Last summer, while I was working at a dollhouse miniature shop, a lady rushed in with this rickety, dusty, warped, badly scaled unfinished cedar dollhouse that she picked up for $25 at a garage sale. Her deal was this: she and her family were storm refugees in town from Austin and her daughter needed something to play with at their hotel room pronto. Uh, well… refurbishing any dollhouse takes time and this one, OMG. The proprietor of the shop, who is notoriously brash with her opinions, straight away told the mother to just chuck it in the trash because it was beyond fixing.
While the conversation continued, I eyed the house. It did have a mildewed lampshade as the tower’s roof. It had several splintered and missing pieces of exterior wood. It had a horrible layout with huge oversized stairs cutting up each floor through the middle. Windows were broken out. Shingles were placed crooked and many were missing. The front porch roof was put on upside down. Terrible. I fell in love with it and had a vision!!!
As the boss lady went on her way to the back room leaving the crestfallen mother, I stepped over to comfort her and point out our pre-built decently priced dollhouses. Then there was all the bargain furniture sets well suited to children. I even offered to take that rotten house off her hands for the same amount she had paid at the garage sale so that she wouldn’t be loosing any money. Ta-da!!! The store made a $300 sale, I got my trashy treasure for $25, and my boss was outraged.
The shop owner buzzed over unhappy that I had spent any money on such ‘junk’ (and probably annoyed that the lady hadn’t agreed to purchase a new house when she had a crack at her). The customer left all smiles. Then it was on. I was reamed for nearly 30 minutes about the ‘mess I was in’. I should just ‘donate the house’… I asked her, why would I donate ‘trash’? Plus I pointed out, buying the house for a pittance had given the store a good sale. Hmm… mean stare.
I was overjoyed and took my prize home - after throwing out the lampshade! Below are pictures of the house after a good cleaning.
It has taken a year before I have finally pulled the house out of my closet. What prompted this move? Well, I made this super cool little cauldron with an owl and stars and liked it so well I decided to keep it for myself rather than selling it. Ok, its sitting in my room on a bookcase. It needs a ‘place’… hmm, the place should be a spooky mansion!!! Shabang. Just like that I got busy. First, remove rotted splintered wood and replace with fresh new pieces. Glue all the loose floors back in and straighten the walls. Re-attach the roof. Make spooky!!!
Below are pictures of exterior alterations to my haunted mansion. Notice how one of my kitties, Pumpkin, is monitering the whole project. She is very organized and demanding.
It definitely needs a name so I will have to think on that. I also will be purchasing a spooky electrical light kit for dollhouses. These can be found at MainlyMinis.com in two different sizes!
This will be an ongoing project... I have big BIG plans, like seasonal decorations, basing it on a round board and landscaping, making dolls to live in my creation and so much more! If I can find the time with college starting soon... no no think positive! Anyway, below are various examples of lovely haunted houses that inspire me: