I'm travelling into a new way of working, a new country, a new language, and a new hobby which I'm passionate about. Come with me for some of the journey...

Monday 16 June 2014

The Opera Singer's House

Hello all!  Thank you so much for all your lovely comments.  I'm very glad you enjoyed the guided tour round the Tudor Tavern.

It's another long dollshouse post today but, as I said last time, for once I'm not apologising for the length.  I really want to document this work for myself and for Small Worlds (my mother's dollshouse museum in the Czech Republic, for anyone still catching up - find it at Cestina's Dollshouses).  It's a delightful bonus that anyone out there is enjoying it!

So, as promised, we move to a very different kind of dwelling today.  This Greenleaf house is making its debut at Small Worlds this season, having been kindly donated by our very good friend Susanne von Campenhausen.

It was her dollshouse in her youth but now, as she's the mother of four boys, it had been lying neglected in the attic for years.  She thought this might be a better way of life for it and, in a way, it's coming full circle as it was Cestina who helped source it in the first place.

I'll try to let you in on how one decision led to another (sometimes without me having much choice in the matter) and began to weave a new story around this house.

Susanne warned us it was in need of some attention... and that's what it got.

Here's how the inside looked when I first started on it.

And here's what you've got now...

(By all means, click on the photo for a larger view, but obviously I'll be showing you close-ups as the post progresses, so don't panic if you can't see properly!)

For character purposes, the exterior has actually become more rather than less dilapidated!

It was in a reasonable state on the outside, apart from some missing crenellations, but was in a rather bland cream, and the roof tiles were plain wood (not generally a recognised material for roof tiles on houses of this type!).  

It didn't help that, in the new layout, it ended up standing next to another cream house with wooden tiles.

So I got painty with it, and as I got painty, it started to take on character and tell me stories.  

What if some of those broken crenellations were to stay broken?  What if the exterior of this house were in need of some tender, loving care?

I wanted to go for a coppery patina on the roof tiles... and that gave the house even more of an Addams Family air... so I decided to go the whole hog and distress that bland cream paint.  Washes of black give it more of a sense of age.  I rather like the dramatic look.  (I hope Susanne does too!)

That drama on the outside eventually started to inform the story of who lives inside... but more of that as we go.

First a quick little journey through the stages of the roof - just in case I should want to re-create the look, or something similar, another time.

The first stage was rather terrifyingly bright and cartoon-like!  Like something out of Disney...!!

I used lots of greens on my palette for this: from the PaperArtsy Frescos - Limelight, Guacamole, Hey Pesto and Tinned Peas; from the DecoArt Americana range - Citron Green, Teal Green, Hauser Light and Mint Julep; and from the DecoArt Traditions Range - Blue-Green Light and Aquamarine.

It's those last two that really up the brightness stakes... but copper once it gathers a patina of age and decay does have that very full on colour intensity, so it had to be in the mix.

I took a deep breath and went on to the next layer...

You can see the next layer just being started in the "Disney" photo above, on the eave on the far right - time to add some coppery tones.

I used a bit of Ten Second Studios Verday Copper in a couple of places, but decided that was too expensive to use on the whole roof (even though I got it in a sale - I didn't want to use it all up!).

Instead I used a combination of DecoArt Burnt Sienna and their Dazzling Metallics Worn Penny (brilliant paint!), and made my way across the whole roof again.

It's only when you're painting it all three times over (at least) that you realise this house is more roof than house!

That's a lot of masking tape you need too - far too many places where roof and house or roof and crenellations coincide.

Anyway, that was the copper stage... an improvement, but still - as you looked across the room - way too in-your-face.

So it was out with the good old wash of black acrylic.

You can see that the black immediately gives it a lot more depth and age.

And it was some accidental drippage of that black wash onto the bland cream walls....

...that made me decide to go down the weathering route for the walls too.

Of course the white paintwork also needed to be a little less perfect...

So many nooks and crannies on this blessed roof!!

I weathered it more on edges and corners, and under windows where you'd expect water damage to be most evident.

And I came to the conclusion that it was worth all those layers and all those different paint colours on the roof in the end.

I think the overall effect is pretty cool.  And dramatic, too, as I said earlier... so (in your best Lloyd Grossman impressions now, please) "Who might live in a house like this?".

Let's find out...

Susanne had passed on the furniture she had collected, all now in shoeboxes and much of it in urgent need of repair.  I spent a day with it spread out on my craft table, bringing it back to life.

As well as repairing, I decided to do a bit of altering.  Out with the paints!

Dollshouse furniture (the less expensive sort) often seems to come in a bizarrely vivid shade of orange, pretending to be wood - see the side table to the left.  

So while I was sticking chairs, tables, beds and a grandfather clock back together, I decided also to see if I could get more of a walnut look, rather than these cheap veneerings.

