it’s a small world after all…

...for Jennifer  

Yes, it may be a small world, but in the world of Doll Houses… everything is miniature; miniature scale, that is. But everything miniature does not come with a miniature price tag!


For the last century, dollhouses have primarily been the domain of children and making dreams come true, but dollhouse collecting and crafting is also a hobby for adults.


Personal Note: I am going to apologize right now. This post is a bit longer than my usual posts but I just got so ‘into’ this subject… the details (you know how I stress design is all in detail), the love, the time and the money that have become a part of this over the years and whew… I found more information than I really expected on this ‘small’ subject. I truly had a difficult time keeping this post to the length that it is now. But trust me, your time spent here and the length of it is really worth it. Below are some of the most gorgeous photos of homes (miniature or life size) that you will ever see and I know you won’t want to miss them.

Personal Note 2: As I did my research and wrote this post, I had wonderful memories come flooding back of my little girl (now 32 yrs old) who owns (yes, we still have this gigantic structure) and enjoyed decorating her very own doll house.  It was a miniature replica of our own home's exterior and was painstakingly built by a local Doll House Retail Store owner’s husband.  The house was totally constructed by hand (think of this, even every roof shingle was laid individually) and even has working electricity running through the walls.

My daughter spent hours upon hours lovingly decorating and rearranging each and every room (three stories plus a front porch that ran the full width of the house).  She even has seasonal decorations that were carefully packed away but brought out to be added to her decor each year. You should see the home with its Christmas decorations; including lit trees, lit candles and lit wreaths in each window!  It would make any girl (big or small) be drawn to the house, instantly sit and spend a little time escaping to the world of miniatures.

I am sorry I don’t have any photos to share with you at this time… maybe I will create a separate post for this. I think it really deserves its own time, don’t you?

The History of the Dollhouse

Dollhouses trace their history back about four hundred years to the baby house display cases of Europe, which showed idealized interiors. Smaller dollhouses with more realistic exteriors appeared in Europe in the 18th century.

Dollhouses can range (depending on your budget) from simple boxes stacked together and used as rooms for play and imagination, up to multi-million dollar structures displayed in museums. Yes I said 'MILLION'.
In the United States, most houses have an open back and a fancy front facade, while European houses are more likely to have a hinged front that opens to reveal the rooms.

Children's dollhouse kits are constructed from a variety of materials, including metal, plywood, plastic, and medium-density fiberboard (or MDF.)


Some Notable Historical Dollhouses

Queen Mary's Dollhouse

queenmary at windsor castle
Queen Mary’s Doll House being packed up for transportation in 1924

Queen Mary's Dolls' House was designed for Queen Mary in 1924 by Sir Edwin Lutyens, a leading architect of the time, and is on display at Windsor Castle in England. It is approximately 5' tall, contains 16 rooms, and required 4 years to construct. The dollhouse has working plumbing and lights and is filled with miniature items of the finest and most modern goods of the period. Writers like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Rudyard Kipling contributed special books which were written and bound in scale size. 

The House on Display:

The Garden (house is partly closed)

The Foyer

Dollhouse - dining
The Dining Room

The King's Bedroom

The King's Bathroom (with real marble floor, tub and counters. Don't forget the running water too!)

The Strong Room for storing the crown jewels and silver

The Kitchen including china and cutlery (and a working coffee-mill)

Wine Cellar with real bottles of wine


The Astolat Dollhouse Castle 

The Astolat Dollhouse Castle

The Astolat Dollhouse Castle was inspired by Alfred Tennyson's poetry about the Lady of the Lake and built between 1974 and 1987 by miniaturist Elaine Diehl. It was appraised for over $1.1 million in 2006. The castle is 9' tall, has 29 rooms and is on display at the Nassau County Museum of Art on Long Island, New York. The Astolat Dollhouse Castle was designed with fixed contiguous exterior walls to create a three-dimensional viewing effect.

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Actual Oil Painting
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The Sara Rothe Dollhouses


Two other notable historical dollhouses are on display in the Netherlands. These were formerly owned by Sara Rothé (1699–1751), an 18th-century art collector and wife of a wealthy Amstel merchant in the Netherlands. The houses are now on display in the Frans Hals Museum and the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag.

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Colleen Moore's Dollhouse

The Fairy Castle

Silent film star Colleen Moore always loved miniatures, so after a suggestion from her father, in 1920, she started a project of making the dollhouse of her dreams. 

Part of the house is over a hundred years old, and one of the mural paintings was made by Walt Disney himself. The impressive miniature building is now on display in the Museum of Science and History in Chicago.



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Not just for kids anymore, right?

Who wants to play with little dolls now?