Monday, March 15, 2010

Vintage Fold-Away Doll House


Oh, if only we could take our dolls houses with us wherever we go, just like George Jetson and his (flying) car-that-folds-into-a-suitcase. :)

Well, now I can! I found this very neat vintage "Fold-Away Doll House," made in 1949, through a US eBay seller ($5.99). Published by Rudolph J. Gutmann (New York), the book states that the rooms were designed by a Catherine Barnes. Made of heavy cardboard, the "house" is fashioned as a book, but opens into a tri-fold that reveals panels of brightly-colored rooms that prop up into a kitchen, dining/living room, and a bedroom.

Here is the cover and the back:




And the inside:



You'll see from the cover illustration that it originally came with "punch-out" furniture, none of which survives here. A little bit of internet searching showed that ones in very good condition with the furniture go for $120 or so. Given the lack of said punch-out furniture, I had to use some of my own:







It was fun and challenging to work off a two dimensional backdrop that represents three dimensional objects. I used all different scales, but 1:16 worked best. Storage is easy on this one...makes me want to add more to my collection. I'd love to find a similar one from the 1960s.

Credits: Kitchen: table, chairs, and side table are vintage Jean of West Germany; sink is vintage German; plates, dish soap and treats are Re-ment; bowl is an eBay find. Living room: chair is a vintage eBay find; table is vintage Petite Princess; marble bust is my husband's; sideboard and pink pot with flower are vintage German; books are handmade by Oese; vase is Manor House Miniatures. Bedroom: bed and rocking horse are vintage German; cradle is vintage Fisher Price; toys are Re-ment and Japanese erasers.

Re-ment: I have written about the Re-ment in these scenes with a few exceptions. In the kitchen, the treats and white plates are from Bread & Butter #10, "Elegant Muffins and Scones," and are slightly large for 1:12. The flowered tray is from Princess Tea Party #4, and is large for 1:12. The soap on the sink is from Is Dinner Ready Yet #10, "Clean Kitchen," and is good for 1:12.

20 comments:

  1. Love that little curved chair. What an great deal and interesting piece of history you found. Oh, I loved seeing that.

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  2. I love vintage. I love the 50's. This is cool. Nice find! CM

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  3. What a great find! Really lovely wall and floor designs - and the furniture and accessories you've put in look terrific.
    I haven't come across other book dolls houses, but I know that Ideal made folding cardboard houses in suitcases in the 60s for the fashion doll Tammy. There are pictures of one on my blog : http://rebeccascollections.blogspot.com/2009/03/seen-on-ebay-1960s-ideal-dolls-house.html - and I've seen slightly different ones too.

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  4. I love these books, and you are very lucky of having found this one, it's in great condition, the colours are still bright.

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  5. well done, the challenge with the two dimensions was really mastered by you. Congrats to this very nice fotos! I love all the tiny furniture, especially the chair with the flower-cover.
    and the kitchen looks so real.
    lovely, lovely, lovely...

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  6. Blogger is malfunctioning and is not showing comments that I received and published for this post. Once this sorts out, I will publish responses -- sorry about this!!

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. Blogger problems today - published posts are not showing up. Trying again!

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  9. Hi Amy! Thanks -- I like my new chair too. I hadn't seen anything like it before. The timeframe of this book is from when my Mom was a little girl, so I like the reference to her history, too!

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  10. Thanks, Carol! It's pretty neat, right? I love the colors and patterns.

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  11. Hi Rebecca! I love that Tammy suitcase -- thanks for the link. I know Zillner's has a section on cardboard furniture. I must look into that again.

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  12. Thanks,Bea! The colors are very vibrant and have held up well. They were a great backdrop!

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  13. Hi Oese! Thanks for your comment. I enjoyed all the rooms, but I do love the red of the kitchen and all the little two-dimensional details. I also love any excuse to use my Re-ment :)

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  14. hey, love the blog. i've been following for a little bit and it's inspired me to start thinking about helping my mum finish her dollhouse. (it's been sitting in her attic for years, but is still in pretty good condition...)
    anyways, a co-worker passed me a link to this st. patrick's day etsy shop and it made me think of your work...
    http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?ref=vl_other_1&listing_id=41348336

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  15. Thanks, sm! I appreciate your comment! Do let me know if you help your Mum "rehab" her house! It can be a very fun process -- I did some house rehab on one of mine last night and it was very satisfying. Thanks for the link, too. Isn't Etsy great?

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  16. I Love it! Isn't it interesting how the little brother is shown on the cover as soooo excited. Was this to make little girls want the dollhouse more or was it an attempt to double their market, I wonder?

    Susan

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  17. Hi Susan! I know, I think the boy's expression is hilarious. He looks WAY more into the house than his sister. Perhaps this was a pitch to parents - buy the toy that keeps both kids completely occupied! :)

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