The cabinets have already started on their journey with some coats of Raw Umber and washes of black paint.

Then with a coat of varnish (DecoArt Triple Thick Gloss Glaze) you start to see that lovely antique lustre that good wooden furniture should have.  The writing desk is almost there...

Once the clock has its head back on, that will get the same treatment.

The piano in the background above was a sort of shiny dark red (aiming for mahogany, I guess, but not really succeeding).  I decided I would transform it to a glossy black, inspired by the piano owned by Susanne's parents, which she and I and her sister used to play on.

The delicately pale pink chairs had faded to a lustreless oyster, and the glue stains were showing quite badly in places.

(I was also aware that the wallpaper I'd selected for the sitting room would make them look even more out of place.)

I experimented with applying Iced Spruce Distress Stain direct to the silk and ended up loving the result.  It looks like shot silk close up.

I painted the wood for that richer feel too.  A whole new look!

The dining room chairs were in the biggest state of disarray - must have been some very heavy guests at some point!  

As well as sticking them back together, I had to make a few pieces to fill in the gaps.

I had to alter the colour of the seating cushions which had faded too.  

One had gone missing altogether and, although there was some spare material in the shoebox, it was several shades darker (having been protected from the light all those years), so I just tried to get them to match.  

They're now all the darker shade of teal on the right (a mixture of Broken China and Evergreen Bough Distress Stains).

Getting the beds back together was one of the trickiest bits... all that woven string getting tangled.

The one on the left is propped up while the glue dries... and they also had some paintwork done.  

Once done, they looked so cool I didn't really want to cover them with mattresses!  

I've always wanted to create a proper attic, full of unwanted things, so I decided that one of them would lie in the extensive attics of this house, with the strings still exposed.

Over the next few weeks, any glue gun strings were carefully preserved to create cobwebs in the attic!

I put the repaired and revamped furniture into the house to see where to go next.  Clearly we would have to add items from the 40-year hoard to complete the look, as you can see from the next few photos - but somehow I couldn't seem to progress with it.  It's strange how hard it is to decorate and furnish a house until you know who's living there...

I was having trouble working out a room allocation.  Susanne has a lovely family of Edwardian dolls, but how on earth they were all supposed to fit in the very limited bedroom space was, I confess, slightly baffling me.  

And fitting the grand piano plus all the other furniture into that downstairs room was proving very hard.  I stalled completely.

All this furniture is clearly period furniture, but the house itself really doesn't have a Victorian or Edwardian feel to it.  The layout is all wrong - the open plan living space downstairs is much more of a modern way to live.  

So I felt a bit stuck... until it dawned on me that plenty of people nowadays have beautiful period furniture in their houses, side by side with modern living.  

(The prototype computer on the dining table didn't make the final cut, even once I'd painted the ink screen metallic silver.  Top marks to anyone who can spot what it's made of!)

The breakthrough came when I gave the piano the space it deserved in a room all of its own upstairs - now the Music Room.

And if the attic was going to be a "forgotten" space, that left me with one single solitary bedroom - and not very large at that.  It was becoming apparent that this house didn't seem to have room for a whole family.

So - apologies, Susanne! - the Edwardian family will now be housed elsewhere, somewhere more commodious, I hope.  

And with that music room and the dramatic exterior, not to mention the items now banished to the attic, the until now rather shadowy inhabitant started to take shape for me.   

And now I knew who she was, I was able to forge ahead with the transformation.

Let's start in that music room - probably my favourite room in the house.  Oh, how I would love a room like this of my own!  (Yes, I know that's greedy, and I have a craft room already - but that's extremely cluttered, whereas this...)

Here's how it was at the start of things...

... and here's how it looks now.  

The copper wires (Susanne had wired the house to be lit) were ripped up, and I laid one of my handmade oak floors... good for the acoustics.

So she's a musician, clearly - a singer, I decided, and a successful one at that...

... though her own long and illustrious performing career is now combined with teaching - only the most promising of the next generation of singers, obviously.

Sometimes agents or directors will come to discuss future collaboration, or hear new work in development - there's a chair ready and waiting...

These rather beautiful golden chairs are from a series called Take a Seat, by Raine - resin reproductions of interesting or notable chair designs.

Cestina bought a whole lot when they were on special offer in The Works (cheap book and art supply store here in the UK - though sadly nothing like Michael's by the sound of it) and they've all been sitting in their boxes for more than a decade.

This spring, this pair and many of the others have finally found homes in various houses in Small Worlds. 

At her writing desk, our opera singer has cards and letters from fans, from directors and conductors, and from grateful former pupils.

And fresh flowers, of course... always.

