Thursday, 20 March 2014

Recycled Doll house Renovation!

This project rocked my world, it was so much fun that for a while I'm ashamed to admit, I teetered on the murky edges of crazy Victorian doll house lady. To date I still have 4 others in varying states of repair awaiting loveliness.

Ok so 5 sounds a bit much? But they kept finding me and they were in need of TLC I just couldn't resist, like this gorgeous 1960's style open sided house. Can you believe this was just $1.50? Craziness!

So here is the starting point, a very blah looking unloved but sturdy wooden doll house, rubber cemented down carpet sample? Check, 80's paint job? Check? Time to get to work.

Top one is the poor unloved shell pre-makeover.

I played around with the design of the rooms and the style, first opting for something bright and modern. Check out the knitted Ottoman and cushion, knitted using toothpicks (yes I am ridiculous but it was fun) and embroidery floss.

In the end I decided on a mix of old and new, some gorgeous vintage fabric and a small remnant of contact paper (all Reuse Centre finds of course) gave me some inspiration for colour schemes. Now to start the demolition!

I ripped out the carpet, the single kitchen tile floor and cut new floors to make it easier to change them away from the doll house itself.

Would you believe that all the flooring was not only FREE but RECYCLED too? Double points!

Bedroom hardwood looking flooring is actually an old bamboo blind.

White flooring is made from popsicle sticks, which took me hours, lesson learnt, bamboo blinds all the way baby! So quick and easy and the indentations from the blind cords made it looks like planks of wood.

Kitchen flooring is real composite tiles sourced from Freecycle, a sample pack of 2x2 tiles cut down, glued then grouted. So pleased with the finished look of this and the fact that it's not only rainbow but real kitchen tiles made me smile.

The curtain rods were small wooden dowels I had in my stash and worked perfectly with cup hooks to keep them in place. It took my little lady at least an hour to pull the rods out but they were popped back in easily, crisis averted.

After searching in vain for some scalloped wooden trim to add to the sides of the under roof area I ended up using some cereal box card and a dollar and tracing my own, a couple of licks of pink paint and we were on to a winner.

The vintage looking roof was created using a dollar store drawer liner, I loved how this turned out, and it smelt like roses the whole time I was papering it. It was pretty lumpy on first application so I sanded it once it had dried and the lumps disappeared and a gorgeous aged, worn in look came about, and all for $3? Score!

Ok ready for the royal tour?

First the living room, wall colour not yet decided so some colourful accessories brightened up the room.

The sofa I made from scratch, stitched from real leather scraps, a block of wood, card and some stuffing, my first try at mini furniture and it's pretty realistic non?

Faux acrylic coffee table is from the base of a Palmolive washing up liquid bottle, patchwork rug is chopped up from small carpet samples. Ottoman is a mini Play-doh tub covered in recycled shoe leather. Table lamp is a dollar store bubble solution bottle, and lamp shade is scrap fabric covered piece of plastic canvas folded and stitched together.

Downstairs bathroom or kitchen as it will be when we add more furniture to the house.

Furniture is by Hape, the blue back splash is a scrap of contact paper stuck to a piece of cereal box and the bin is a $1 toy found around the house.

I added a menu board for when the kitchen furniture is in place, just some corrugated card covered with painted popsicle sticks and sanded for a rustic look, and the best bit? It is actually a chalk board painted with chalkboard paint, all I need now is some teeny tiny chalk!
Moving up the imaginary staircase to the bedrooms, here we arrive in the master bedroom.

Bamboo blind flooring, vintage fabric glued to the walls and a faux chair rail and baseboards/skirting boards were bamboo blind pieces again, such a great source of wood that didn't need staining.

A vintage eyelet doily for a rug, two hexagonal brass drawer knobs as bedside tables and some more miniature sewing.

I hated the way that bedding never sat flat when I was little, so I just sewed a tiny pin-tuck down each side of the bedspread (formerly a place mat), it did the trick and looks a bit more realistic. The pink cushion is knitted again with embroidery floss and toothpicks.

The dresser was given to me and the 'fabric' inside is bias tape or lace seam binding glued and folded around a small piece of cardboard.

Saving the best to last, here is the children's room. The furniture again is Hape, so cute and fun, every detail is thought of.

The rug is some bakers twine looking cotton yarn I had, I just twisted it around a piece of cereal box card and glued as I went, love the rag rug look it has.

Faux cow hide rug is some minky fabric scrap simply cut in a erm, dead cow shape. Check out the amazing vintage contact paper, another amazing Reuse Centre find. I love this design and the fact it has England, Canada, France, Germany and Greece on it and the illustrations are so cute.

The flooring is popsicle sticks sanded cut and painted once stuck down, long time in the making but I do love how it turned out.

The curtains I made and added ribbon tie backs then draped a small piece of pompom trim found at the Reuse Centre over the top.

The whole she-bang.

Soooo still with me? Still awake? Understand why this project was a year in the making?... and just remember I have FOUR more of the suckers to finish lol.

- Emma (Volunteer)


  1. Emma, you amaze me! This is so awesome.

  2. Aww thanks Lady, such a fun project.