Wednesday, 7 July 2010


Back in the 1970's, when I was a wee girl, I loved playing with dolls and teddies. Schools, hospitals, dressing them up in hand made clothes made from scraps, prams, picnics and shopping all featured frequently and were the games I played most, both on my own and with my friends (particularly Emma Charlton, where is she now??). Pippa dolls were my favourite dressing up dolls. Remember them? They were brilliant. Small enough to put in a bag with a couple of outfit changes, long hair to twiddle and style and not a totally unrealistic body shape (no finger pointing at you Barbie).

Then, when I was about seven, I walked into our dining room and found this on the table.

It was made by my grandfather who was a carpenter by trade. It was supposedly made for my ma, HasBean, so that my sis and I would not argue over it but we all really knew that it was mine.
Just take a little tour would you? (Excuse the dust...)

The front door opens into a splendid hallway- with herringbone floor and cornicing. To the left is the formal drawing room with open fire, views to the front and back of the property and original features, including picture rails.

Down the hall to the right is the kitchen, again with front and rear aspects.

Up the stairs with (knitting needle bannisters) there are two double bedrooms with more original features.

Oh me, oh my, did I love this house. It got played with so so much. And it was the envy of my friends. The Pippa Dolls fitted in it like a dream. They lived their rather Regency life with the cornicing, architrave and parquet flooring in complete harmony with their 1970's plastic Pippa tat, sorry, furniture and cardboard DIY jobs made by me. I am very sorry to say that when Has Bean moved house about fifteen years ago I got rid of all my Pippas. And their clobber. Her loft needed emptying and downsizing does not include finding space for old toys. And we had no space for such nostalgia either.

When I was somewhat older, I started collecting rather more tasteful furniture for the Mansion. Some old things, such as this table and dovecote (dovecote, wasn't I getting above my station?) came from a shop near where I used to work in Notting Hill. Other bits and pieces were given to me or bought from various shops specialising in miniatures. Some wooden gobltes were from the market in Pont l'Abbe in Brittany. It has been a lot of fun remembering and rummaging through the bag with furniture in it.
Cream cake anyone?
Or perhaps a chocolate digestive...

Now. As you can quite clearly see from the photos of the mansion, it is empty and very grubby. I want/need to give it a good old spring clean. I want to put furniture back in and make it a home again. What is the best way toget rid of the yellowed paint? I really don't want to redecorate. I am bad enough at doing it on a big scale, but 1/12th??? No no no. The whole place needs a little tlc and I would love some advice on the best way to do this. Then, when it is finished I will be able to show you the smartened up house with all it's biscuits and chairs and pictures in place. And I might have to find a couple of Pippa's to live there.


  1. Oh wow! God bless grandfathers. Mine made me a dollshouse of very similar layout but without the attention to detail that your grandfather had.

    I loved Pippa dolls too and made clothes for them. Do you remember a doll called Daisy from the 70s with lots of curly blonde hair? She was a British version of Barbie I think. i loved my Daisy.

  2. oh it's gorgeous xxx

    I loved pippa dolls too, although I remember one of them the arm always fell off which was ever so upsetting when I was six....

  3. How fantastic, what a talented grandad you had! The Sue Ryder shops have some fab playhouse furniture by the way. I loved the photos there, looked like we were in a full scale house :-) sorry can't help with decorating ideas as have never done that on a baby scale before.

  4. That is the most wonderful dolls house I have ever seen. I loved Pippas too and remember the horrid plastic furniture you could get for them.
    As for the yellowing paint, maybe a wash with sugar soap solution? But repainting might be theonly answer.

  5. Oh boy! That's got my creative juices going! What fun! What a beautiful job your Grandad did! Lots of love, Amanda xxx