Thursday, December 23, 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

A Rich Toys house.....

Admit it, we've all done it....and I love gifting myself with a special
dollhouse on my birthday. But I think Nicola at
Puppilottchen's Toy Blog is the only other blogger I know
who has admitted it!

My birthday was back in May and my friend Patty found this
wonderful old Rich Toys dollhouse on eBay; we bantered back
and forth on which one of us should be the one to bid on this
little "YOU buy it!" and "no, YOU buy it!". 
We were both concerned that someone else would do the
buy-it-now before we made a decision.  Patty found it, I thought
she should have  first choice. When I mentioned that I liked
to find a really great dollhouse at birthday time, she told me
to go for it. So this little house came to live in Houston instead
of Knoxville. I hope she doesn't regret her generosity....she did 
insist that I pay for it! 

A similar house pictured in one of Dian Zillner's books dates this
house to the 1950s. Over the years, Rich Toys used so many different
decorative components with the same fronts but different roofs and
chimneys, that it would not be an easy task to collect all of the Rich
houses. Unlike the Keystone of Boston houses that had painted
wallpaper designs in their houses of the 40's and 50's, Rich houses
had carpets and tile painted on the floors but the walls were left
undecorated. After 50-60 years the once white walls are dingy and
hard to clean; this is my first house in which I have added wallpaper
and also painted the interior.

Looks like the lady of the house has been cutting roses from her garden for her blue vase in the entry hall. The piano came to me painted this lovely salmon...I know I should recognize the maker of it, but I don't. The lawn chair in the front yard and the kitchen chairs are all painted this color...and so long ago that the finish is very crackled. The green carpet is painted while the designed carpet is a paper reproduction. The buffet is an unidentified piece (only because I can't read the printing on the back) and a little oversized for the rest of the furniture. 

It seems the lady of the house likes flowers....on her walls, her furniture, her area rug, in vases and on the mantle! The chairs and sofa are Queen Anne Upholstered Doll House Furniture made by B. Packman of NYC in the 40s. Packman combined this upholstered furniture with lucite tables and floor lamps; I am not lucky enough to have any of the lucite pieces. The wonderful floor lamp is Schoenhut; the table lamp and log holder are by Dolly Dear; the 2 tables are Strombecker; and the fireplace is a Chinese import with a fireplace fender taken from an Ideal plastic fireplace and painted gold. :)

Rich Toys stenciled the kitchen floor with this great diamond design. The maker of the appliances is unknown, but information has them being sold in toy catalogs from the early 50s thru the early 60s. The kitchen chairs were probably made by a loving father or grandfather as they do not look to be commercially made. The table is almost exactly like the one my mother had in her kitchen in the was also stained green! It even has little support bars that swing out to hold the side extensions up...just like Mom's did.
It is marked underneath by what looks like "Germany".  The hutch comes from a Keystone of Boston dollhouse. No, the pie is not real because not only do I not cook, I don't bake either. :)

The second story floors were plain white, unusual in a Rich Toys house of the 1950s.  I used oak stain thinned with water to give the effect of wood floors; I even drew planks and nail holes, but of course my creativity doesn't show in the pictures.  :) The beds are also Queen Anne Upholstered Doll House Furniture by Packman. According to Zillner and Cooper, B. Packman produced at least 3 room sets of furniture: a living room that included a sofa, 2 chairs, 2 lucite tables, table and floor lamps; a bedroom that, in addition to the beds, included a chair, dressing table, lucite night stand and a radio; the 3rd set appeared to be a sitting or dressing room (or precursor to our modern family room) and included a chaise, a sectional love seat, floor lamp, 2 lucite tables and a radio. The dresser is an older piece of unknown origin but just happened to be the right color...and not the original color, I think!

      The bathroom fixtures are attributed to the same unknown maker
      as the kitchen appliances.  According to  Zillner and Cooper's
      Antique and Collectible Dollhouses, these pieces were featured
      in the 1951 Chesnut Hill catalog and appeared with the kitchen
      furniture in the 1961-62 Mark Farmer catalog. The hamper is
      Strombecker and the towel rack is Dolly Dear. I added the paper
      tile floor, which was a common design in American homes for
      several decades in the first half of the 20th century. If you would
      like a scan of the paper to use in one of your little houses,
      just email me.

      The upholstered chair is part of the Queen Anne bedroom set. I
      recently saw the crib on eBay, painted green, as part of a grouping
      of German furniture. The lamp, table and small pink chair are all
      Look, there is someone at home...a small Scottie pup, and from
      the looks of his pricked up ears, he hears something!

Could it be all these little munchkins at the front door?

Looks like Dad is at home also and the little Scottie is taking the opportunity to check out the noises in the front yard....and maybe to spend a little time there himself.

CONFESSION!  I had another birthday in June...then two birthdays in July...and an additional two birthdays in August. At this rate, no telling how old I will be by the end of September....

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Obituary for a dollhouse.....

