Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mon Chalet Amour

A vintage A-frame chalet-style dolls house has entered my life...and collection! I purchased it on Etsy and it needs a bit of rehab. I was tempted to both buy it and *not* buy it because it needed work!! The seller told me that it was constructed from a kit and is 1:12 scale, but she did not have the time to refinish it. I did some searching and could not turn up any information on the kit; the bottom has only a fragment of a sticker:

Doesn't tell me much!

While I am eager to dig in to right the wrongs, I am also unsure about the direction. My first impression of the house, after packing it out --

...was that the wallpaper and curtains needed to go. They were easy to remove, but the adhesive papers left a sticky residue. I decided to leave the sisal-type wall covering on the bottom level.

Then, I assessed the condition, and overall it is decent, but has nicks here and there, including in the front.

I am also not sold on the current paint job and color. I picked up some dark brown spray paint and experimented with the color on the curved stairwell and small divider on top.

What do you think? Do I re-paint the darker color or preserve the current hue? Or go completely radical and paint this puppy white???

How about wallpaper or coverings? On the one hand, I think it could look cool, but on the other, I like the wood exposed. The sisal works -- perhaps that approach?

I do like the layout, which diverges from most of my other houses. I did a quick setup in the house to test out scales. There's mostly 1:10 and 1:12, and both work pretty well (apologies in advance for the grubby backdrop of our garage).

As I was researching A-frame kits, I came across this image of a very cool custom A-frame by Buchmann's, a toy shop in upstate New York. Neat, right?

I have emailed them seeking more information on the house and furnishings and will hopefully post on it soon. Speaking of custom, I managed to win some Contemporary Doll House Plans by Doll Domiciles recently on eBay (Mini Dork posted on another set a few weeks back), so I will share some pics of that as soon as I can get to opening them!

In the meantime, I welcome your ideas and feedback on my A-frame!

UPDATE, 9/12/10: Reader Payton tipped me off to an eBay listing that provides a very big clue on this house. It is indeed a kit, made by Whitman and it dates from 1978. I was not able to copy the photo of the box from the eBay listing, but it looks like the front has a porch, which makes sense given the marks there on my house. Another reader, Div, also has the kit and offered to scan the directions for me, so I can share those when I get them! THANKS!

Credits: Kitchen/dining: sink and stove is vintage Bodo Hennig; refrigerator came with my Citadel house; table is vintage German; lucite chairs are from eBay. Living room: couch is vintage VERO; chair is vintage German; boomerang table is by Paris Renfroe; Eames lounger is Reac. Bedroom: Bed is vintage German; console is by Paris Renfroe; Panton chair is vintage Bodo Hennig; rug is by Peppercorn Minis. Bath: Bathtub, sink, and toilet are vintage Bodo Hennig; plant is vintage TOMY. Outside: plant is vintage TOMY; pillow is handmade by Tarkus; and wing chair is an eBay find. Accessories are Re-ment, Manor House Miniatures, doll store finds, and eBay.


  1. Cool house! I like your idea of painting the inside white. It would give it a really mod feel. You could add a punch of color by coloring the spiral stairs or add some cool shag rugs! Great find!

  2. Paint the puppy white then all your additions and colours will stand out and look fab.

  3. Me encanta la forma de A que has decidido.
    Pocas sugerencias puedo darte porque me gusta todo.
    Me encanta el color de los saneamientos,dan un toque muy alegre
    Besitos, May

  4. Believe it or not:
    I saved a lot of fotos of this house, because I plan to make a 1:12-version of it. I guess it's easy, for example with this wooden sticks you can find in macdonalds. but once again you are the first to show this nice house - I think we are sisters in soul!
    I admire the lot of work you'll have with it. I think my plan is much easier to realize ;-)
    Have a nice sunday.

  5. Thanks Mini Me! I think it is interesting that people are going for the white! I like your idea for color!!

  6. Hi Studio SWS! Another vote for white! Hmmm...I might have to consider it!

  7. Gracias, de mayo! Le agradezco sus amables palabras! Otros como el blanco también - tal vez tenga que ir a por ello!

    May likes white too - she thinks it will add a calm feel.

