Monday, March 30, 2020

The Fold-Away Dollhouse and Playbook of Cut-Out Furniture

I'm sure most of you have seen this fold-out dollhouse made in book form for sale on Ebay or Etsy. It was published in 1949 by Garden City Publishing Co. of Garden City, New York, with artwork by Catherine Barnes. It came with a playbook of small furniture to cut out. But, like with many toys of that era, additional parts are most often missing. 

The first of my two books came without the small furniture. I ended up furnishing it with Renwal and Ideal plastic furniture that was made at the same time the fold-away book was published. It was the first item I ever sold on Ebay!

My second book came with furniture already cut out.  That is what I will be showing you....a fold-away dollhouse with cut-out furniture.  

The book opens to show graphics of the back of the house 
plus a diagram of how to set up the book as a 3 room dollhouse.

Opening further, we see additional graphics 
of the back side and a floor for the nursery.

Following the diagram, the book sets up to show three rooms. 

A nursery, or child's room...

...a dining room or living room...

...and a kitchen.

Furniture was supplied for a nursery, a dining room, and a kitchen. 
It is on a smaller scale than the rooms themselves.

The nursery has a crib, a dresser or chest, a rocking horse,
 and a play table with two chairs. 
All the furniture is put together with slot and tab design. 
Missing from the nursery is a small duck on wheels. 
According to an original uncut book that accompanied this foldout dollhouse, the small duck is the only piece missing from this set.

The dining room is furnished with a large dining table 
holding a bowl with a turkey, 3 high back dining chairs 
and a hutch with dishes. 
This room also holds a TV (with a screen large for 1949!),
 2 side chairs, and 2 end tables. The two chairs belong to the kitchen set. 

In the kitchen we find the 3 necessary appliances..
.fridge, sink cabinet, and stove. 
A small kitchen table with 2 chairs completes the furnishings. 

For the dining room,

additional pieces used in the dining room, 

furniture for the nursery, 

and furnishings for the kitchen. 

Did you notice that all the furniture is in shades of white, blue and pink? 

The backside of the house is also attractive,

with windows that open.

The interior has 2 doors that open connecting the 3 rooms...

nursery to dining room, 

                                 and dining room to kitchen.                      

The back of the book

shows the diagram for assembling this little house

and more artwork from Catherine Barnes.

For fun, I have furnished this fold-away dollhouse 
with other dollhouse furniture produced 
about the same time as the book.

Shown here with Ideal plastic furniture

with Plasco plastic furniture

 with Kage wooden and upholstered furniture

with Strombecker wood furniture

and even vintage Lundby furniture!

If you see this little fold-away dollhouse for sale on Etsy or Ebay, 
give it a chance to bring fun and smiles to your life!

A reasonable price for this unique little dollhouse without the furniture
 is $30 USD or lower. 


  1. What a cute little book. I had never seen one before. I imagine children had great fun playing with it.

    1. And I had fun playing with it as I wrote this post! One is never too old to play with dollhouses!
      I see it often on Ebay. As well as I remember, I paid around $20 for each of mine.

  2. Great post and great photos! The graphics are great in that printed house.

  3. There is something so magical about these little printed books, so thank you for sharing the photos. Being in the UK I have not seen these particular books. Celia

  4. Thank you so much for showing the original cut-out furniture. I often have wondered what it was like. The graphics on this book remind me of animated cartoons of the same era (Bugs Bunny, Mr. Magoo, etc.) So playful and fun.
    I had a copy of this, rather worn and much played with, which I found at a local flea market for $5.00. It had a tear in one of the interior walls which I mended with invisible tape. I furnished mine with Renwal pieces but eventually sold it on Ebay.

  5. I loved seeing these houses with all the different kinds of furniture. What a great idea!