My Vintage Dollhouses

Schoenhut Beverly Hills 1939

Sunday, September 17, 2017

FOR SALE!: Villa Hogarin dollhouse and contents...

This modern little house is a Villa Hogarin dollhouse produced in Spain in the late 60s to early 70s. It is the childhood dollhouse of Bettina, whose father purchased it for her when she was growing up in Germany. Now Bettina is ready for another child to be able to enjoy it as much as she did. 

This house is on a platform that measures 29½wide by 21" deep. The house stands 13" tall at the peak of the roof. It contains 4 rooms and a side patio with steps leading down to the "yard". 

The rooms on this back side of the house are not as large as the 2 rooms on the front of the house.  Potted plants decorate the low wall of the patio....Bettina must have a green thumb!

This side gives a better view of the patio and the very attractive patio furniture.

The fourth side of this little house is without windows.

Here is the sweet little family that has lived in Villa Hogarin since Bettina was a young girl.

All the original furniture is included with the house and family. 
I see...the 3 piece patio set, a lavender bathroom set, a red dining room table with 4 chairs and white buffet, a bed and wardrobe, a vanity and bedside table, a kitchen table and chair along with a stove and cabinets AND pots pans and utensils, a TV, and a transformer and ceiling lights! Bettina told me not all the furniture is perfect but it certainly looks to be enough to furnish this little house.

If anyone is interested in making this wonderful Spanish Villa Hogarin their own, please contact Bettina at .

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The House of Two Sisters

This is the house of two sisters. This house was built by Keystone of Boston in the mid 1930s, and has been the home of Margarita and Daquiri Boozer since childhood.  Their parents purchased it in 1935 when the girls were 3 and 4 years of age. The Boozers brought all their Schoenhut furniture, even the bath fixtures and kitchen appliances, with them. 

Even though Margarita is a bit older than Daquiri, their mother always dressed them alike. They continue that trend even today....and giggle when people ask them if they are twins.

The house originally had four rooms, but with two girls needing their own space, the Boozer parents converted it to a 6 room house. To see the house with original interior walls, go to Myrtle Mayhem's blog Dollhouse Shenanigans

Here we see Margarita and Daquiri reaching for breakfast.

Daquiri's favorite past time is sitting in her comfy chair with a good book. She doesn't read it, she just sits there with it.

Margarita's favorite past time is gazing at herself in the mirror.

One night around midnight, Margarita and her BFF Johnnie Walker decided they were tired of lilac fixtures in the bathroom and painted them all a light mustard color. 

Not to be outdone, Daquiri's BFF Jim Beam, convinced her they should paint the green kitchen sink a lovely shade of white.

Margarita and Daquiri swear that a Grey Goose suggested they paint the maroon sofa and chairs a light cranberry.

Not sure if that is Margarita or Daiquiri going for a tall cool one. 

The girls have left the dining room virtually unscathed....only because Mama Boozer and her good friend Chivas Regal decided one night it should be a flat brown without a varnish finish. 

So we leave Margarita and Daquiri Boozer, enjoying each other's company and holding tight to their BFFs, listening to music on Papa Boozer's vintage radio.

This is how the little house looked when I found it in 2013...missing windows and door, interior walls, stained by dampness, and absolutely filthy. There was a similar but larger dollhouse in the 1938 Keystone catalog, I copied the diamond-paned windows from it. The door in the catalog picture couldn't be seen, so it has a design composite of Tudor doors from other houses. There was no indication that this house had a door surround. To help anchor the door and cover some of the stain that couldn't be removed, I made a door surround by copying the timbers on the upper floor. Mr. Clean scrubbies helped clean the grime left from 80 years of play. And a fresh coat of paint on the steps finished the exterior. 

I think the dolls are small Caco dolls made in the late 1940s. I haven't been able to verify that.

I had a collection of repainted Schoenhut furniture I wanted to use in this house, but I needed 6 rooms. I figured if I was using bastardized furniture I might as well bastardize the interior of the house and give it 6 rooms. And this is the result.

