Dolls' Houses Past & Present

A website and ezine about dolls' houses: antique, vintage and modern. Plus furniture and accessories.

An Art Deco Property by Debbie Scott

Ever since I refurbished my first dolls house, I wanted to do one in Art Deco style, so I couldn’t resist when a 1/12th scale house appeared on ebay from a local seller.  However, on the day of collection, I was taken aback at the size of this 18 room property.  I knew it wasn’t going to be going up any stairs and would be a year long project.  The handbuilt house was effectively a blank canvas inside as it was undecorated.  Outside, it needed minor repairs and the addition of a new balcony rail.  Essentially it presented as a cube with a few wall panels to separate out the spaces and access from all four sides.


Overview of the house interior on arrival


The roof and the balcony rail which is missing on three sides


However, it had enormous potential to become a state of the art property.  I decided that it should be three flats each belonging to the rich and famous, so the residents are:  Hercule Poirot in the top floor flat, Wallis Simpson in the middle and Bertie Wooster on the ground.  Each flat had to have its own personality to suit its occupier.  I started looking out for items to furnish each flat by trawling charity shops and picking up a motley collection of items for transformation: beads, fabric, things with interesting shapes, and a last minute inspiration, a child’s construction set, parts of which were painted black and used to create the panels on the hallway lift doors.  


Hercule Poirot’s hallway with lift to each floor


I also purchased cheap sale items from a local dolls house shop to makeover in art deco style with the use of  sticky back plastic, paint and jewellery pieces.


Bertie Wooster’s living/dining room using sticky back plastic, beads, jewellery etc.


In addition to the shopping, I decided to reconfigure the inside of the property before decorating; so I removed the wall separating the living/dining area to make it open plan, but closed off the kitchen/dining section with the aid of MDF walls. 


The living room wall gets removed


A wall is added to separate off a small room to become the bathroom


The reconfigured space


I decided the flats wouldn’t have kitchens to detract from the glamour, but instead would be served by staffed kitchens in the basement. (One day I may create such a kitchen with a crazy French chef).   This decision freed up the kitchen space to become period bathrooms which you can just peep into.


Bertie’s bathroom


The former bathroom space could now become a dressing room with more potential for displaying interesting accessories.


Bedrooms and dressing rooms


The roof area had a rectangular well in it (for who knows what purpose), but to me it said swimming pool in a luxury roof garden.  So the pool was painted and lit and I used water effect paper photocopied onto transparent film to give the effect of water in the pool.  With the balcony rails repaired, grass, flowers and furniture added, the roof garden came to life.  All it needed now was a 1930s bathing beauty to lie by the pool.  I searched but such figures were scarce and expensive, so I opted instead for a modern figure which I redressed.


The roof garden with bathing belle


The house now sits on its own table which I made into exterior grounds using grass, bushes and the addition of a wooden fence and a gate.  A 1930s car driven by a chum of Bertie’s is waiting to take him out for a jolly picnic.


The 1930s Rolls Royce, complete with picnic hamper



There is more dressing to do over time, but for now I am happy with the way the house looks, and I hope you are too.


Front overview

  With the external walls added

                                              Page 9