My Dolls' House Collection - How it all Started
by Valerie Towers
The truth is that my Collection started due to a family row. One of those ”I had a rotten childhood” rows. I won’t go into details, but one of my daughters felt that I had failed her as a mother.
Well, I had felt the same about my mother until I passed 40 and then I understood; motherhood does not come with a Manual and we all do our best to muddle through and hope our kids come out the other side OK. So I forgave her, well both of them really!
A few weeks after the row, the daughter in question decided that she would like to find a Dolls house like the one they had as children, and the furniture too, and her sister could share it!
I thought, “Well, if it had been so bad, why does she want a reminder of it?”
So, in January 2011, I started looking on Ebay for her house. As I was looking at the houses I thought to myself, “I always wanted a Dolls’ House, but the nearest I got was making one out of shoe boxes and the furniture from matchboxes!” Why not have one now?
I spotted a house that I liked, and as it was in Suffolk, I asked my cousin, who lives in South Norfolk, if she would collect it for me, as the seller didn’t want to post it, because it had real glass in the windows. “No problem!” she said, so I bought it and Jill picked it up. It stayed in Norfolk for six months because for various reasons we couldn’t get up there.
I was desperate to have a house to “play” with and spotted a cheaper house near Bournemouth and checked with my Lord and Master if it was a viable proposition to drive there and collect it. “Take about 1 and ½ hours” he said, “so bid if you want it!” First lesson learned: check the distance yourself, do not listen to hubby, he has no idea of distance and the journey was nearer THREE hours and a pain to find the address, also Bournemouth has a fiendish one way system and we started to go around in a circle trying to find the road home. Luckily, I had stayed there once for five days and we found the way out. (Steam coming from his ears by then!)
This shared interest brought my daughter and me closer, and then her sister joined in and bought a Triang 77, followed by a Triang 76 which she intended to restore here on Saturdays. Apart from stripping it out to uncover the original wallpaper and woodworm and giving it three wood worm treatments this didn’t happen.
My stop gap house took a lot of stripping and I furnished it to give me an idea of how it would be when it was finished and then I realised that I didn’t like it because it opened at the back! Second Lesson Learned!
Still waiting for Suffolk House to arrive and bored with stripping Moat Court, I saw a sweet Gee Bees Cottage near my disgruntled daughter’s address and she collected it for me. By now she had bought a Triang Avon followed by a Broome, but the house the girls had as children was a Crest and a good example was hard to find.
A Gee Bees Tudor Lodge, a home made house, a house bought just for the furniture and a Stockbroker from a member of DHP&P followed.
By now I was hooked and in 2011 I bought a house a month.
I was very good at the stripping out but not so good at the restoration, being almost too scared to touch them in case I destroyed some original feature.
The Gee Bees I just washed over and left as they were and concentrated on buying furniture for the various houses.
In June my cousin came to stay for a few days and brought Suffolk House with her and I was in heaven! It was just as good as I had imagined and is probably still my favourite house!
I now have the confidence to decorate it and I will continue this story soon.