PaperArtsy fans will spot the card cut from the PaperArtsy postcard!  And you can just see the corner of the Oriental sculpture placed for maximum feng-shui benefit at the top of the stairs.

There's another PaperArtsy card on the mantelpiece along with a cup warmer to keep her tisanes and decoctions at the right temperature for perfect lubrication of the vocal folds.

(I had a singing teacher who had an enormous mirror just by her piano - useful for checking posture and lip shaping.  She's definitely an ingredient in this mix.)

There'll always be more details to add - next time I'm in the Czech Republic! - but it's already a room which has a really lovely atmosphere.  

It's hard to capture with a photograph, but it gives me great pleasure to gaze at this one in real life (and imagine living and working in it).

In the main living space downstairs, the floor had certainly seen better days.  

I was planning to rip the whole thing up (the thought of handmade parquet was looming ominously) but Cestina persuaded me to try a restoration job.

So I did quite a lot of sticking down of individual tiles (not as many as if I'd made a new floor from scratch, of course), gave it all a good clean, and then coats of Walnut Ink solution and varnish to finish it off.

I think it scrubbed up rather well in the end, and makes a good setting for all that repaired and revamped furniture.

(Ooh - learned a lovely Dutch word for revamped or upcycled from the fabulous Alie - opgepimpt - literally "pimped up"!)

Tea is ready and waiting on the table, with some rather indulgent looking delights.

(This house required degree level wallpapering... insane numbers of curves and arches, and unreachable walls.  I had to do the wallpaper at the top of the stairs by feel, running round to look through the window to see whether I'd got it in the right place.  It's a kit house, and I think they think you're going to decorate it before putting it together.)

The silver tea service above was hauled out of the hoard (as were the profiteroles) and is actually made of plastic.  

But the beautiful silver on the (now) gleaming walnut sideboard was all collected by Susanne, and is beautifully weighted, being made of metal.

The decanter and goblets are just gorgeous, and so are the elegant, slender candlesticks.

Two of those goblets are ready at hand on the occasional tables in the seating area.  A special visitor last night, perhaps, or one due later this evening?

The bird cage you can see in the bay window required some thought.  Susanne had the bird cage already, but there was nowhere to stand it or hang it.  So I pressed a hat stand into action, repainting it and giving it a cardboard table top.  

 To disguise the cardboard, I added a silk cloth, dipped in diluted PVA glue to give the fabric enough weight to hang in place.

Ah ha - and what's that I see over the mantelpiece?

Would that be a Sizzix Ornate Frame die, painted with Florentine Treasure Gold Liquid Leaf and filled with mirror card?

Yes, it would!

And some more fresh roses, naturally...

More roses at the other side of the room - either she has many admirers or a standing account at the florists.

That's her great-grandfather in the ornate frame.  I think he was also a musician, or perhaps a composer.

The frame started out a dull pewter - and while I'm quite fond of dull pewter myself, it needed a bit of a zhuzh to fit in with our diva's other belongings.

So there's some more Florentine Liquid Leaf, and then some washes of dark grey for some weathering, and finally a bit of highlighting with some Rub'n'Buff in Autumn Gold. 

And what about this other photograph over on the hall table?  He's a rather splendid looking silver fox.  What possible significance could he hold in our singer's life?

And there's another wallpapering hazard - oval windows, what's that all about?!

That hall table was another piece of cheap plastic furniture hauled out of the hoard and "opgepimpt".

It's a drastic improvement in this case, I'd say, with its new gold handles and all!

I'll try to get a move on through the rest of the rooms...

The bathroom before...

... and after a coat of DecoArt Chalk Paint in Vintage on the walls, and a new floor.

The main bathroom suite was from Susanne's original furniture - a lovely ceramic set - but the room needed some additional furniture.

Back to the hoard for this motley collection - though they do have the slatted feature in common (only the three in front, not the cooker and sink - just lining up the jobs to be done)...

... and then back to the Chalk Paint - Vintage and Everlasting layered on for a shabby chic look.  

Much better.

Now it's starting to look like the sort of bathroom my singer would have.

The flowers are one of Susanne's originals, but now there's also a mini jar filled with bath salts, and the bath oils are created from beads and jewellery findings.  

And the tissue pot is another bead with some tissue paper tucked into the top.

I altered the toilet seat too - darker and sleeker than in the part-way photo above (which is also where the colour of the walls is most accurate - don't know what went on with the rest of these!).

Note the toilet roll and holder - something frequently overlooked in dollshouse bathrooms!

Since you've just had a sneak peek of some of the kitchen appliances, let's go in there next. 


And part-way... All Susanne really had for this room was the range, and lots of beautiful copper cookware!  Time to go digging!

