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.
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:
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.
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:
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!