Almost all the furniture is Schoenhut, made from 1928-1934. Patty Cooper has published a wonderful book detailing the furniture Schoenhut made during this period. It can be found here at the Blurb Bookstore.

Exceptions to the Schoenhut furniture are the refrigerator, which is a metal bank with a GE emblem, and the radio of unknown origin. Kage products include the curved floor lamps by the girl's chairs and the pink wing chair in Daquiri's room (yes I painted it). Dolly Dear bedside table lamps are in each bedroom. Strombeker made the trash can in the kitchen, the scale in the bath, and the lamps on the vanity in Daquiri's room. Both beds were missing the original paper covers, I gave them similar covers of fabric. I painted the chair in Margarita's room a matching blue and gave it feet, and I constructed her vanity out of 2 drawers from a Schoenhut dresser and added the end pieces made from the shelves of a Strombecker tea cart. This is what one goes thru when one collects these wonderful old houses and dollhouse furniture, not caring if they are in pristine condition! For me, half the fun of collecting vintage dollhouses is in refurbishing them.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

My 37th Keystone of Boston dollhouse....

Yes, once again I was unable to pass up a Keystone of Boston dollhouse that I didn't have in my collection....mainly because the price was right and the pretty blue shutters and roof called out to me. It is in fairly good shape for a dollhouse made around 1946-47. 

I borrowed the front door and chimney from another house when I photographed those will need to be made. The stone graphics on the Keystone chimneys are usually grey, but I made that one to match the base on another dollhouse....and it looks like I will be making another brown chimney.  And this house might end up with a pretty blue door to match the shutters.

This little dollhouse has 4 rooms and no stairs. So, will it have two bedrooms and no bath, bath and 1 bedroom, or will I make a partition in one of the upstairs rooms to include a small bath? Paint or wallpaper? What brand of furniture from the 40s will I use? All the questions a dollhouse owner ponders when she gets a "new" little house. But since it's in good shape the refurbish should go quicker than most. I hope!

I have two other dollhouses that are similar in design and size. The house with the aqua roof and shutters has the same interior as my new house. 

The house with the red roof and shutters has 6 room, stairs and a closet. Both of the other houses are 26" wide while my new house is only 25" wide.

The graphics on these two houses are the same with the exception of the shutters/flowers in flower boxes being red on one and aqua on the other. The portico on both older houses are matching with a smaller portico on the newer dollhouse. 

In addition to the smaller portico on my newest house, Keystone added the delicate vines with blue flowers around the portico. One of the reasons I wanted to add this little house to my collection. 

So now I have 37 different models of Keystone of Boston houses....but there are more I would love to add to my collection!  

First and foremost is this house I have never seen an actual photo of....only this catalog picture I found in a 1951 Union catalog publication.
It was described as a six room dollhouse with the interiors, exteriors and floors decorated in many colors with large picture windows, a staircase and recessed entrance. More information about it in this blog post.

 Ok, if you have it and don't want to part with it, I might settle for an actual picture of it! 

Next comes this great house belonging to my friend Geraldine, editor of Dollhouse Toys n' Us .

I am not sure of the production date, but it is pictured in the Keystone Toy catalog of 1938-39. It has the unusual hip roof design of an older house ...#6 on my Keystone list of houses. Plus, it is the only Keystone I have seen with a side chimney and a cupola. 

This is the house as it appeared in the 1938-39 catalog. It is possible Keystone also produced this house with white shutters and cornerstones. 
I will take either!

Third on my list is this wonderful old dollhouse from the mid 1930s. Wonderful story behind these pictures.....they were shared by a very nice lady whose mother received this house as a child. Mom was turning 90 and her family was featuring her dollhouse with the original furniture at her celebration. This daughter told me she was able to identify the house when reading my blog. I told her I would like to have a chimney made by the Belingers and gift it to her mother for her birthday. 

Problem is I have lost her email address and never knew her mailing address!  So, if this very nice lady who shared these pictures with me is reading this blog, please contact me at so I can get the chimney to her. Mea culpa! 

