Saturday, December 7, 2013

A new room box from Oma

The postman just delivered a huge box from Oma. Once opened, Dieter and Elsbeth discover it is a huge room box for Elsbeth's dollies.  They are so can tell they are from the looks of delight on their little faces!  They stare transfixed at the big big present from their Oma.

Oma sent lots of dolls house furniture to go in the large room box too!

They decide that the bed should go in first....and together they tug and pull to get it into place.  Dieter works so hard that his hat falls off. Elsbeth's hat stays on because she glued it to her head this morning.

   Dieter is so big and strong that he is able to move the little chest
into the room box all by himself.
Finally everything is in place. Elsbeth brings her dollies that Oma brought her from Mexico to live in the new room box.
Elsbeth and Dieter ask mom to take their picture and send to Oma so she can see how happy they are with her wonderful gift!
The miniature furniture was made by Dora Kuhn and was purchased separately from the room box itself. I have always assumed the room box ( 6¾” x 4¼” x 2¾”)  was also manufactured by Dora Kuhn since it is normally seen with this same furniture. This room box is marked made in Germany US Zone.
Elsbeth and Dieter are bisque dolls from Germany and very much like other sets I have that were sold by FAO Schwarz toy store.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Rich and Reliable....a great combination!

No ladies....and gents....I am not talking about a brown-eyed handsome man, but that would be nice too!

I am referring to the Rich Toys house pictured below and the Reliable Plastics Company furniture that fits it so comfortably. This house dates from the mid to late 1950s while the Canadian made Reliable furniture was produced from the late 1940s thru the 1950s.

This was a bargain house I found early summer....$18. 
After adding replacement chimneys, front porch and windows, 
all it needed was a scrub down and coat of paint on the interior.
It still took me forever....

Meet the Vlags!
 Our homeowners....Roberta and Robert and their children Robin and Robby.
 They want to show you their new home....
and all their imported Canadian furniture.
(These are American made Flagg dolls, produced 1947 thru mid 1980s.)

Yes, they are a little scruffy looking, but Roberta claims she hasn't learned how to work
her imported Canadian washing machine just yet.

Robin and Robby want you to see their room first! 
They like sharing their room since they have their own space...when Robby remembers.  
Plus mom let them pick favorite pictures to hang over their beds.
Rich Toy Company provided the pretty blue flocked carpeting.
Robin picked a picture of babies, and mom framed it in pink to match her bed.

Robby picked pictures of dogs because he is hoping mom and dad
will get the hint that he really really really would like to have a puppy.

Along with their beds that can also be stacked as bunk beds,
they have a small chair that doubles as a "potty chair"....
but they have their usable potty chair in the bathroom.
OK, now Robin and Robby can go play
while the adults show us the rest of their house.
You enter the house through the dining room....which came with
a flocked green rug, as did most Rich Toys houses of this period.
Yes, GREEN. BRIGHT green.
The dining room furniture is not proportionate in scale...
the china cabinet is small while the buffet is large;
plus the china and buffet are ornate while the chairs and table are plain.
Neither the buffet or china cabinet have functioning drawers or doors.
To the right of the dining room is the kitchen. The Reliable kitchen appliances
 are a nice cream and blue, and again no functioning doors or drawers.
Well, except for the high chair that has a movable tray
and that darn washing machine that has a wringer/roller
that moves to the side with a lid that comes off so Roberta
can fill it with clothes, soap, a little fabric softener, a red sock......

Whether or not the drawers and doors are functioning,
Reliable made an attractive kitchen set for little girls and boys.

To the left of the dining room is the living room...or parlor.

Roberta is proud of her living room furniture. Everything has
the Reliable brand with the exception of the table lamps....American made by Jaydon .
The end tables on either side of the sofa are part of the bedroom set.

This room also has the flocked GREEN carpeting.

The Reliable living room set came in both blue and red.
 Reliable made high quality plastic furniture.
The living room pieces are as attractive from the rear as they are from the front.
These pieces remind me of the original Plasco furniture of the same period

Completing my set are the piano, fireplace, radio and 3-legged table.
I am missing the piano bench, floor lamp, table lamps and tea cart.
I won the tea cart on Canadian ebay once, but it was lost in the mail
....that is always SOOOO aggravating!

Moving back upstairs.....

 To the right of Robin and Robby's room is the bathroom. It was produced in a pretty pink and blue....and is perfect in this bathroom with the printed pink and white diamond tile design.  These pieces are functioning....the lid on the bathinette raises, the commode lid and seat raise, and on the potty chair the tray raises, the seat raises, and the potty itself is removable.   The fish decos are sticky plastics that I found at Michael's... and if I would put stuff back in the place I've assigned it to,
I might be able to tell you the brand name.