Again, it was a case of trying to create a cohesive look out of very diverse pieces of furniture.  I tried to make this plastic sink unit and the wooden dresser, both from the hoard, look as though they belonged in the same kitchen as the magnificent cooking range.

The DecoArt Worn Penny Dazzling Metallics paint came in handy again, to tie the drawer handles and taps in with the brass work on the range.

The sink unit is really too small scale-wise but that's all that would fit in the window bay and, with its added kickboard (made out of some more strips of wood, stuck to some more polystyrene packaging - oh, the glamour!) to give it extra height, it just about passes muster.  

Oh, and that tall tap... a chopped up curtain hook again (you'll remember they bobbed up all over the Tudor Tavern too.

At the moment, this is the least successful room for me, mainly because it's so blinking small!  

And with that window bay in the way too... there's almost no way to get in the necessary kitchen furniture, never mind to obey the magic triangle of cooker, sink and fridge (oops, no fridge at all yet, I've just noticed).

I came to the conclusion in the end that my singer really doesn't cook very much.  For most of her performing life, she's never been at home for meals anyway.  She eats out a lot, and also has an arrangement with a nearby chichi restaurant that they will deliver when needed.  When there's a big dinner to give, she has it catered; that large showy range is mainly for heating things up.

Even though my singer doesn't cook, there were a couple of tea services amongst Susanne's accessories.  I was in the transformation zone mode by now, so I altered them a little bit...

... not with paint this time, but with nail polish!

The cream set is now a fetching shade of teal and stored on the kitchen dresser, while the yellow one - a rather homely sort of tea service for someone as glamorous as our diva - has been re-housed elsewhere in Small Worlds.

But she has got that rather elegant silver one out of the hoard to make up for it!

Nearly there... honestly!

You saw the bedroom in its part-way mode earlier in the post (I know, I know, it's a long time ago... you're forgiven), so let's go straight for a before and after.

Here I did rip out the rather tired floor, and added some hand-stamped, hand-inked, hand-varnished and hand-cut floorboards.

All there was to furnish this room was the bed, so again, I've added some pieces from the hoard.  

And although the featherbed was nice and soft and fluffy, it really had seen better days, so I grabbed some silk from the fabric stash (it's the same stuff as I used for the bird cage table) and redressed the bed.  

Again I used diluted PVA to keep the fabric in place - a tip learned from my aunt, Mette Breminer, when she came to offer her considerable expertise last year.

This won't look much to anyone proficient with fabric and sewing machines, but I'm very pleased with myself for managing to make the pillows.  Regulars at Words and Pictures will know that such things and I really don't go together well.  I give you: The Cheat's Way To Make Soft Pillows...

Yup, it's a square of handkerchief cut to size (check out that expensive bedlinen), some kapok stuffing and a piece of double-sided sticky padded tape laid on top. Then I just folded the hankie over to fit, folded the edges like gift-wrapping a present and glued it down.  It's not as beautiful as what Mette would have made, but it'll do me!

Mirrors everywhere (though her walk-in wardrobe is clearly somewhere out of sight of our eyes)... with some more beads and jewellery findings and bits and bobs taking the role of perfume bottles and sprays.

I covered the dressing table stool in silk to match the bed cover too.

Okay, I thought this would be a shorter post than the Tudor Tavern... clearly I was wrong.

Finally - yes, finally - we move up into the attic.  

You've seen a couple of shots of it in progress, and this will be one of those rooms which will be added to all the time.

Almost anything unwanted elsewhere in Small Worlds can probably find a home here in the long run...

The glue gun threads make great cobwebby strands across the unwanted items. 

And you'll notice clues to another element in our singer's story - a cradle, a rocking horse.

Somewhere along the line, there's been a child in this house, and in her life.  She hasn't always lived here alone.  

I'm afraid she may have decided to put music first and - after the very public scandal and divorce - that child grew up in the care of its father and his family...

But having put her career first, she made the most of it... singing in opera houses and concert halls around the world.  

So one thing that it was absolutely necessary to have in the attic was some glamorous luggage for her to travel with... 

It's close to the stairwell obviously, for easy access (and the only things up there not covered with cobwebs) but it's a little battered and travel worn now, of course.

Unfortunately, there was no such thing in the hoard, so if I wanted it, I was going to have to make it from scratch.

Back to the polystyrene to create the basic shapes of trunk, suitcase and weekender bag.

Then some scrabbling in the fabric stash to find the bag of leather scraps.

Some of that copper electrical tape, used to wire houses for electricity, forms the bands across the trunk.  And sliced in half lengthwise it also decorates the edges of all three pieces of luggage.

Those curtain hooks put in another appearance, cut to make the handles, and painted with the DecoArt Worn Penny again.  And some white cake decorating wire, painted with Worn Penny, marks the opening and closing edges...

