doing ‘living accommodation’, just shop rooms).

This is the image from the Sid Cooke website, when I first decided to get the kit:

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I chose this one, as I liked the off-set bay windows that it has, and the balanced look to the first floor facade. The kit was half the cost of the assembled version, so I sent off for that. It was a bit of a shock when I opened the box on Christmas Day (Santa agreed to get it for me!) to find a couple of dozen bits of MDF and plywood, and quite a brief booklet on how to put it all together.

toy-1

I’d never put a kit together before, and to be honest, when I looked at all those pieces, I thought, ‘What have I done?!’

But I spent two days putting the basic carcase together (with the help of my husband, who knows how to bang a nail in straight!), and it didn’t seem quite so daunting once it started to look like a building. Building it from scratch, of course, means that I can customise bits as I go, and it makes painting the trims far easier.

Since I got the kit (three years ago – there’s a reason for the delay in assembling it, which I’ll explain in a later post!), the Sid Cooke business has been sold on to Maple Street online doll’s house shop. They tell me that they are working to get all the Sid Cooke range of houses back on sale, but as of this post (February 2017), only the bestsellers are available, which doesn’t include this particular shop kit, but they hope to have it available again by the end of 2017.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The French shop that I want to make will be in a mini building which I bought, again as a kit, from Dolls House Direct. The doll’s house is called ‘Malbury’. To me, it’s got a vaguely French look to it. I had looked for ages to find something with a French look, and there was nothing really strongly French, but I think that by painting it in cream and blue shades, I can make it look suitably French! This is the image from their website:

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It’s got two good-sized rooms (quite a bit deeper than the Sid Cooke house), with an interesting ‘fake door corner’ in each room, giving the impression of further rooms beyond, but no actual staircase to take up valuable space.

Although the Malbury house normally comes with upstairs windows in both left and right hand side walls, I had a custom one made, with only a window on the right wall, so that I can put a large cabinet full of cakes along the left hand one. For once, I am planning ahead…..

So, I’ve got two houses on the go now, as well as my embroidery projects, which are a constant in my life. Stops me being bored, anyway!

 

 

 

 

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24 thoughts on “Introduction to my three doll’s houses

  1. Mary Treverton

    I’m so jealous! I’m having to sell a house (bought about 10 years ago), not started, as I’ve moved house to live on my own with a considerable downsize and I just don’t have the room! I have a large house, with an extension basement added later, a light house and a box room made into a wedding shop, which has an extension in the form of a conservatory. This was originally made for my daughter, but she doesn’t have the room for it.

    Reply
  2. Kim Seymour

    I am going to enjoy seeing you build and furnish your new doll houses/shops! I’ve wanted one for years, but space is a dilemma and other hobbies win out. I so enjoyed your blog about the sewing kit and the process you went through building it. Thank you for blogging and being an inspiration!

    Reply
  3. Alayne SF

    So thrilled to see that you have decided to include your dollhouses to the blog. It is one of my hobbies in addition to needlework and I think the two passions work beautifully together. Looking forward to seeing how the shops are created and filled…wonderful!

    Reply
  4. Lynne Gray.

    So happy that you are sharing the progress on your miniature house. I have one I’m just starting. It has 6 rooms, large entry way and stairs. I have only done box rooms so this is a new adventure.

    Reply
  5. Dima

    I love watching miniatures getting built. I have a friend who was into it and bought a kit but I don’t think she ever put it together. I might have to ask her where it is.

    Reply
  6. Anne Marie Dalmeyer Nilsen

    Hello Janet, it will be interesting to follow the two shops. You have your work cut out! But the good thing about miniatures that there isn’t really need for any hurry. Miniature needlework also takes time, so….. Good tinkering😀🌷🇱🇺

    Reply
  7. Sandra D, Joliet

    I love the toy store…I can see it as a Christmas display, kind of Dickens village style. I can also see it as an old fashion store to be filled with either a Quilting Store or Dry Goods store. It even reminds me of old drugstores with the big Rx sign on the corner. I love old stores that were built in that style. Will be interesting to see the progress on all 3.

