Dolls' Houses Past & Present

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

Restoration of a rather unusual Christian Hacker Doll House   By Cynthia Noakes

House as Found


I bought this house a few years ago because I rather liked the look of it and I also thought there might be more to it than met the eye. Even though I have restored many houses over the years this one proved to be the most complicated.

After it arrived it stayed in the spare room while I pondered on what to do with it. I did not want to start the restoration until I had identified the house for fear of getting it wrong. With this in mind I sent a picture to ‘Dolls House World’ hoping that maybe a reader would be able to help. Kindly, they forwarded the details to their then expert who identified it as a rather unusual Christian Hacker. She very kindly sent me a copy of a black and white catalogue picture of the same model and another black and white photo of a smaller version of my house –almost as much a wreck as mine- Sadly there did not seem to be any colour pictures of the house. Without her help the house would probably still be in the spare room.

The first step was to decide what was original and what needed to be removed. There were some original window surrounds and two lovely floor papers. The staircase was still there with some of the pierced metal balustrade and the arched attic window was complete. No original exterior doors remained, the other attic windows were missing and because the original exterior paint was water based this had disappeared over the years along with any trace of the exterior paper.

 The first thing I did was to make the two attic windows which slide in and out, typical of many Hacker houses. Fortunately there were marks inside the roof which gave me an idea of the size of the windows. With these in place the house looked better. The balcony was the next step and without a detailed picture it was a little hit and miss. Fortunately I knew the metal surround was the same pattern as the staircase banister so was able to construct one out of  thin metal. This seemed to take for ever and there were times when I would willingly have put the house in the dustbin. When the balcony was finished and new doors fitted I began to feel I was getting somewhere. The next step was to paint the windows and paper the exterior, the roof and the interior. Luckily , because I have restored a few Hacker houses over the years I had a reasonable selection of the correct papers. Lastly I made a couple of chimneys and all was complete.

 I am pleased with the end result although of course without detailed, coloured pictures I cannot be certain how close to the original it is.

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