This dollhouse looks like it might be a larger version of my Keystone house #33, which I am currently working on. 

The house as it appeared in the Keystone Toy catalog of 1937-38, listed as #1281.

Number 4 on my "want" list is this 1950 era house with yellow shutters.

In my early years of collecting, I passed up this house many times thinking I didn't need every Keystone. But it is such an attractive house I would love to add it to my collection. And because I am obsessed with Keystone houses!

There are 2 other Keystones I have seen only in catalog pictures, but that doesn't keep me from being interested in them!

Keystone model #1271 from the 1938-39 catalog. Referred to as a colonial design, this is the only Keystone house I have seen with brick graphics. It had 4 rooms and 5 French two of the windows were on the side of the house. Catalog does not mention colors on the house.

Keystone model #1232 appeared in their toy catalog of 1942-43. Described having four rooms and a blue roof with red shutters, it is very similar to my Keystone house #13.  The graphics are different from my house and the door opens on the right side of the front instead of the left like mine.

So collectors, if you are wanting to part with one of these featured houses...please contact me at! 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

New ETSY shop: reproduction parts for Keystone and Rich dollhouses!

lantern for a Keystone house

A great new shop opened on ETSY for dollhouse enthusiasts needing reproduction replacements for missing parts on their Rich Toys and Keystone of Boston vintage dollhouses. The proprietress is JoAnn Belanger, who for several years has made these parts available to friends and associates. How wonderful that now everyone can have access to the parts needed to complete that treasured vintage dollhouse! 

Here is a note from JoAnn telling about her shop:

"Finding and restoring vintage dollhouses, especially Rich Toy Co. and Keystone of Boston dollhouses, has become a retirement hobby for my husband and me. As we restore the dollhouses in my collection, we make duplicates of parts we needed which we then make available to other dollhouse collectors.  

I recently opened an ETSY shop to market the parts I now have available.  We have recreated windows, doors, stoops, chimneys, etc., in as authentic a look as possible. We work with wood, molding materials, resin for casting parts, silk screening, and sewing materials.The parts are representative of the originals as verified in the Dian Zillner books and the Rich Toy Co. Dollhouse book.    

 Please visit my ETSY shop, “Dollhouse Wonders” or search by my name, JoAnn Belanger.  I continue to add items to my ETSY shop as I have time. You may also contact me by email at  
I always appreciate connecting with other dollhouse enthusiasts.

Here are pictures of some of the items created by JoAnn and Don that came to complete my vintage dollhouses...

front door for a Keystone house

resin window for the newer Keystone houses
(these are wonderful!)

fence post topper for a Rich house 
(original on left, JoAnn's on the two right)

lantern on a 30's era Rich house

front door on a 30's era Rich house.
you can see an original door on the picture above.
(I added the green paint but JoAnn said she would have done that for me!)
JoAnn also makes the flower pots!

chimney on a 30's era Keystone house
(sorry Don, I haven't gotten around to painting it)

chimney toppers on a 30's era Rich dollhouse
(these are so often missing)

one of JoAnn's wonderful replacement windows 
for a 30's era Rich house
(these come in many sizes)

The Keystone lantern at the top of this post is also one of JoAnn's products....and her replacement reproductions are reasonably priced!

Visit her shop! If you don't find what you need, do contact her at it might be in production.