  8. May -- Puedo utilizar Google traducir y lo tradujo su nombre, lo siento!

  9. Wow, MAGF! Another vote for white! I could not have predicted this!

  10. Hi Oese! Of course we have the same taste -- great taste! Please do it in mini -- it will be fabulous! And yes, yours will be a lot easier to tackle, unless I leave the house as is ;)

  11. This A-frame house reminds me so much of the A-frame summer cottage my grandparents had by the sea when I was a child! Happy memories! (Even though they sold it when I was three!)
    I remember they had a big carpet on the middle of the A-shaped wall.
    I like the colours of the interior, I think the orange and brown elements suits the style of the house well.
    If it's possible I would prefer to keep the wood, possibly stained. I like the dark stain treatment you gave the stairs, but if you do paint it, I think I would prefer a soft grey to white on the interior walls.

  12. Hey Pubdoll! We, too, had a cabin when we were younger (not quite an A-frame as yours), and it reminds me of summer ;) Cool -- a groovy carpet on the wall, I like that. I love your idea of a soft grey!! A good, neutral solution!

  13. Hi callsmall, I've got very behind in my comments on your blog since being away, I'm afraid! So I'll start catching up with your most recent post.
    What a great find! I love the design, with the wide and narrow window panes in the sides. I wouldn't go for all white - I think I'd go for some stained wood, some white - and maybe some wallpaper, or the sisal which looks really good. The contrast between white dark stained wood in the wall and beams is what I particularly love in my Bodo Hennig Bodensee - and remember from my own childhood house. I remember seeing A frames near a beach we went to in the early 70s, but only from the outside, never the inside! The furniture you've put in it looks great!
    I wonder if this kit could have been sold through magazines like Popular Mechanics and so on? As well as plans, they did have ads for kits to make up - I don't think I've seen an A frame house, but I'm not really sure. Might be worth checking out - or maybe someone will list a vintage ad or plans for this house!

  14. Hi Rebecca! As much as I love a modern white, I do not think I can take the 100% plunge with this house. Like you, I think a darker stain and sisal might be the way to go. I went back to look again at your Bodensee and it is so lovely...I don't think I can replicate that here. I have continued doing searches, and Popular Mechanics is a great idea. It would be wonderful to see how it was intended to look!

  15. Hi !
    I usually lurk, so I am not sure if you'd like my opinion or not, but I adore this chalet! I work in 1:6 scale, but miniature just the same.
    I'd love to see this chalet with a clear gloss on the inside, so that there is a sheen, but the natural wood still shows through. Color can certainly be brought in with the fabrics on your furniture, rugs and wall art. This would give the chalet a fabulous 60's vibe!
    Maryann :)

  16. Hi maryannroy! Lurk away, don't mind a bit, but I do love to hear comments/insights from my readers. I love your idea, and I think I might be leaning in that direction. I just need to get schooled in glosses and stains! By the way, I know and admire your wonderful work -- truly stunning! Makes me wish you worked in 1:12 ;)

  17. Oh! Call Small! This house was on ebay in kit form back in January, I believe. I had saved the images but had a computer crash earlier this summer. Darn! I know it was the same one.

  18. I came to your post from Oese's site.. I'm not sure how I even missed this post!

    But congrats on the great find. A-frame homes are my favorite. And I agree with some of the commenters here.. it would look best with the natural wood! Can't wait to see what you do with it...

  19. Hey, MC! Really??? Maybe I should try an eBay search to see if I can turn up the listing, but I don't think they go back that far...I will keep doing some web searching. Please let me know if you recall any other details. Thanks!!

  20. Hi Ann! Yup, I am definitely leaning to the wood approach. I also want to try to re-do the missing windows, since I have some sheets of acetate I can use. Unless I can get some neat colorful plexi... :)

  21. Hi, saw it on Etsy, glad it ended up with you!! I saw you in NJ Design Event and know you will do it justice. Etsy has been a good source for furniture too.

  22. Hi jiridescence! Cool! You saw it on Etsy too! I like looking there for furniture and other mini finds as well. Thanks again for coming to my event -- I appreciate your kind words.


  23. We have this "real sized" house. It was a kit from the lumber
    yard in 1964. It sits on waterfront property in Washington
    state and next year we will apply for a historic places designation. It's so iconic and worth saving.

    1. How wonderful! Sounds beautiful and definitely worthy of saving and preserving.

  24. Talk about A frame dollhouses I have 7 Fischer Price #990 A Frames frm re 1974 or so. 2 a frame vacation homes frm Playmobile an one Egyptian pyramid Carole MAtthews frm Pompano Beach Fla

  25. I had this kit, I got it for my 10th Xmas present.I was done with playing with dolls ,but enjoyed building it.It had a separate modern looking got smashed by my brother's friend,but i had saved the fireplace.I could cry just looking at it. just as i remembered it.I didn't paint it,just kept raw finish.I did see a kit in box on ebay(i think),for like 150.00.