Spring Miniatura
NEC, Birmingham, UK
30th & 31st March 2019
Future Show Dates - TBA

Dolls' House Concept


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I am now retired, but a few years before I retired, a colleague gave me a CAD (Computer Aided Design) CD which he had received as a freebee from a computer magazine. Knowing my interest in technical drawing (I had spent some 2 years in a drawing office as part of an engineering apprenticeship), he thought I would enjoy the use of this method of drawing.

Having installed the programme on the computer came the thought as to what to do with it. Fortunately, one of my wife’s hobbies  is dolls houses and seeing the problems she had with her dolls house, I decided to design a dolls house with the idea of the design being more user friendly.

Having designed a dolls house, the next obvious step was to make one. This more or less coincided with my retirement so it was obvious that this could be something that would occupy my retirement – it’s got to be better than day time television!

With the exception of the 6 panel front door I make everything myself, this has enabled me to price my dolls houses at a more affordable figure. I have designed and made from scratch the dolls houses, windows, internal doors, roof dormers, front hinges and roof hinges.

My range includes 1/12th scale double fronted houses and shops at approx. 24” wide,1/12th scale single fronted ‘Wee’ houses and shops at 12” wide, 1/24th scale cottages,  houses and shops, 1/12th scale fantasy houses, curiosity shop, stables , garages (to go with dolls houses ), lighthouse, windmill,  water mill, garden shed, lean to, market stall, beach hut, churches (2 sizes), round house, fairy mushroom, water tower and display boxes (5 designs).

On the 1/12th scale houses the roof and each floor is a separate entity and the roof and floors have fronts on lift off hinges, this applies to the Double Fronted houses, the Wee houses and Fantasy houses. For the 1/24th scale the roof is separate with lift off front, the cottage and basement is separate with separate front and two floor houses have fronts on lift off hinges.

Separate floors and roof and lift off hinges have the following advantages
a) Even a 3 or 4 storey house is easily moved as each floor and roof is not heavy in itself and can be lifted separately.
b) Decorating is made much easier as a floor or roof without the front can be placed on a kitchen table and turned upside down if required for painting and decorating.
c) Customers, having purchased a cottage or 2 story houses, can purchase further stories as and when they wish. Extra stories will fit as all Dolls House Concept is made using jigs ensuring subsequent purchases will fit existing houses. I am now getting regular requests for additional floors.
d) The front on lift off hinges means that if a customer requires to change the image of their house then an alternative front can be purchased.
e) Electrics, which a lot of enthusiast having difficulty in installing, is very easy with Dolls House Concept. Separate floors and roof have been designed to leave a gap between each floor and between the top floor and roof to allow wiring to lights etc. to trundle between the floors. We drill a hole in the ceiling in the centre of each room ready for the light fitting, although holes can easily be drilled wherever required. We also fit a strip of twin tape along with eyelets in the back of each floor and roof and supply instructions as to how to use this for fitting electrics to each floor.
f) Floors and roof are supplied flat pack with full instructions for assembly and as the design is based on a tongue and groove, assembly of each floor and roof is quite simple.
g) Also a 3 or 4 floor dolls house is quite a daunting challenge particularly for some one new to the hobby. Purchasing a single story or 2 story Dolls House Concept house with the idea of expanding to something larger means that potential enthusiasts are not making a huge cash outlay and may well find that coping with something fairly modest gives them confidence to go on to bigger things.
Each floor of the 1/12th double fronted houses is supplied with 2 partitions with a plain door in each partition and the roofs have one partition again with a plain door. 1/24th Scale floors have one partition with cutout ready for a door if requested
The floor partitions fit into grooves and are not load bearing and therefore can be left out allowing the dolls house enthusiast  to create a floor with one large room (the full size of the floor area) by leaving out both partitions, one large room and one smaller room with one partition or 2 rooms and a hallway with both partitions. The staircase can be turned at right angles to rest against the back wall if required for the 2 rooms or single room version. In-fillers can be supplied for the grooves if requested.
Windows are fitted prior to delivery and can be supplied with any combination of 5 sizes of Georgian, 5 sizes of Victorian, 4 sizes of Gothic, 2 styles of bay, 4 styles of shop either Georgian or glazed. Doors are also supplied fitted either plain, 6 panel, stripy, gothic or stable.

Each floor has a staircase and each roof has chimney breasts.

Roofs are double pitch or single pitch, a 4 way pitch is also available. Roof fronts are supplied with dormers as standard but can be supplied with eyebrow dormer window, 2 roof windows, or no windows.

Houses floors can be linked sideways to give a larger house and, where requested, doors can be fitted in the sides to link each floor. Houses and shops can be linked to create a row of houses or a row of shops. There are 3 different Wee shop fronts - a row of 3 different shops looks great.

The churches are in 2 separate items, a church body and a tower, these can be purchased separately. The church body can be used as a church hall or a school and has the usual design of separate roof and floor and fronts on lift off hinges.

The Lighthouse and Windmill are supplied ready assembled and can be supplied with or without a cottage. The Lighthouse has a flashing light and 3 rooms, the Windmill is supplied either motorised or not motorised and also has 3 rooms. The Water Mill can be supplied with or without motor in a single story or 2 story  building or just the Water Wheel can be purchased to fit an existing building. 

The flagship display box is our Top View Display Box which has a clear Perspex front and a clear Perspex top. The box has one side larger than the other and can be used either with a greater depth then height for say a room display, or a greater height than depth for say a shop display. 

My garage no longer houses a car! I have converted it into a workshop. Fortunately the garage is substantially built with brick walls and tiled roof but it is a cold building. Insulating the inside of the building and adding heating has made it more habitable. The majority of the space is taken up with a saw bench and router bench with additional space for racking for components and raw material.

The very nature of dolls houses is that they are bulky but because my design incorporates standard floors and roofs with only the fronts being individual, I can stock a limited number of floors and roofs but keep a stock of all designs of fronts, thus I can keep at least one of everything in the range of goods on offer ready for immediate delivery.

I am by nature a tidy person, although somebody looking from the outside may perceive my workshop as disorganised but everything has a place and everything is in its place.  All drawings are numbered and there is a manufacturing specification for each drawing and all jigs are numbered and cross referenced to each manufacturing specification.

Inspiration comes from books on architecture, from talking to customers and from other traders. The idea for the Wee houses came from customers telling me that they were looking for a smaller dolls house to fit into a modern house or flat with limited room, the idea for a Windmill came from talking to one of the traders at a dolls house fair and the idea of a 1/24th scale house again from talking to customers. I also look at buildings whilst on holiday away in our caravan touring in the U.K. – sad isn’t it!