I clipped the metal folding bits off the back of some brads, painted those with Worn Penny too, and used them to form the latches and buckles.

In fact the decorative brads were of miniature cutlery (hence Cestina having hoarded them) - so I used the head of one of the forks to create the clasp on the trunk  I thought the tines made quite good claws for the clasp.

So now my singer has a matched set of luggage, and - thanks to some distressing with black paint - it even though it looks as though it's been around the world a couple of times.  

On some future visit, I'll be adding luggage labels and tags along with lots more things to fill the attic.

Thank you so much for your company on this second guided tour.  There's one more dollshouse post to share the other things I've been busy with for the last few weeks, and then normal crafty service will be resumed at the weekend!  See you soon!

Words make you think.  Music makes you feel.  A song makes you feel a thought.
Yip Harburg

The only thing better than singing is more singing.
Ella Fitzgerald

Since it's Anything Goes, I'm going to enter this over at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge!  No idea whether it really qualifies, but I'm taking them at their word that it's "No Rules; Just Get Creative".  I was certainly getting creative with the skills and products from my crafty world, and I'd simply like to share that.


froebelsternchen said...

Oh wow-- all this is breathtaking and ADORABLE!

Love it!

JoZart Designs said...

Thank you for such a wonderful tour. It is enthralling and I do feel that it needs sound effects to provide some music. I'm hoping the period is late enough to have at least a wind up gramophone giving sufficient reason to play some opera whilst visitors browse.
Jo x

massofhair said...

Beautiful post Alison, the house is definitely a work of HeArT. Fab story and just mind blowingly amazing :-) xxx

catherine said...

Oh wow Alison this is so great to be able to see this other side of your crafting. you and your mum must spend so much time doing these and all the attention to detail is just overwhelming. Loved the Tudor one as well. fantastic pieces of work
x catherine

Chrissy said...

OUTSTANDING Alison..Oh! I wish I could shrink down and live there..just for a short time.All the rooms and details are exquisite.The outside has come out perfect..love the greeny roof.
A stunning restoration.


Dagmar said...

I can´t say it in english - sorry

Das ist einfach unbeschreiblich schön - traumhaft - ich muss immer wieder diese Bilder anschauen und kann es kaum begreifen, was da tolles entstanden ist! Ein ganz großes Kompliment für diese vielen liebevollen Details - ich staune noch immer - fantastisch!!!! Ganz liebe und bewundernde Grüße, Dagmar

Cestina said...

I echo completely how lovely it is to look into the music room particularly, but the rest of the house too. To the extent that, as you know, I couldn't bear the protective acrylic sheet that you (and I) painstakingly attached to the house - for some reason it blocked the view more than it does for all the other thus protected houses. I've ripped it all off.....

I hadn't clocked at all what the hallstand had been. Klobouk dolu! as the Czechs say :-) Not just for that of course, but for the whole thing

Juliz Design Post said...

Alison, this post was an absolute delight from start to finish. The look you have given to this house is so refreshing to see. I think we can all get too tied up in making our dolls houses look pristine in every way and you have perfectly managed to give this a look of being such a lived in and loved house in need of maintenance and repairs. Perhaps your lady had hit some hard times in her musical career and couldn't afford to pay for the repairs to the outside of her house... Your cobwebs are genius. I have a room in my dolls house that has the decorators in it, that I may just now add a few cobwebs too. When we moved house the chimneys on my dolls house were damaged. I never sorted them as I rather like the storm damaged look. Must now look at your Tudor Tavern.
Julie x

Fliss said...

Alison, I'm totally awestruck! An amazing transformation and so fabulously creative.
I just loved reading about your opera diva too, such a wonderful way to gain inspiration as you go along.
Fliss xx

Helen said...

WOW!!! I thought the Tudor House was fabulous - but this is just perfect. I wish my child-hood dollshouse had been a glorious shape like this, not the box like structure it was, but I still remember if fondly. The hours and hours of work that have gone into these two (so far) creations is just staggering. But SO worthwhile. Thanks, again for the back story, it does totally make the house much more real. xxx

Meggymay said...

Another magical visit into a miniature world. Its an wonderful story, I was believing every word. It now looks a perfect house for your singer.

Inky and Quirky Designs said...

Oh Alison,this makes me want to go out and buy a dollshouse. I really adore these worlds in miniature,I could lose myself for hours adding bits and pieces to it. Thank you so much for these posts,it's like being a child again,wonderful : )

Donna x

Ruth said...

Another beautiful journey and my 2 favourite parts are the gorgeous patina on the tiles, just loving that and the wonderful luggage....want a set just like that! Wow...thank you Alison, so enjoying these house viewings! Ruth x

sam21ski said...

