Thursday, 10 May 2012

Dolls' houses: it's the little things

I will admit to having a bit of a thing for Phil Spencer but that’s not the only reason I watch Location, Location, Location (even writing it is exhausting). The main reason is that I am incredibly nosy.

A few years ago we went househunting and I refused to make any decisions until we had had a look at every house in the area that was even a remote possibility. And just to make sure I didn’t get confused about what I’d seen I took my camera along with me – what the poor homeowners thought of me taking photos of their loos I don’t know.
dolls house
Come on in...
It’s fascinating snooping around people’s houses. For instance, one place we looked at had an entire menagerie living there – dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, snakes. It smelt like it too which I admit was the main reason we decided not to put an offer in on it. That and the fairly creepy tombstone in the garden…

Another house held other surprises. A charming elderly couple told us to be prepared for a 'shock' (raised eyebrows between me and hubby) before opening one of the bedroom doors with a flourish to incredibly intricate train set that took up the entire room. Talking over each other in excitement, they proceeded to explain exactly how they’d made some of the tiny accessories. For instance the ‘golf ball’ on the putting green next to the railway station was in fact a decorative pearl stolen from the wife’s jumper. The 'flower pots' on the platform were upside-down bottle caps. And the 'coal' loaded on one of the trains was cat litter painted black. Ingenius.

Of course, aside from Phil and Kirstie, I blame my parents (well, who else?) for my unhealthy obsession with other people’s houses. The reason being that they bought me my very first dolls’ house and that, I suspect, is where it all began.

I wish I had a photo of it now because it was just lovely. A proper traditional wooden house which my mum carpeted for me with offcuts from our own sitting room. As gorgeous as it was, it was also inevitable that the poor taste that affects all six-year-old girls enveloped me and I found myself lusting over my friend’s plastic Barbie mansion instead. Although it did have the all-important Jacuzzi.

Dolls' houses are a whole other obsession but one you are completely at liberty to indulge at any age. Some people nostalgically try and recreate old family homes, while others prefer to design and furnish their own future fantasy homes (complete with bondage rooms in some cases but each to their own). 

City of London Dollshouse Festival

This weekend, you too can go snooping around other people’s houses: checking out what books they’re reading, whether or not the carpet clashes with the wall colour, or admiring their choice of pot plants. Albeit in miniature. Because this weekend is the annual Kensington Dollshouse Festival, the ‘top international show for quality dolls' houses, miniatures & models.’ 

Collectors, designers, craftsmen and just plain old admirers like me will gather in London to ooh and ah over teeny tiny things and perhaps attend one of the demonstration classes. Imagine if I could add ‘Can carve a miniature 16th Century stool’ to my CV? 

There’s plenty to keep the kids amused too with a Scavenger Hunt and Gingerbread Craft Club planned for both Saturday and Sunday.You can buy tickets here.  

Until then I'm off to windowshop on Rightmove.


  1. lol your post made me chuckle sounds very simular to me, trouble is i don't just window shop i love buying these quirky places and giving them love again.
    I really want to be phil's side kick on the new show secret agent helping these people sell!!
    Cat x

  2. I think you should apply. Kirstie shouldn't have all the fun ;)