Friday 10 February 2012

A Tour Around My House

I thought you might to have a look around my house.

...My doll's house, that is.

Like many people I find that there's just something about the world in miniature! My dolls house was made for me by my grandad, and I received it for my second Christmas:

It was the Christmas of '89, oh yeah...
And, oh, how I loved that dolls house! It had lights, and was furnished. I never did like traditional dolls, so reams of Sylvanian Families lived in mine instead. And then of course I grew out of playing with it. One day I was visiting Rochdale in my mid-teens, and saw a dolls house and miniatures shop. The shop wasn't selling toy dolls house furniture, but miniatures for adults who collected 1/12th scale pieces and created their dream house on a mini scale. I was hooked.

...And in 2013, quite a transformation.

So I'd like to introduce you to what is now my country pub, The Acton Bell Inn. It's certainly been a labour of love. From hand-designed electric lighting, three attempts to get the right effect roof tiles and two lots of wallpapering inside, it's been so frustrating... and great fun. It's nowhere near finished yet, but I'm just about at the fun stage of making everything to go inside it.

I'm not a fan of roof paper, so the roof tiles are made out of cereal boxes, each individually cut out and then coated with stone effect paint. The bricks are real brick dust, scraped over a stencil, then left to dry before being shaded in with pastel dust and varnished.

I have the perfect weather vane to add!

 Let's step inside.

The Taproom

Please excuse the dust. This is the taproom, though it's looking rather bare at the moment. I'm very determined that each room should tell a story, so when the pub is finished it should take quite a few minutes of looking at each room scene to take it all in. The flooring is real Welsh slate, the walls are roughly coated in plaster to make them look white washed, and the beams took seven coats of stain to look sufficently aged. They even have woodworm holes in them! The range you see at the back is the focal point of the room, and at £60 it used up all of my eighteenth birthday money! It was worth it. All the other fireplaces I saw just didn't cut the mustard.

The Bar

The main room of The Acton Bell Inn, this is going to be the busiest scene of all. I wanted a simple country bar, so I made my own. The shelves on the back wall will soon be stocked with stone and glass bottles, and a jar of pickled eggs! Figures will be playing cards and drinking from tankards at the tables, while catching up on the local gossip. The low hanging lamp is there because the room was originally going to house a snooker table, but I've decided it takes up too much room, so the lamp will be raised at a later date. There is a lucky horseshoe above the door.

The Guest Room

The guest room - for it is an inn after all - will be the temporary home of a frustrated writer (I sympathise with him!) The desk will be crammed with papers and ink pens. The trunk at the foot of the bed will be stuffed with clothes - he's a messy bloke - and a map will be spread out on the bed. Our travelling artist is not a local, after all. Curtains will warm up the room, along with a cosy bedspread. The landlady knows how to look after her guests!

The cameos on the wall you see below are a pair of earrings from an Avon catalogue!

And now for a quick hop over the landing...

The Landlord and Landlady's Bedroom

People have always lived in houses of different ages, so although this pub is 'Tudor', I decided that we're seeing it in Victorian times. I don't have room for a kitchen, so this bedroom is the most personal room in the house. It's the landlady's domain, so will be full of fripperies, ornaments and lace. The dressing table will be packed with cosmetics and pretty bottles, and a floral bedspread will add further femininity to the scene.

Unfortunately the back wall is feeling the effects of some eletrical troubles and two wallpapering jobs, so a large mirror or picture will be needed too!

I couldn't find any tiles to fit my mantelpiece so I had a go at making my own from polymer clay. I still need to create a marble hearth.

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Doll's houses and minitaures are now hugely popular across the UK, America, and is the second most popular hobby in Japan, where they often own room boxes as space is at a premium and houses take up too much room.

Creating a doll's house has, for me, meant that this is the closest I'll ever get to being able to visit the past, much the same as the motivation behind so many people choosing to wear vintage clothes and furnish their homes in a vintage style.

When my pub is finally finished I'd love to have a go at a wartime house, complete with air raid shelter, kitchen stocking 1940s food packaging - rationed, of course - and a cosy living room with a wireless. But I'm not sure I'll ever have the room! Failing that a 1930s tearoom room box in the style of Brief Encounter would do nicely!

My dream wartime house. (The brick-effect paper would have to go!)

It's really important to me to make as much for my house as possible, so I'm always on the lookout for vintage fabrics with tiny prints, jewellery findings and collecting home interiors and doll's house magazines. I want everything to look as realistic as possible.

Hope you enjoyed the tour. I just wish this pub would produce a pint every now and again! If you'd like to see more miniature scenes take a look here and here. My pub was recently featured in Pretty Nostalgic magazine here.


  1. So beautiful and magical. xxx

  2. Thank you both. It's going to be quite a challenge to make or source dolls that don't freak me out. And then I'll plant a mysterious stranger in that rocking chair to freak everyone else out!

  3. Wow I love it, I really love the trunk at the bottom of the bed in the guest room. I keep looking at the rooms over and over again so lovely, and wouldn't it be absolutely fabulous to do a war time house.

  4. Oh and are they footprints on the tap room floor, so clever (if not accidental ha ha!!) :)

  5. Thank you, Kim! Unfortunately the footprints are the result of plastered walls causing a lot of dust, I've even had to make a real mini feather duster so ornaments don't get ruined! The house looks so much more atmospheric and cosy with lights, especially from the outside in a darkened room, but the connections still need soldering in the roof, and waiting for a helpful family member to come and lend a hand.

    The 1940s house I have my beady eye on is so huge that you need a turntable as it opens on several sides, but I can dream... one day!

    Pleased you like it :)

  6. I really find this amazing. Its really 'too good for words'

  7. And yes, I like the landlady's bedroom the most. Very lovely and pretty

  8. I've just found this post on your blog and your dolls house is absolutely gorgeous! I've been adsorbed in the story of your pub and am dying to read an update! A beautiful work of art :)! I particularly like the part about the struggling writer!! xx

    1. Thank you Imogen - I'll certainly try to feature an update soon! x

  9. from one bronte fan to (i assume) the name of ur inn!

    u have done such an amazing job!


  10. Love this!

    The carpet looks familiar from the Christmas of 1989, brings back memories of my grandparents house!

    How is it going? Are there any updates, have you stocked the bar yet? Mine's a G and T please!

  11. these scenes are wonderful Anna, I simply adore your creativity- and I too love the accidental footprints!!
    When you do get round to adding the details, please feel free to visit our website: we stock most of the items you said you'd like - including beer! ...unfortunately not drinkable though....but even a ration book if you ever do move on to your wartime home!
    I bet your grandad is so proud.


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