Gosh so much detail, it all just looks so realistic

Great job again xxx

Netty said...

wow, such a transformation Alison am sure Susanne will be totally delighted when she sees it. Love the story of the singer/pianist am sure she will love her new home. Nearly forgot to say, the atmosphere you have created in the attic is great.

Thank you for your very kind words today and the link.......wonderful story. Am off now to practice my scales. Hugs Annette x


Craft Addicts - Tracy Evans said...

AMAZING, the detail is absolutely. breathtaking , I cannot believe,the detail of each piece, so much work and so worthwhile to create such a wonderful unique dwelling. I don't know how,you find the time to do anything else lol. Tracy x

Jenny Marples said...

Yet again some amazing transformations on show here Alison. I swear you have the patience of a saint and an incredibly vivid imagination to breath such life into once loved abodes. It takes me back to trips to the former Dollshouse Emporium showroom in Ripley a few years ago. Thank you for sharing this again. Jenny x

Meihsia Liu said...

Oh my, Alison, this creation is amazing! I love every gorgeous details of it. Stunning :)

Hettie said...

Oh My! You have done it again Alison! This is absolutely supercalorfragilisticexpealidotious! I hope I spelt it right?
I would have killed for a house like that when I was a kid. I would have killed my Mum if she had given THAT one away! Yeah! You guessed it...I went to school one day and returned to find she had given it to the horrid girl across the road! Sulked for weeks over that!
Now then...if I give you the keys to my house...do you want a challenge?
Well done.

Rita said...

Thank you so much Alison for taking us on this wonderful journey with you. I gave my dolls house to Molly my granddaughter two years ago and like you I made lots of things my self. I'd love to view Small Worlds in reality. An Amazing place. Hugs Rita xxx

Julie Lee said...

Another truly lovely house! It feels so real and lived-in and I so love what you did to the roof - it's perfect! I am so enjoying these dolls' houses. Julie Ann xxx

Mona Pendleton said...

Holy smokes Alison! What a fun and fabulous project! So many tiny details to admire!

Beulah Bee said...

I followed the link from SSS tonight and am so glad I did. I thoroughly enjoyed your post and the details you provided. What a fantastic project and what fun you must have had! The story is integral to the house and yours fits it beautifully (although I'd rather think the child is simply grown up and the husband died while serving his country). Perhaps it's no coincidence that I arrived here tonight as I have an old dollhouse kit that was never assembled that is boxed up in my closet where it has sat for over five years since I bought it at a second-hand store with the intention of giving it life. Perhaps you would like it?

12Create said...

You have made a brilliant revamp of an already lovely house and items. You use some wonderful techniques and it all looks fabulous.

chrissie said...

Typing through my tears here as I look at the wonders and I think I hear a singer practicing scales ready for the next concert.

Back down to earth and I admire the wonderful work you have done to restore this beautiful doll's house that was rescued to be loved again by many.

Having said that, for me, you saved the best until last. The little set of luggage has won my heart and all from such humble beginnings. Only you could think of taking the bits off the back of brads to make the latches and buckles :)

Thank you for making my day

Love Chrissie x

Redanne said...

I can really only echo what most of the others have already said Alison - this is a stunning transformation. I love the treatment on the roof, the music room is superb and I love the kitchen too. It would be lovely to live in a house like this... I love the story of the singer too and so pleased to hear that her child did not die, that cot in the attic made me fear the worst! I know it is only a story but I do love a happy ending! You are a creative genius..... Anne xx

JoZart Designs said...

Methinks Bang and Olufsen would be far superior and more befitting!
Jo x
I meant to add that, when we went to the opera in the Verona Amphitheatre, Andre Bocelli was driven onto the stage in a car just like the red one in your first picture!

Deborah said...

You must get so much satisfaction from your dolls house makeovers, Alison (despite the frustrating wallpapering and acres of roof - eek!) This one is truly a work of art - fabulous!

Cestina said...

Just done a reread - too much to take in all at once, even though I was there during its conception. You shouldn't have put in the link to Take a Seat by Raine. I thought I had all of them.....

Astrid Maclean said...

Wow, what a mammoth post (even for you), how many hours must it take you to put it together....? In any case it all looks incredible for sure!

Dana Tatar said...

Wow! I'm ready to move in! ;) Amazing work. The details and finishing touches you put into this piece are just fantastic! I love all the paint and pretty wallpapers. You have much more patience than me. Thanks so much for sharing this masterpiece! :)

mark gould said...

Superb,when I saw you were back with the folks houses I had a feeling something like this may happen. Absolutely brilliant. X

Dorthe said...

What a fantastic transformation, -I love your roof, and the rooms now so beautifully filled with altered furnichures, so sweet with the painted blue ones, and the teaset that goes so well with them now painted with nail polish. You has an amazing fantasie ,and living it out so wonderful, with the houses you restore, they are gorgeous, dear Alison.