I feel so lucky to have found two artists who are willing to share their wonderful vintage dollhouse creations!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

NEW: The Compete Guide to StromBecKer Dollhouses & Furniture 1931-1961

Strombecker Dollhouses & Furniture 1931-1961 is a complete guide to all of the dollhouse items produced by one of the most prolific and long-lived toy makers in America. It documents the changes over three decades from the first furniture introduced in the Great Depression through Art Deco influenced styles to Mid-Century Modern pieces sold with contemporary dollhouses. There are 158 pages with more than 360 photos including boxed sets, catalog pages, and advertisements. 
Patty Cooper is the author of several books on collecting dollhouses and George Mundorf writes a regular column for the Dollhouse Toys 'n' Us Newsletter. This is the third book in a new series of comprehensive guides to American dollhouse and dollhouse furniture companies. 
Future books are planned on Bliss, Converse, De Luxe, and Art Deco Furniture. Schoenhut Dollhouse Furniture 1928-1934, Kage Dollhouse Furniture 1938-1948, and Rich Toys Dollhouses 1935-1962 are already available. Books can be purchased directly through the Blurb bookstore.
Or, to purchase a book, make a suggestion, or provide photos for future books, please send an email to Patty Cooper at .

Patty Cooper and George Mundorf have done it again!  By that I mean they have produced another wonderful book on vintage dollhouse furniture that so many of us collect and love. This book has the answers to everything you've ever wanted to know or wondered about Strombecker dollhouses and dollhouse furniture...from the early productions in 1931 to the last of the line productions in 1961. Divided into four sections, pictures of actual Strombecker furniture and copies of vintage advertisements show us the wonderful line of furniture in the two different scales that were produced from each decade.

If you are a collector of vintage dollhouses and the same era furniture produced for these dollhouses, this book is a must have!  Warning:  you will want one of every item of furniture shown in this outstanding book! 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Schoenhut Malibu and its Twin House: a tale of two Art Deco dollhouses

This is a guest post from my friend George Mundorf whose large dollhouse collection includes many wonderful art deco dollhouses. This is his Malibu art deco house built by Schoenhut in the late 1930s...but wait, he has another house almost exactly like this one. I will let George tell you the story of his two houses.... 

It was on a dark and stormy night...well, no. Actually it was on a sunny, summer afternoon in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, that I stumbled upon an Art Deco dollhouse in the basement of an antique shop. At the time I knew nothing about dollhouses, much less the Schoenhut company, but I was intrigued with Art Deco architecture and knew the actuality of owning a real Deco house was not in the cards, but a miniature one...?

Why not?

It was not in the greatest shape. A couple of windows – wooden surrounds included – were missing, as well as most of the celluloid “glass”. I got it home to Manhattan, and spent a lot of my spare time building the window sills (a series of flat pieces of wood put together with slits to hold the plastic “glass” and to fit on top of, and below, the Masonite wood walls), and had the windows replaced.

The celluloid “glass” have brown partitions and blue blinds printed on. I don't remember if I had them professionally made or did it myself with model tape on clear plastic. They came out so well, I tend to think I had them done, but can't remember.



I later found out that my house was a very hard-to-find Schoenhut dollhouse. It is a creamy yellow with orange trim and a blue and orange striped awning over the second story patio which, fortunately, was still attached to the house. 

There is a bow window with orange roof and that luckily was in perfect shape. The bow window has blue drapes printed on the “glass”. 

Also still intact, were metal grid-like doors (front and patio), also in orange. 

 Front door

Patio door

The orange color paint was surprisingly easy to match for the windows. The dowels holding up the awning were missing but that was an easy fix. Inside, the house is not very detailed, though the walls on the bottom floor are yellow and the second floor is in blue.

 The house is electrified, and the light bulbs in the center of every one of the five rooms have surrounds which are white. All electric wires are hidden within the individual floors themselves, so are not visible. 

The kitchen in the separate wing, has, along the top and bottom of the right wall (from the back), two strips of wood, painted white. Illustrated in black, the boards have four pair of inoperative cabinet doors (two on top, two on bottom) and two burners for a stove and small (perfectly flat) sink. You have to provide your own refrigerator. 

There are two arched doorways – no doors – between the rooms and a squared off door leading into the kitchen wing. 

The floors are brown, the color, I believe of the original Masonite. The house is on a green textured base which is trimmed in green painted wood.

right side of house

Schoenhut made three Art Deco dollhouses in 1937. My house was the mid-priced “Malibu”. The most expensive (and very impressive) house was the “Beverly Hills” and the least expensive was the “Long Beach.” While the Beverly Hills is extremely rare, ironically the cheapest one is rarer still. No one I know has ever seen one in person.

