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November 5, 2014

I realize I've mentioned my first dollhouse, but never really written about it on my blog.  Allow me to give you a tour, because I'm procrastinating from the Willowcrest already.  I apologize for the bad photos, because I had to dig through very old hard copies taken with a cheap film camera a very long time ago.

Firstly, this is my great-grandfather, Jacob Knupp.  I wrote a little about him here.  Carpenter, contractor, fantastic workshop, enjoyed making miniatures, some of which his daughter sold at craft fairs.  And he made dollhouses for me and my sister.  He also made full scale furniture.  I have a curio table of his sitting in my living room!

I don't think I have any pictures of my sister's dollhouse, but hers was bookshelf shaped, at least four stories tall, and white.  Big rooms. The front door had a lock, basically a hook on a swivel that swung around and connected on a brad.  It had come furnished with furniture made by Mom and various relatives.  When we played in it I got relegated to the upper floors, she got to sit on the floor to reach her designated stories.

Then, maybe when I was about six, Gran drove out to our new house one day in his big blue truck, with a less tall but much wider dollhouse.  I can remember seeing it in the back of the truck when he arrived.  It was . . . different.   He had gotten creative.


This is a front AND back opening double sided dollhouse, allowing access to the two-deep rooms inside.  It had a real floor plan.  I've only ever seen one other like it, possibly in a book or museum that called it a turn-about house.  

I loved it.  We could both sit and play in the house together, she usually got the front with the stairs, but I got the back with the kitchen and the kitchen pantry shelves.  No furniture, though, so I made do with whatever was the right shape, and slowly collected and scored over the years with presents.  When I was about 12 or 13, I made my first dollhouse family.  Previously it had been inhabited by bears.  It sits on its own custom made table legs and rotates all the way around on a lazy susan.

Front.  I had a carpet runner on the stairs at one point.
Back. A very old view, but not the oldest!  I originally had yellow floral
 contact paper covering the kitchen walls.
Emptied out and planning a renovation.  There is only one interior door,
opening from the front hall to the blue dining room.

Empty view of the back.  I think the tiny room in the upstairs middle was supposed
to be a bathroom, but it barely held the tub.  I was also fascinated with wall murals.

The attic floor is removable, allowing access and a good view of the floor plan upstairs.

Apparently the kitchen shelves went through a lot of changes!

Gran made the bed, my grandmother made the mattress and pillow.   I made the quilt!

Would you believe that floor is paper?

Originally this was all shelving, but I got creative one day
and made it look like a hutch.

The poor thing is showings its age and abuse after 30 years.  I wanted so badly to make it more to scale and electrify it, but since it was built by a man used to building full size houses, it's very difficult to tear out the thick molding without causing some damage.  I'm also finding it hard to figure out wiring, since the house turns around.  Perhaps in a few more years the battery operated lights will be good enough that I can add them without including wiring.

For right now I think my best bet for fixing it up is to repair as much of the damage as I can, give it a good coat of paint and/or wallpaper, and decorate it with nice furniture that's still good for playtime.  My Willowcrest is definitely for adults only!  There are some gouges in the walls and the front walls/doors need to be reattached.  I'm setting the time period at early 20th century,1909-1916.