The Barclay
a Keystone of Boston house
1938(?) – 2010

Barclay, a Keystone of Boston dollhouse, met his demise late July in the state of Pennsylvania. Ron S., his previous owner, states that Barclay was "absolutely destroyed" at the Pittsburgh bulk package sorting plant of the United States Postal Service.

Barclay was “born” in Boston, Massachusetts in the late 1930s. No facts are known about his life from "birth" until  July 3, 2010, when he was invited to spend his twilight years at Dollhouse Village in Houston. Appearances point to him belonging to little children who took great care of him because, even though he was at least 70, he was still a hunk for his age -- retaining all his windows, his front door and the surround, his chimney, and his floors were still sturdy for a house of his advanced years.

His cousin HUD was looking forward to Barclay coming to live in Dollhouse Village even though Barclay was in much better shape than himself.

HUD, cousin of Barclay

When interviewed HUD told us, “I was hoping to have a place for him right next to me on the shelf. Man, he would have made me look my age, but family is family. I didn’t even get a chance to meet him”.

There might be a small controversy over Barclay's parentage, as some might think he belonged to the Rich Toys family. And looking at Barclay, one could question if there was a little “hanky-panky” going on. The Rich Toys family produced dollhouses with similar chimneys,  red pediments over the windows, and the plastic windows which are unusual for a Keystone family member. The main characteristic that points to Barclay being a member of the Keystone family is  the supporting frame inside the house as opposed to the metal L-shaped support brackets that most of the Rich Toys family members have.  Uh, and also, his fraternal twin is pictured on page 149 of Zillner and Cooper's Antique and Collectible Dollhouses and Their Furnishings and attributed to Keystone, plus a similar house is shown in the 1938-39 Keystone catalog. And then there is his uncanny resemblance to our man HUD. ;)

Rest in peace, Barclay. Maybe we will discover one of your brothers one day. If we do, we will certainly invite him to live at the Village.

Some of the houses built by Rich Toys were given names....Avon, Birchwood, Berkshire. I am not aware that Keystone of Boston named any of their houses....I thought Barclay suited this little house that never made it to live with his new-found family.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Rory Hill Moves Out

Rory Hill is 37.  Recently his mom told him that he was certainly old enough to be living on his own. After taking a couple of days to think that over, he started looking for  the right place for a successful young accountant to live---a batchelor pad for Mr. Rory Hill!

He looked in The Heights, in Montrose, the Midtown area, and finally found the perfect place near Rice Village , north of the university. He felt very lucky when he found this mid-century modern bungalow built by Albin Schonherr...and at just the right price. The walls needed new paper, but Rory was too excited to wait for his landlord to install wallpaper or paint.  He wanted to move in right away.  What a great idea his mother had!  Aren't mothers always right about these things?

Rory went straight to Alabama Furniture , a store specializing in quality consignment furniture, and selected some great Bodo Hennig items from the 60s era for his living room. He asked if they could be delivered the same day. When mom "puts a bug in his ear", he acts on it as quickly as possible!

The bungalow has a great kitchen. Hmmn, he certainly will miss his mom's great cooking...but with a nice large kitchen, maybe he will learn to cook.  Yes, cooking lessons will definitely be in order....he must check with Chara Gifford at urbanCHEF to see what classes are available.

Mom was kind enough to stock his pantry and also pick up some deli from Central Market for his first meal in his new to squeeze it all in this small fridge!

Looking for just the right art work to compliment his "new" furniture, Rory visited a couple of his favorite galleries, Nau-Haus and John Cleary.  Finally, in a small gallery in his new neighborhood, he discovered several prints he thought would be perfect for his new space. The prints were listed by Australian photographer Rebecca Green, but no titles were given.

For now he decided to refer to them as Table Tops and Stacked Tables; maybe later he will google Ms. Green's name and discover if she  titled these delightful pieces.

A favorite place for Rory in his new home is the patio and steps leading up to his front door. Even with this city's "hot and humid" reputation, he finds this outdoor area to be pleasant and cool...and the perfect place for an after-dinner drink.

"Yoo-hoo!  Hey hunny-bun!"  Is that a neighbor calling him from across the street......?

[Albin Schonherr house was found on German eBay last winter; it seems to be a fairly popular model as it comes up for auction quite often.  All the furniture was found on US eBay during the last several years.]

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A new home for the Ainsleys.........

And the house they chose is..........

HOUSE #3!   The Ainsleys moved into their new home 2 months ago and everyone is settling in nicely.

 Let's take a closer peek and see what everyone is doing....

Well, we sort of knew Nevil would be sitting in front of the TV, didn't we?

If we look closer, we can see that Fiona's favorite spot is on the second step where she can read her book or daydream while gazing out of the window....

Annie's in her favorite place...her nice big kitchen...once more looking for a new recipe to make a surprise treat for her family.

Little Sophie likes to play in the new big room she shares with Fiona and Cecil.....

and if we peek into the other bedroom, we will see little Rory napping in his crib....even while Sophie "plays" her piano.