The rarity of the Schoenhut Deco houses – and really, all Deco houses made by other manufacturer's (for example Rich Toys, Tri-Ang, J.J. Anthony, Built-Rite) – might be accounted for by the Depression and the extreme nature of the design. Little girls may not have wanted to receive, nor play with, such an odd, untraditional house. Then, as now, other designs – Colonial, Plantation, Tudor – were more acceptable. Art Deco houses weren't common in real life either!

Without going into too much detail, Art Deco started out as a highly decorated, and expensive style made for the rich and truly Avant-Garde. Buildings were of the skyscraper type, with minarets and bold facades with stair-step levels. Real Deco houses from this period are so rare as to be non-existent.

With the coming of the Depression, the design took a non-decorative, simpler, streamlined approach which was easily massed-produced and inexpensive. Manufactures of practically everything could produce new and seemingly up-to-the-minute products by eliminating costly decoration. It is this period, from about 1930 to 1940, that the Art Deco (also called “Moderne”) architecture affecting real homes and the subsequent dollhouses that is relevant to the Schoenhut dollhouse.

What makes a dollhouse “Deco”? First of all, it must have a flat roof. I can't conceive of a Deco dollhouse with anything but a flat roof, but a flat roof alone does not make an Art Deco dollhouse – a fact not acknowledged by many eBay sellers. {And remember, Art Deco is not Art Nouveau!}

The Schoenhut house has the following Deco characteristics:

1. Simple geometric shapes. In this case, the house appears like two boxes, one square and one rectangular, put together. There are no towers, dormers, wrap-around front porches, cone-shaped roofs.

2. There is little decoration. There are no shutters, window boxes, attached to the wall sundials, half-timbers, gingerbread. This is one serious house!

3. There is a second story patio.

4. The emphasis is on the horizontal – note the extra long windows. No Gothic and Victorian “reaching for the heavens.” The earlier deco skyscraper vertical influences are now in the past.

5. The color scheme: blue and orange is hardly traditional for a house – but the World's Fair of 1939 used those same colors as part of its design. We tend to think of Art Deco in terms of white and pastels. Not necessarily true – a very Deco house in Florida was navy blue.

6. The use of Venetian Blinds as a visual design element. The blinds emphasize the horizontal and also are reminders of “speed lines”. (Think of a cartoon speeding car with the lines trailing the car indicating speed – another Deco characteristic).

Interior lighting

Other Deco architectural detail found on other dollhouses from this period are circular windows, an exterior staircase, a series of parallel horizontal lines (those “race” lines yet again!) used somewhere on the house, “eyebrows” over windows or doors (little, basically useless shelf-like protrusions), glass brick, and windows meeting at the corners of the house.

So I was very content with my Malibu – and then my Beverly Hills – Deco Schoenhut houses, always keeping an eye open for the elusive Long Beach. That is, until I stumbled onto a dollhouse on eBay that was a twin – well almost – to my first Deco Schoenhut.

It had the same colors, same shape, same windows with painted blinds, same base, same patio, same configuration – little window by the front door, bow window at one end of the house …but wait, something was strange. It was bigger. There was an extra window on the second floor, it had no strange little chimney poking up one side of the roof, there was no awning (and apparently never had one), and most glaringly, the doors were different. Unlike the Malibu, which has a Schoenhut label in the middle of the rear base surround, this house is unmarked.

same patio, different door
and no awning
 different front door
three windows instead of two

But money was low that month – for me, not an unusual event – and my dollhouse cohort, Patty Cooper, after some discussion, bought it. Out of sight, out of mind and I knew I could always get my secondhand pleasure discussing the house with Patty. Years passed and another one showed up on eBay – and yes, I snapped it up.