Terry said...

So much beauty for the eyes to behold! Talk about a "work in progress" and the end result is so worth the time! If I ever get to the CR, I know one of the first places I will visit! Hugs!

Cocofolies said...

Amazing work Alison, I'm speechless once again... You put so much of your great art in it, and all is so beautiful!!!! A true masterpiece for your mum's collection, how lucky and proud she must be to have you! Love your fantastic roof of course, but also every tiny detail in each piece too! Hugs, Coco xx

pearshapedcrafting said...

Just love how your story led your decorating! This really is a fantastic building(it's ok - I know it's really a dolls house!) I love the way you worked on the roof - so perfect for an old house! The bureau especially caught my imagination but really everything shows just how talented you are. I love the idea of a hidden walk in wardrobe and the luggage that's clearly been around the World twice!!!! Look forward to the next transformation, Chrisx

Corrie Herriman said...

WOW, WOW, WOW, this is truly fabulous. What a great job you did ! Love it. Simon should give you first prize for this one !
Corrie x

Andrea Small said...

Like, like LIKE!! I'm so grateful for the photos and description of the development - they form a lovely insight into the creative and artistic process.

It's all brilliant (obvs.) but I was particularly taken with the sideboard - an astonishing transformation.

And how perfect an inhabitant - can one ever be a true artist without being touched by tragedy?

A xx
PS You're very CLEVER you know!

Princess Judy Palmer said...

Amazing! Simply amazing. I've been lost in your post for the better part of an hour. I've always adored miniatures and they've had a special place in my heart. Not in my house though, sorry to say.

Julia Aston said...

What a marvelous post! having a partially done doll house in my attic - I can appreciate the labor of love in all the work done here - what creative ideas you come up with to restore this beautiful house! I also looked at your Tudor house post - love all the upgrades you did! It probably has taken you as long to create these posts as it did to do the restoration/creation!

Silvia(Barnie) said...

In one word: AMAZING - thanks for sharing all these wonderful photos.

Anonymous said...

I want to live in that house, it's PERFECT & so beautiful!! I was blown away by the Boar's Head tavern, but this is spectacular Alison. Congratulations!

cathylynn said...

What else can I possibly say that hasn't already been said. Bravo!! You have transformed this house into a masterpiece and each detail is to perfection. Amazing and I really am enjoying your dollhouse posts!
Hugs, Cathy-Lynn

sally said...

Who wants to live in a house like this....I for one, would rather like to live in it! Your transformations are amazing and the ingenuity for some of the things is just incredible.
I'm sure Lloyd Grosmann would love to visit :-)


Mrs Redboots (Annabel Smyth) said...

Utterly brilliant! I am in total awe, as I couldn't even begin to do anything like that.

Dianne said...

**** KABOOM ****, Miss Alison this is THE BOMB, AMAAAAAAZING. I loved the tutor house but I totally fell in LOVE with this one, It looks darn right magical to me, the roof is out of this world,it was worth every drop of paint you used, the outside walls are SO realistic, the detail of all that furniture is SUPERB. That writing desk, get out of town that's freaking brilliant, looooove the bird cage, the kitchen is FABULOUSSSSS, your suit cases are BRILLIANT. The attic with all the cobwebs, Miss Alison , I know I'll be back to see this again, showing it to anybody I can :O). I had to facebook this house, thanks so much for sharing it, you know how much I love miniatures, you just made my week, have a wonderful day, (((( HUGE HUGS ))))..

Sandy said...

I would not have missed this post for the world. I love seeing how you make everything -- you are really in your element here Alison. So creative and then you lure us right into your story. I feel as if I really know this singer. Not personally of course - she runs with a different crowd. I wonder who that picture of that mystery man is - the father of her child? Does she have regrets? Is he another famous singer she fell in love with somewhere a long the way but he was more interested in his career than a relationship? Incredible artistry Alison - wow!
Sandy xx !! xx

sarascloset said...

Wow! I've really got to sit down with a cup of coffee and really have a look around the house. It's gorgeous! I know my daughter, who loves miniatures, will love to see this posting. I want to know if I can come help decorate it for Halloween??!!!

May said...

WOW Alison, I looked through 3 times as there is so much fantastic work to look at.. Brilliant... Love it all... Hugs May x x

Alie Hoogenboezem-de Vries said...

What can I say...is there a word to express how I feel about your skills? No...Alison, I can say amazing, but there is so much more to say.
Stunning!!! You can make or alter anything, so it seems :-)
Greetings, Alie :-)

Etsuko said...

Awesome!! I have looked, surprised, smiled and impressed. I can't do that, you are wonderful Alison! xx

Tincan Crafter said...

