Dolls' Houses Past & Present

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Lakeview House, Dolls House Emporium by Mike Adamson

Lakeview House. Photo © Dolls House Emporium


I had been looking at the Lakeview house kit for a couple of months on and off before finally deciding just before Christmas 2014 to purchase it. I had wanted a property that was different to the two Georgian town houses that I had done and with it’s striking floor to ceiling windows and attractive first floor balcony this was about as different as you could get.  My only reservations were the spiral staircases (nothing wrong with them but in my view they occupied valuable space in the wrong places) and the tiny and almost useless mezzanine floor but I felt comfortable that solutions would present themselves as the kit took shape.


The Dry Build

I always get a little worried over this stage! With the weight of MDF if your masking tape’s not quite tacky enough you’re just as likely to have your dry build all over the floor and a 1/12th scale 30ft wall hurts when it hits your ankle! It is an essential process though and for the following reasons:-

a)    It ensures that all the parts you have paid for are all the parts you’ve got!

b)   It reveals any broken or poorly fitting parts.

c)    You will get to know the house the safe way before it’s too late!

d)   It’s the great time to make those plans for decoration and additions!



I did my dry build during the lull between the festivities of Christmas and the all night vigil of New Years Eve. A pretty easy task though and one made a whole lot easier by the quality of the kit, it really is very good and particularly the large and fully assembled window frames that could so easily have let the whole show down!



As soon as the house was assembled I could see exactly where I wanted to go with it!  The stairways that occupied the rear left portion of each of the main rooms were for me too restrictive. In the kitchen I wanted a continuous run of cupboards and in the sitting room I wanted to make the rear wall a feature. The spiral stairs would prevent me doing these things so I decided instead to use the fairly narrow rooms on the right of the house to build false stairs on each floor and ‘move’ those sacrificed rooms ie. Utility Room and Bathroom behind false doors on the appropriate floors. The mezzanine I would lose to create a double height sitting room with a feature chimneybreast rising up to a beamed and wood clad ceiling.

I enjoy setting my houses in the present day and I suppose subconsciously I am basing them upon some of the many homes that I have had the pleasure and privilege of working in over the past twenty odd years in London. In this one I have imagined it on the Cornish Riviera at Falmouth. A weekend retreat for a busy middle aged professional couple with a passion for the sea. An antidote to a city life.




I wanted to keep the façade fairly simple with warm white walls and mid blue woodwork. I also wanted to make a little something of the narrow decking area to the left of the main entrance  so used natural materials to create a small ‘rock’ garden (useful also because it hides the wiring that runs to the two exterior patio lights).



Entrance – Ground Floor



A simple hall with open arch to the kitchen and stairs heading off to the first floor. The body of the stairs, together with the extra walling to disguise the fact that the stairs actually go nowhere, is made from MDF. The stair treads, rails and skirting is walnut stripwood finished with an application of ‘Danish Oil’.




Kitchen / Diner – Ground Floor


The kitchen/diner (my design) took around two days to make, and is mainly panels of leather-faced mount card (leather courtesy of Pittards Leathers UK), edged in limewood strip which are fixed to a frame.

The appliances and accessories are from Elf Miniatures, a great company to deal with and the top of my ‘bookmark’ list.



As with my other houses, the lighting I use is mainly concealed but reinforced by brighter spotlights, which I place on a separate ‘dimmer’ switch.



Hall / Landing – First Floor



As with the entrance hall the stairs appear to rise to the next floor and an additional passage way has been created to allow privacy for the bedroom and to show the stairs emerging on this floor.



Bedroom – First Floor

The walnut wardrobes, bed and side table are made by myself. The two bronze busts are by Neil Carter and the two chairs by Kim Selwood. The false door at the rear of the bedroom leads to the imaginary bathroom (Dolls House Builders License!). 



Landing – Second Floor


With a door to the stairwell this small area makes an ideal space to free the main sitting area of clutter and house bookshelves and audio system. The furniture and audio system is made by myself. The beautiful 1/12th table light is by Ray Storey. 


Sitting Room – Second Floor


If I were lucky enough to be able to own a house like this I would surely want to take advantage of potentially the best view in the building, so this double height room was to me the obvious choice for the sitting room.


I have tried to add a little nautical flavor with the wall art, a few ‘stray’ pieces from my boat modeling days and the telescope, which took almost as long to make as the room took to decorate! I hope my styling compliments the small collection of much treasured miniatures that I have collected together in this space. The Le Corbusier sofa and chair together with the Eames recliner and ottoman are crafted by Kim Selwood. The floor standing globe is by Gary Masters of Masters Miniatures and the table lamps and bronzes by Ray Storey and Neil Carter respectively.

Finally, set in the present day as it is, the house would be incomplete without the ubiquitous wall mounted flat screen television. In this case the part of the television is played by my old Apple iphone mounted in a hole cut in the rear wall behind a simple mounting card frame. With access to films, ‘catchup’ TV and your own ‘home movies’ using a smart phone is a simple and effective way to add an essential piece of present day technology to a present day doll’s house!



The Lakeview is the third house kit that I’ve enjoyed building in the relatively short time since starting this hobby (the first photograph of the first house was taken on the 7th April 2014), and I’m beginning to realize that sooner, rather than later I need to make our loft habitable! ............... My new baby is imminent!


Photo © The Dolls House Builder


Unless otherwise indicated, all photos in this article are © Mike Adamson.

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