Who, just who, wouldn't want a pink pink pink and blue bathroom???

Moving on to the 6th and last room in this house...

...this is a nice large room that easily houses Roberta and Robert's
lovely Reliable bedroom furniture!

The bedroom furniture, like the china hutch and buffet in the dining room, is very ornate.
I also have the beds with a blue coverlet, but they are missing most of the decorative knobs.
The lamp is Renwal.

Reliable made both their vanity and their dresser with a tilting mirror. The vanity has an accompanying  stool. Although the mirrors tilt and the sewing machine lid flips up to show a machine attached,
the drawers of the vanity, dresser and chest are not functional.


Little girls probably considered this a "dream"  bedroom set!
Reliable was licensed by the American firm Ideal Toy Company to copy some of its products.
Below is a comparison between the Reliable dollhouse products (on the left)
 and the same pieces sold by Ideal (on the right).


Zillner and Cooper's Antique and Collectible Dollhouses share that the floor radio,
grand piano, and the dining room chairs (like the Ideal kitchen chairs)
were also made from the Ideal Toy Co. molds.

Did you notice the unique curtains in this house? Let me show you close-ups.

 These are the creation of my friend Diane Taylor of La Boheme Dolls (who also made my lovely Constance doll.)  She wasn't pleased with the way fabric falls on the windows of a dollhouse.
Thinking that fabric was often too full, she created these curtains that lay flat against the dollhouse wall.  First she designed this soft flowing curtain, printed the curtain design on several of her favorite prints, glued the print to a thin board for stability, and used museum putty to attach them to the wall.
I love them! I am trying to convince her to make these available on  her
 Etsy sites,  La Reine Boheme or Peacock Pye.
Now that Roberta and Robert have taken us on a tour of their new home,
we find Roberta showing Robert the housewarming gift her sister has sent.....
"Oh, " says Robert, "OK. Fine. Cute."
Roberta thinks that went well. Maybe.  

 We leave the Vlags new home with Robert talking to Tweety Bird.
Wonder if it is about Roberta's new kitchen sign....

My summer bargain makes a nice showplace for my collection of the
lovely Reliable furniture made by our good neighbors to the north! 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Update on the Rich Toys Book!

JoAnn Belanger, Rita Goranson, and Patty Cooper are still busy working on a book about the fiberboard dollhouses and buildings made by Rich Toys of Clinton, Iowa.

So far, they have been able to identify more than a hundred different models made by the company between 1935 and 1961.

They are hoping to show actual examples of each house as well as documentation from catalogs and advertisements. If you have (or think you might have) a Rich Toys dollhouse (or other building) and are willing to have it included in the book, please contact JoAnn at or Patty at

They are also looking for any additional information about the company and their products, including catalogs, advertisements, and old photographs.

Your help would really be appreciated!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

My newest Keystone of Boston doll house....

This is my newest Keystone of Boston dollhouse...Keystone #31 for me. 

This house looks a little sad, doesn't it? You probably wonder why I would buy such a sad little house....because it is a Keystone of Boston, my favorite American dollhouses!

I had never seen this little house before and had to ask friends if they thought it was a Keystone of Boston.  They concurred, and it came to live with my other little houses.

This house dates from around 1936; it is 26" wide and...... friend brought it to my attention that it bears a resemblance to my largest Keystone house above, at 36" wide. 

In addition to the 5 windows on the front, this house has 2 windows on each side panel. The openings are not large enough to house the metal diamond-paned shutters that are found on the larger house.  It may have had plastic inserts with silk-screened mullions, possibly in similar diamond-paned design to go with the Tudor theme. 
It looks like it is missing window frames on the lower level, although there are no indications that there was ever anything attached.  
I am happy that it has the original chimney,
although they are not too hard to recreate.....

...and the original porch steps.
The door surround is another problem, and will require some research.

I am totally in love with the interior graphics in this house. I have not seen these before, although I am sure some of Keystone's  older houses probably had them. I will need to recreate the graphics on the upper and lower interior walls when I make them.
Yes, it is missing the second floor, but I have replaced quite a few second floors!
Here are some close-ups of the wonderful graphics:

....the green side,

...the blue side,
....and the wonderful kiddie-themed room!

I think the water stains around the lower floor will be the hardest to repair.  A friend shared with me that Mr. Clean, or other brand Easy Erasers, were good for cleaning these little houses. They are usually gentle with the old surfaces, but sometimes cause crazing in the paint.
If you have a model of this Keystone house, or have seen a picture of it, I am hoping you will share information that will help me to bring this wonderful old house as close to it's original state as possible. Look for it again this time next year!