Sunday, November 1, 2015

A Rich Toys bargain house from Craig's List !

I found this Rich Toys dollhouse on Craig's List a couple of years ago....$45 !
As you can see, it came with one window, no porch pediment, and a stained roof.

The interior was all original but it was missing the stairs.
I tried larger Strombecker furniture inside.

I was fascinated with the swing up-and-over garage door....still in working condition!

 I removed the interior walls and floor and discovered how warped the lower floor was.
I also "borrowed" a staircase from another Rich house from the same era.

I added the black L-shaped brackets to help level the warped floor. These brackets are from a 1960s Brumberger house and just the right size if you need to match original pre-drilled holes from missing brackets.

Here is the mechanism that works the garage door. Because I had to remove it to paint the interior, I took pics so I could remember how it was attached.

I had the bright idea to paint the interior before I returned the walls and floor to the house. Not so good an idea because when I started decorating, none of the colors coordinated with the fabric and furniture I was using.  Deciding to do that was a real senior moment. 

I  placed the stairs using the same screw holes on the exterior of the house....assuming the stairs would be in the correct position. Not so, as I ended up making a landing so they would reach the floor.  Senior moment #2.


When I purchased the house, I wasn't worried about the missing pediment....until I researched and found it would be more difficult to make than I thought. But it WAS a bargain house.

No longer having a router,  I ended up making it in layers and trying to sand it smooth. Senior moment #3....thinking I could do that. I couldn't have done it with a router either.

But it turned out ok....once it was attached to the house.  

Then I started on recreating the missing windows.   This is the method I use to make replacement windows. The original window insert on the left is for one of the upper swing outs. First step is to copy it.  

I tape transparent plastic over the copy, then use mapping tape to copy the design.  The whiteness of the mapping tape is bright, so to give them a vintage look to match the house, I paint the tape. Because the paint has  a tendency to peel , I place strips of mapping tape on a plastic sheet, paint them ivory, then run an exacto blade along the edges of the tape which allows me  to remove the strips from the plastic without the paint peeling off.
I place all the strips running in same direction first...

Then add the layer in the opposite direction.

If your house calls for black diamond panes you can use a permanent marker to create the lines for your windows....much easier!  The easiest way of all is to have JoAnn Belanger  silk-screen some for you. JoAnn makes many different replacement parts for Rich Toy and Keystone of Boston houses. Email her at .


 I used a thin brown paint and water wash on the roof to minimize the stained areas.
Because the house was wonky, I attached it to a support board.

                 Now a little Caco family of four lives here with room for nana and granddad!

              I totally over decorated this large Rich I am sharing a lot of pictures.
                                  I promise not to over decorate again...EVER!!

In the living room we find the cat trapping the fluffy little dog on the stairs, and dad, still in his
suit, catching a few ZZZzzz's.

There was an earthquake earlier and the mirror is katty-wampus....ok, actually it was just the dollhouse lady trying to move this big house.  Sofa is from Japan....tables are  Strombecker.

ZZZZZZZzzzzzz!  I notice dad went to work without socks again today.
To the left of the living room is the kitchen, and here we find mom sitting at the table with her cook book thinking about what she will prepare for the evening meal.

Wait! That's a rather dreamy look on her face.....I think she just might be fantasizing about the milkman!

I am beginning to think this family will not be fed on time this evening!
The appliances and table are often attributed to Lynnfield Blockhouse.  The high-chair is by Kilgore.


Right off the kitchen is the bathroom. How appropriate.

I'm hoping that rubber ducky belongs to the small boy and not to granddad.
The sink and tub or 1" scale Strombecker. The maker of the commode is unknown, but may have been sold at Marshall Fields and other hi-end stores.

Rich may have designed this small area to be used as a back porch since it is off the kitchen, backs up to the garage and has a step down coming out of the kitchen. I chose to have 3 bedrooms and make this area the bathroom....and it was the perfect size! 

 At the top of the stairs is the nursery....shared by a cute little boy who loves his nana and his sweet baby sister.

 This is nana's favorite place to a comfy chair watching her little grandchildren play.

Oops! Looks like baby sister has tossed her bottle out of her crib to get nana's attention! The picture over her crib is from my favorite childhood nursery rhyme book.

Next to the nursery is the parent's bedroom....not a master, no en suite, twin beds....and nana and granddad have to walk thru to get to their bedroom.

The bedroom furniture was made by Strombecker.

Earthquake excuse again for the falling picture.  The colorful vintage  mattresses were found on ebay....I cut material from the backside to make the matching curtains.

And here is the sanctuary for nana and granddad. Granddad is often found here taking little power naps.

More furniture made by Strombecker.... son.

Almost forgot......

.....the MAN CAVE!

Rich Toys made at least two models of this dollhouse they referred to as the Suburban...

 this one with a bay window and no gargage...
and the model I have....with a garage and no bay window!

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.