I am floored again! I thought the Tudor house was such an incredible piece of magnificence that you could only do one of those in a LIFETIME!!! Now you show us this - what manner of genius are you Alison? I did love the toilet roll and holder - only someone with s specific eye for detail would think of that and true to form there you included it. Love the bathroom tiles and bed and the upholstered armchairs. I dont think I will ever get over your brilliance - I have sent this link to all my buddies as well on Facebook! ANd I am about to go a'pinning too!

Unknown said...

Wow Alison - absolutely stunning! A labour of love for sure. Love the shabby chic finish to the exterior……and that luggage is perfect!!!! Hugs Helen x

Carol Q said...

what an amazing labour of love Alison. I can see why you could get sucked into dolls houses.

craftytrog said...

Very impressive & great to see the process Alison xxx

Marci said...

Oh, I really like the outside of this house. The roof! And I like that you aged the outside walls, too. Love the attic and that luggage! Wonderful! The story is great, it makes it seem real.

Almo said...

Well Alison once again I have enjoyed reading this post with a nice cup of tea. I love the style of this house and your transformation of the roof (13 colours!)and the walls is amazing, I can't begin to imagine how long this took you. I noticed the addition of the little brass door plate in the museum photo also. I love how your have changed the colours of the wood futniture and made them much more in keeping with the style of the house, and boy I do admire your patience fixing all the broken parts. The glue string cobwebs are so realistic and I recognised the ornate frame mirror straight away, the computer mmm? maybe polystyrene?? not sure. I do have the feeling there are a set of curtains missing a few hooks somewhere though. I have just noticed you have posted your next house. That one is booked in for coffee break this afternoon, look forward to it. Mo x

Nan G said...

Oh my, butterfly! If you ever get bored with crafting or your speech work you should become a novelist! It is so enthrall ing to picture in my minds eye the diva and how one would go about fixing, acquiring and furnishing her house. Thank you for another brilliant story. The house is pretty cool, too. :)

Shilpa Nagaonkar said...

Stunning!!! TFS these beauties with us!

Anna-Karin said...

Another beautiful posts. I am amazed at all the details, even tiny little cards. Thank you for sharing!!

Margaret said...

Oh, I want to live there! The house is gorgeous with it's aged and weathered exterior! I love the music room, although the bathroom takes a very close second place!

You have such an amazing talent for altering and creating such wonderful pieces! What a joy to be able to share this love with your mother!

Anita Houston The Artful Maven said...

AH MAZ ING!!!!!! LOVE it!!!

Annie said...

OMG.....astounding how you have transformed this amazing house. I don't know where to start its all so wonderful Alison. Lovely details and memories that you have shared. The attic too is wonderful and I love the luggage.


Annie xx

Unknown said...

I love that you kept some of her things and opted for different looks otherwise such as the music room. It is fabulous Alison and the bed in the attic with the glue gun strings for cobwebs is so cool too. I wouldn't want to cover the bed up either if I had put the time into it that you did. I am loving your dollhouses and who knows maybe I won't wait for a granddaughter. Maybe I'll just make'em for me lol. x

Anonymous said...

WOW, WOW, WOW!!!!!

Kasia said...

Thank you for this beautiful post, Alison! Amazing houses and stunning details :)

Lisa Minckler said...

OMG!!! I'm reading these all in odd orders, but I don't think my ticker can take much more. HOLY CRAP!! That was, well...a word that describes mind blowing...
Freaking awesome. My brain is overwhelmed and I believe I'm losing my faculties to create full sentences....

Mrs.B said...

Hi Alison, knew I had to do a catch up on this - and what a marvelous tour I've had! Loved every little bit of the fabulous transformation.
Avril xx

Lucy Edmondson said...

The roof and the luggage are just amazing!

Lucy x

Kezzy said...

Wow wow wow another awesome restoration with a beautiful story. It truly amazes me how you come up with such unique ideas to bring these doll houses up to scratch :-) Kezzy xxx

scrappymo! said...

This is breathtaking! You do such a wonderful job on your renovation work!

So many details and painstakingly implemented!

Kerstin F. said...

wow, really a dream house in a miniature world, absolutly fabulous!! Many thanks for sharing and for your comment on my blog. Hugs Kerstin

Claire said...

OMG what a stunning project, so much detail and the finished house is breathtaking. I love it! Congratulations on your top3 at Simon Says Monday challenge too
Claire xx

Unknown said...

Congratulations on being spotlighted at SSS! it is so deserved... amazing work! Ingrid x

Unknown said...

So happy this caught the eye of SSS, how could it not. :) Congratulations!

Elly said...

What an awesome ongoing project. I can spend hours to read your thoughts and watch these dollhouses growing. (:o)