Nevil has rearranged the washer and dryer so it will be easier to switch loads of clothes from the washer to the dryer when he is doing the laundry.

...and there is Cecil, actually sitting on the floor playing instead of balancing on top of a table.  And of course his favorite place to play is right behind Dad's chair....while Dad is trying to watch TV. The Ainsleys are enjoying their new home!

The furniture was made in Germany and sold by the FAO Schwarz Toy Store of NYC. The kitchen furniture was recently identified on Diepuppenstubensammlerin's blogspot as being made by Bodo Henning. The maker of the other furniture is unknown, but it was closely copied from the American Strombecker furniture of the 1930-50s. Rory's crib is a Lisa of Denmark product,  the bunkbed may be by Vero,  and the washer and dryer are a salt and pepper set!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Ainsleys continue their house hunt.....

Nevil and Annie liked the house they looked at yesterday, but after a good nights rest, they are ready to look at more houses.

Today Maryam has taken them to the Keystone Meadows subdivision on the west side of the village.  "The builder of this house was Keystone of Boston. It was built in 1947 and has 660 square inches of living space.  The seller is asking $130 for it, which I realize is at the top of your budget, but we can always offer a lower price to start. Let's look  inside." Annie mentions that she loves the red shutters and gray roof.

"Oh, what a lovely curved staircase!" says Annie.  
"Cecil, the owners haven't moved their furniture out yet, so I want you to be on your best behavior.  Understood?" says Dad.  "Yes, Daddy, I'll be good." answers Cecil.

Annie notices the fireplace and says, "This will be great for hanging stockings at Christmas...and I think Santa may even be able to get down this chimney, kids!"
Nevil thinks this living room will be a great place to watch his sports and fishing shows on fact, he may be doing that already. Fiona is looking for a good place to sit so she can  read the next exciting chapter in her book.

Upstairs Mom is checking out the big closet in the bathroom while Cecil checks out the size of the bathtub.

"Oh, Rory, we will have to get you a little duck to rock in," says Annie. Sophie says, "I wanna wock too, Mummie!"

"Nice size bedroom," says Annie. "I love the blue wallpaper--we won't have to replace that.  And there is plenty of room in the corner for Rory's crib."

Nevil likes the size of the refrigerator and wonders if the owners are leaving it. 
"This is big enough to hold all the beer I will need for  poker parties with my new friends," he says. 
"Well," says Annie, "let's wait to meet your new friends before we plan a poker party!"

"Maryam, we really like this house!  Let's keep this  one on our list too!" says Annie.

After lunch, Maryam takes them to a house located on the northwest side of the village in the Keystone Woods subdivision.

"This is the newest house of the three, and also the largest at 1084 square inches. It was built by Keystone Wood Toys in 1955. Don't you love this bright blue door?" asks Maryam. 
 "I like  the large windows," says Nevil, "and it is landscaped nicely so the upkeep should be easy for me." 

"Oh, this is a large living area!" Annie exclaims. "I hope it doesn't look big just because  it is almost empty."  Nevil likes the hardwood floors.

"Girls! Girls!" says Annie, "don't snoop in the boxes. The contents don't belong to us."

"Oh, this kitchen is great!" says Annie. "I love to cook and having so much space will make it even more enjoyable. I can even start teaching Fiona to cook.  Look, Nevil, a window over the sink facing the front of the house...just perfect!"  
Maryam tells the Ainsleys that all the appliances stay, including the two portable cabinets.

Upstairs everyone checks out the bedrooms. Nevil says, "I think the children's area will be large enough...a set of bunkbeds for Fiona and Cecil here by the window, and Sophie's little bed there in the corner. That will still leave a little room for playing...upstairs instead of downstairs!"
"And the other bedroom is not a bad size either," adds Annie. "And look, the bathroom is right off the master bedroom."

"Cecil, please stop climbing on everything.  Mummie doesn't want you to get hurt."
 "I'm not going to fall, Mummie, I'm a big boy!"

"Look, Nevil, double sinks.  Isn't that wonderful? Now I can have a sink that's not full of your whiskers everytime I want to clean my face!" 
"Good location for a  washer and dryer, " says Nevil.  "Wonder if they stay? Let's not forget to ask Maryam."

"So," says Maryam, "shall we keep this one on the list?" 
"Oh, I love this house, Maryam.   We forgot to ask what the seller is asking for it!" 
 "It's listed for $84, which is a great price in this neighborhood.  It just came on the market yesterday, and it will probably sell quickly. So, if you are interested in it, you will need to make a decision quickly." says Maryam.
Nevil and Annie decide to take overnight to think over their choices, but early next morning they are in Maryam's office making an offer........


and then signing the papers on their new home!

Soon they are back in their Winnebago and headed  home to start packing for their move to a nice little village in the south.

Hmmn.  Wonder which house they decided to make their new home......

The furniture in the first house is 1":1' by Strombecker, 1935-50, with the exception of the pink baby crib which is unmarked, but possibly made in Germany.