do you remember caldor? it was a store—kind of like a kmart, not quite a walmart. it was of the era before walmart. there was woolworth’s, and bradlee’s and caldor and probably some others i don’t remember.
anyway, when the caldor near us finally gave up and had a big “GOING OUT OF BUSINESS” sale i was probably…oh, 9? and mom and i found a dollhouse kit marked down to $6. why i remember that i don’t know. but it was a huge discount and my 9 year old heart got all fluttery.
mom and i eventually assembled it, but it was a raw kit—no doors, no windows. we bought some shingles, i think i may have even painted the outside. over the next 3 or 4 years i would drag it out on occasion and work on it a bit…most of the furnishings cobbled together from clearance sales and things i could make. mom and dad re-papered and carpeted their bedroom—i trimmed the tiniest bits off the edges of the wallpaper to make border for my dollhouse. carpet remnants became wall-to-wall in my dollhouse.
as i got older my dollhouse hacks became more sophisticated. witness the wooden thimble turned hanging plant:
a leaf plucked surreptitiously from one of mom’s fakes, sliced into tiny plant shapes and glued into the center. embroidery floss becomes the hanger.
yup, i still have it. because i never finished that dollhouse, but there came a point when i knew it was time to give it up. the dollhouse went to the trash—but the few good things i had in it got packed away.
even then—at what, 14? 15? i knew one day i’d have a daughter, and i would finally, finally make the dollhouse i’d been dreaming of.
i had my daughter back in 2000, and then i had 3 more, plus my one boy. the dollhouse dream was always there lurking. but there was always another baby—too small to start working on such delicate things around.
then a couple of years ago we hit the jackpot.
i’m sure if i took a poll i’d find a huge percentage of people who had unstarted or half-finished dollhouses at some point in their childhood. and i’m sure, like me, at some point during a spring cleaning they finally realized it wasn’t going to happen. time to give it up.
this huge dollhouse, along with bins and bins of supplies was on someone’s curb. the major work was done—the house assembled, sided, shingled, even some rooms started.
and it looked like a major attic cleaning had occurred, and the dollhouse was given up. the bins contain carpeting and wood flooring and tiny light fixtures and miniature area rugs and rolls and rolls of wallpapers. all the tools for wiring this house so the lights work! tiny trims and windows and staircases—it’s all here. literally hundreds of dollars in supplies.
no, really. i went online to price 3 doors and 3 windows that we need because they’re either missing or broken. $65 plus shipping.
this thing is pretty huge. and it even had an addition piece with two more rooms that attached on one side.
i have flat out refused to part with it since my mom so wonderfully trash picked it for
me us and brought it over. it has moved from place to place in our house for the last 3 years, waiting for the day i deemed our kiddos old enough to begin.
last night we pulled it out and began sorting through the supplies. the kids picked wallpapers for the rooms, and we got started on the bottom floor.
they are beside themselves with excitement. i woke up this morning to find furniture placed in some of the still unfinished rooms. they’re beginning to decorate.
we changed it a little, mommy. this is going to be the girl’s room, and the boy’s room will have a balcony!
it’s going to take quite a bit of repair work to really finish this house. but i WILL do it.
because last night as ava and i sat side by side gluing down the carpet in the living room she chattered away about this house. and how it was going to be so fun for all of them.
and then she said and when we grow up, we can pass this to our kids! and they’ll have it! and they’ll get to play with it too!
hello, heartstring tug. if that doesn’t make me stick to it then nothing will. and in that case, i’ll post a curb alert for you—3/4 finished doll house. maybe you can finish it.