Monday, August 17, 2015

A Rich Toys house to benefit an Empty Bowls food drive

Most often it is difficult for a dollhouse collector to part with one of her little houses....that certainly applies to me.  I would much rather give one of my houses to a good home than sell it. So when my sister-in-law Cindy reminded me about the Empty Bowls Food Pantry Drive she co-chairs each year, I asked if she would like to have a dollhouse donated for the silent auction. She said yes! Donating to a worthy cause is as good as giving to a good home. J
After a bit of contemplation, I decided to donate the very first dollhouse I purchased in 2005....a 75 year old Rich Toys house.
It was in rather sad condition and desperately in need of a restoration....especially since I've had it for 10 years and done nothing with it.

 This is the house as it appeared in a Rich Toys catalog in 1940.
 So I got busy...and now it is much more presentable!

 I added a base for support, made window inserts, and added some touch-up paint to the roof. Because I prefer to keep my little houses as original as possible, I didn't attempt to touch up other areas on the exterior. I then added a replacement lamp made by JoAnn Belanger. JoAnn makes replacement parts for Rich Toys and Keystone of Boston vintage dollhouses. (contact email on request)

Then I tackled the interior.....

This little house had gone thru a major renovation with a previous owner, ...wallpaper was added (using Elmer's glue I think), wood flooring strips were glued in and had warped, the carpet was glued down,  and the  house was partially glued together so I wasn't able to take it apart when refurbishing the floors remain warped.  It's always much easier to restore a house when it can be taken apart. I added  windows, but later realized they were the wrong style.
And now it looks like this.....................

 I repainted the ceilings and added fresh wall paper and floor paper. I also added a partition on the top floor to create a small bathroom....owner's prerogative!

The furniture in this little house was made by  Strombecker from 1934-1942 , exception.. ..the fireplace and coffee table are Nancy Forbes, circa 1940. I repainted most of the furniture the same color, as 75 years worth of sticky little fingers does not clean off. The kitchen table, chairs and hutch came to me painted a dark brown, but red is a much happier color!

I love this bright and cheery kitchen and  plan to use this wallpaper of red and blue geraniums and the blue checkerboard tile in another little house. The art deco hutch was missing the side pieces which enclosed the shelves, but I like it open showing off the blue graniteware dishes.

I think the living room is typical of a living room of the 1940s...a radio but no TV...oops, the telephone should be black not beige....antimacassars on the back of the sofa and chairs. Antimacassar....a small covering placed on the backs and arms of upholstered furniture to prevent wear or soiling....named after "macassar oil" that men used on their hair at the turn of the 20th century....thank you Jamie Vance for that information!


 Ok, so the ottoman was originally yellow and I painted it to match the chairs. I also added herringbone patterned brick paper to the fireplace and filled it with logs from one of my crape myrtle trees. I love this wallpaper. 

 Notice how wide the front door is? It was still attached after 75 years, which is rare.  If you look at the picture of the front of the house, you might notice that the door is off-printed. Other models I have seen of this house have the same flaw in design. The plant is a modern creation from "suebeesminatures" on ebay.

I like my Home Sweet Home sampler too....wonder how many homes still display one in the 21st century?

The main shades of pale blue and pink. I took the liberty of painting the Strombecker lamp to match the rest of the décor.

A single bed....hmmnn.

I think the wallpaper is perfect for the 1940s era.

I added the bathroom in part of the space of the oversized bedroom. Many of my friends who are addicted to collecting vintage dollhouses are often in a quandary as to whether they should have a bedroom and a nursery/child's room or a bedroom and a bathroom. This is how we often solve that problem! The partition was made from a discarded wall from a Keystone of Boston house I it is the same age as the rest of the house. The fluffy bath rug is from a jewelry/bead craft mat I purchased at a resell shop; the towel and bath cloth are from a baby washcloth.

I added the spigots and faucets to the sink and bathtub....finishing nails and small brads from much for keeping things original. J


A room for two little girls.....
The wallpaper is Bodo Hennig...made for their modern 1970s era German houses.

The art deco beds by Strombecker called for some art deco prints in coordinating colors!

The chest is a buffet from the 1938 Strombecker art deco dining set.

The auction this Rich Toys dollhouse will be a part of is to benefit the
Brazosport Cares Food Pantry
 that serves the Lake Jackson, Clute and Freeport, Texas area,
to be held on September 12-13
at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Lake Jackson, Texas

See the brochures below or visit their website
at for more information.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

An ART DECO birthday house!

This is a Built-Rite doll house made by Warren Paper Products  in 1940. This art deco style cardboard house came to me new in the box...amazing that it had to wait 75 years to be played with!

