Christine des Garennes seeks advice on restoring her mom's 1940s dollhouse
My co-worker, Christine des Garennes, is working on a little DIY project and needs some help. So, she wrote a guest post for my blog. It's below.
If you have any advice for Christine on restoring this 1940s dollhouse, you can email her by clicking this link.
After my parents downsized houses several years ago, they’ve been patiently holding various items and pieces of furniture for me and my
siblings in part of their garage. On a recent visit I snatched up the old dollhouse, thinking I’d spruce it up for my daughter.
(The below photo is from Pinterest, and Christine says it's similar to what her dollhouse should look like.)
It’s a basic two-story colonial-style house that belonged to my mother before she let her five children play with it. She wasn’t the type to lock things away behind a glass case, so the dollhouse was well-used and shows signs of being well-loved. The house's exterior, which once featured vines and birch trees on the sides, has been painted over with white paint. The chimneys are missing, a metal shutter is nowhere to be found, and part of the masonite floorboard has warped. It looks pretty grungy.
I was curious about its origins and it didn’t take long for me to learn via some basic online searching that the dollhouse was likely made by
Keystone in Boston circa the late 1940s. That makes sense since my mother and her family emigrated to the U.S. around that time. It’s not one of those fancy schmancy Victorian or Queen Anne-style dollhouse, but I imagine for a little girl coming to America from Eastern Europe, it must have been an enchanting toy.
I’d like to make it look pretty again, but the reality is my free time is limited and my crafting skills are few. I’ve started the renovation project by lightly sanding off the exterior paint to reveal the original paint and details such as vines growing alongside the house and the
outlines of windows and a lamp. (It’s going to take a while to get all that done.)
I washed the interior with soap and water. I expect to paint the trim and I suppose I’ll have to touch up the details like the vines and such. But I’m not quite sure how to tackle that task. And I’m not sure what I will do about the vintage wallpaper in the bathroom. I like the style but what was once white wallpaper with stars on it is now a shabby cream color. Feel free to send me any tips if you've ever restored a dollhouse!