This house, too, had problems – the same problems as the other house, I might add. The “glass” was missing from most of the windows, as were about six window sills. Worse, the front door was missing. But now I had Patty's door to use as a model as it is completely different from the Malibu. A friend made all the sills, another made the “glass” and front door. The house is now restored. Well, almost.

upper level interior doors 
lower level interior doors

The house is electrified too – 

-but differently from the Malibu. The wires are tucked in the back interior of the house, hidden behind the over-hanging “borders” of each floor's ceiling and would be invisible to the viewer. 

The lights – which seem original, and Patty's are the same – are colored Christmas tree lights which is strange as it would shine a different colored hue over each room. I will not try to replace the ragged wiring.

Now for particulars:

MALIBU                                                               TWIN HOUSE
29¼” W  x  14½” D  x  15½ H
(the chimney would add 1½” more to the height)

33” W  x  14¼” D  x 17” H

Front Door:
 Front Door:
Orange metal grid with no “glass” behind openings. On right of house.

White door with brown articulated vertical lines indicating wooden planks and illustrated (solid, no glass) windows on the diagonal. The door is rather Colonial in style rather than Art Deco. On left side of house.

Patio Door:
 Patio Door:
Orange metal grid with no “glass” behind openings.

White Dutch door more suitable for a Ranch house than an Art Deco.  The windows are drawn on; 3 rows of 3 black squares. The door opens but not like  a true Dutch door.



Two on second floor.  Small window by door is 2” x 3”.

Three on second floor. Small window by door is 2½” x  3¼” – noticeably larger.

Brown. The roof and the second floor ceiling are hollow in places to accommodate  electric wires. The roof is totally surrounded by a low wall.

White. Not having to have wires within, the roof and second floor are solid, substantial and noticeably heavier. The roof only has a low wall on three sides.

Brown Masonite

Stained plywood

Three on bottom floor. Two on top floor.

Three on bottom floor. Three on top floor.

Yellow painted walls on bottom floor. Blue painted walls on top floor. Arched doorways between main house rooms. Squared off door into kitchen. Electric wires hidden within roof and second floor ceiling.

Yellow painted walls on bottom floor. Blue painted walls on top floor. All doorways are squared off except one arched on the main floor in the middle of the house. Electric wires exposed but shielded by wooden trim.

Parallel white boards along top and bottom of right wall,  printed with 4 pair of cabinet doors, plus a 2 burner stove and small flat sink.

No cabinets or appliances provided.

The twin house was shown in an ad put out by FAO Schwarz, a major toy store headquartered in New York City. (FYI: the flagship store on 5th Avenue is now closed.) I don't know if the ad came from a catalog, a trade publication or another source. It is called a "Modern Dollhouse."

But here's the mystery:  It seems apparent that Schoenhut made the Twin House--but maybe not. Did FAO Schwarz want a dollhouse that it could offer as an "exclusive" ("Only at FAO Schwarz!") and have Schoenhut make the house for them? Did Schoenhut take on private commissions? Or did FAO Schwarz have it copied from the Schoenhut house with just enough differences to avoid a law suit? The Art Deco dollhouse world wants to know!

                                                                                            ....George Mundorf

Post Script:   Thank you, George, for allowing me to post this on my blog and share the wonderful information with readers. 

 I knew about the Schoenhut Malibu dollhouse from seeing pictures of it on Ebay, in my copy of a 1937 FAO Schwarz Christmas catalog,  and in Dian Zillner's American Dollhouses and Furniture From the 20th Century, page 25;   but, until talking with George, I did not realize there was a Malibu "twin house". 

Patty Cooper has shared more information about the Art Deco dollhouses made  in the late 1930s and carrying the trademark Schoenhut metal tag. According to an old article in Antique Week, the 3 Art Deco dollhouses were made by a spin-off company called Schoenhut Manufacturing Co., organized by the original founder Albert Schoenhut's son Albert and grandson Frederick. They published catalogs in 1937 and 1939 that advertised "a large selection of dollhouses including most of the parent company models plus several new ones in an Art Deco International style. These 'streamlined' models featured curved windows, balconies, and flat roofs."