This house was a birthday present to myself this year. I use that excuse every May to add another house to my collection. Like I need an excuse. I have been collecting dollhouses since 2005,  and my first birthday house was the same model Keystone Tudor I had as a child!  Ok, so I also got a Lundby Stockholm dollhouse for that same birthday....sometimes that happens...and sometimes I have several birthdays a year....

I love the look of the "glass blocks" surrounding the front door....

...and the patio with awning and flower boxes.

 The house is open in the back, and the base, with grass and carpet, is the bottom of the merchandising box.  

Most of the age appropriate furniture I have was much too large for the house,
so I made index paper furniture 
from some of the many patterns I have collected. 

Because the interior of the house was plain, I decided to copy 
the exterior doors and windows making changes to them
 to give the effect of being seen from the inside. 
This is the living room...

... the kitchen...

...bedroom wall facing the patio...

...and the bedroom.

Some of the furniture was easy to make....

 ...other pieces I made several times to get them the size I wanted. 
Notice the levitating pillow? 

I had several different pieces in the living room before I settled on these.

The LARGE radio was the last piece I it stayed too large.

The stove was the hardest piece to construct, 
and yes I made it more than once.

Oh, it looks like our homeowner, Pauline Bachmeier, is napping on her patio.

Living room furniture...I did a cut and paste of 2 chair images 
to make the sofa....because I simply cannot do Photoshop!
 The radio and grandfather clock were constructed from google images.

Bedroom furniture...I love the art deco vanity. The bedside tables were made 
by enlarging the pattern of the vanity side tables.

Kitchen...all the pieces are from the same set. I added legs to the sink 
and a second top to the table so the table extensions could be open.

Patio furniture....the chair and stool were made by altering the chaise pattern. So was the flower box. Don't even ask. 

 Oh, it looks to be getting dark. Wonder if I should wake Pauline? 

The patterns I used were found on Pinterest, Google images and Ebay. 
Most of the ones I used are below.

I reduced the buffet pattern and used the piece in the living room 
between the 2 chairs.

This is the pattern for the chairs and the sofa, the back of the chair and the top and bottom of the round end table I did not make. 

The fantastic vanity! I think I found this on Pinterest
...but "le divan" was not available.

 I used the cabinet pattern for the living room side table
....changing the color to yellow. 

The bed came from a different set of patterns
....and the levitating pillow from a third set! 

I made all four of these pieces, adding a round top on the fridge by using a copy of the grill on the bottom. I also added an extra square top from the table pattern to show the extensions being used. 

I am so happy to finally have an art deco house!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Last call for Rich Toys dollhouses....

Two years ago I shared with you that 3 avid collectors of vintage dollhouses were collaborating on a book about Rich Manufacturing Co. dollhouses and other buildings they produced.  Patty, JoAnn and Rita have been successful in tracking down more than 100 variations of the models Rich Toys made between 1935 and 1961; however, there are still several houses that have appeared in catalogs or have been seen on auction sites they would like to include in their book.

Please  view the pictures and descriptions below, and if you have one, know someone who has one, or have seen one in an antique shop or museum, please contact Patty at or JoAnn at with the information.

Rich model #589...according to the 1940 Rich catalog, this was believed to be "the largest stock doll house on the market" at 38¾”  long.


Rich made a columned version of this brick house, but so far a non-columned example like the one shown in this 1958 advertisement hasn't been found.

This wonderful Tudor house, in shades of pale yellow and brown, has a single large gable in the front, flower boxes under the windows, and diamond shapes in the shutters. Several models with variations have been found, but not this one with the chimney stack moved to the right side of the house.

This early Tudor has "parentheses" around the door with wavy horizontal lines above. It's a smaller version in the same design series of the one listed above. Carol Morehead, on her My Realitty blog, has one pictured with shingles added, but so far the authors have been unable to contact her.


Rich model # 582.....this small Southern Colonial has a real metal balcony and four windows on the front. A very similar model with a front facing gable was found, but not this one with the straight balustrade. It is 27" wide.


The Morrison Historical Society provided this image from their files on Rich Industries. It may have been made around 1961 and was over 33" wide. Unlike the earlier big Southern Colonials, the columns on this one are squared.

If you can help in locating any of these wonderful vintage Rich Toys dollhouses, Patty or JoAnn  would be delighted to hear from you.  In the last few months, through playing "six degrees of separation" between buyers, sellers, and surfers on eBay, 2 wonderful models have been located....

Thank you Tracy and Sandy!

This wonderful 1930s Rich house was located when Janet contacted me through this blog. It was her childhood dollhouse and she is in the process of refurbishing it for her little granddaughter!

 Keep Looking!