    Reply
  8. Margaret

    Janet, your homes are beautiful! I so look forward to learning more about them. I am just starting with miniatures and I have always loved the idea of starting small with a shadow box that would bring a favorite children’s book illustration into life and could be hung on a wall. I live in the United States in a state where we sadly don’t have a lot of dolls house shops–except for big chain stores–with very limited selection and high prices. So I have been learning about making furniture, textiles (from your kits and website!) and food etc. from books from the library. If you could recommend any suppliers that ship to the U.S. I would appreciate it! Best to you.

    Margaret

    Reply
    1. Janet Granger Post author

      It’s a wonderful hobby, and you’ve just given me ideas for another blog post….on getting started for absolute beginners! But to help you right away, most UK websites will ship overseas (and our postage rates are far cheaper than those from the USA to the UK, and I can tell you that as someone who regularly buys from the USA!). Try Googling Dolls House Emporium, Streets Ahead, Tower House Dolls (for dolls and toys of all kinds), Maple Street, and Dolls House Direct. There are loads of others, but I’d have to look them up. Let me know how you get on.

      Reply
      1. mk everts

        I got a dollhouse from Dollhouse Emporium and it got here (USA) in less than a week. I’ve also gotten furniture there. I highly recommend them – they have cool UK stuff you don’t find alot of places and their customer service is the best I have ever experienced. They’re my go to store I always check first. Gary is a sweetheart.

  9. mk everts

    Good! You did It! I’m looking forward to enjoying more of your work while I sit and read about It! Really like this first installment. I sssooo enjoy seeing what others are doing. Thanks!

    Reply
  10. Louise Jones

    I will be fascinated so see how you progress. I too am embarking on a toy shop in a Sid Cooke shop – the double bow fronted Georgain called County Stores. So far only the roof tiled with Richard Stacey real slate. I also intend the buy the Malbury shop which I would like to be a perfume shop.

    Reply
  11. Sandra Morris

    Soooo looking forward to seeing how your toy shop and French shop turn out. My French doll shop started out at a very unprepossessing, bog-standard DHE kit but with a bit of kit-bashing and some inventive lateral thinking, it does look quite French.
    There is something so exciting about tackling a doll’s house kit with a sense of adventure. I’m sure yours will be amazing! Sx

    Reply
    1. Janet Granger Post author

      Not surprisingly, it was your one that made me want to do my one 🙂 And I didn’t realise until recently, looking at your doll shop blog, that I’ve chosen the same shop cabinets as you for my cafe…..oh well, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, even if done unconsciously!!

      Reply
  12. Clare

    Hi, I ‘m looking forward to following your blog, I have just ordered my first house from Dolls House Direct. I am also planning to have a florist and patissserie in two of downstairs shops along with a bookshop, as so far I have enjoyed making a lot of books. I am slightly worried that I have ordered a full house considering how long it could take, I see your first took 30 years, maybe I have been a little ambitious!

    Reply
    1. Janet Granger Post author

      Well, to make you feel a bit less intimidated by your project, I did get most of the large house completed in the first five years – it’s just that I haven’t completed the two rooms that are in the mansard roof 🙂

      Reply
  13. Anita Mills

    Who built your Georgian house? It looks a little like one I have made by Gordon Rossiter that I bought c 84. And BTW, don’t hesitate to ask Emma at Paris MIniatures for custom orders! I love her work too and have her make lots of special things for me including a display of chocolates.

    Reply
    1. Janet Granger Post author

      I bought my Georgian house from the Covent Garden Dolls House Shop in the eighties, and it was made by Perfect Miniatures, who were based somewhere in Suffolk.

      Emma is making me a custom order at the moment……

      Reply

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