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Often people ask me about dolls houses – so being a mother of two ‘doll loving’ girls and owning an online toyshop, I thought I’d take a few moments and write a short blog explaining what to look for and some tips when purchasing a dolls house.
The first thing you need to be aware of is that there are two standard types of dolls houses. One is for peg dolls and the other is for 11inch dolls (like Barbies, Bratz or Lottie Dolls) So when you go to buy a dolls house, make sure you know what type you are looking for as peg dolls would be lost in a large house and Lottie Dolls wouldn’t fit into a peg doll house. I’ll deal with each type separately.
These houses tend to be smaller and often have lovely small details. Here’s some things to consider if you are buying one of these:
1. What size are you looking for. Generally these come in lots of different sizes – you can get bedsits, two storey ones with just two rooms or three storey ones with multiple rooms like the one featured above. When considering what size house to buy, think about how much space you have in your house to put it, how old your child is and how long you want it to stay in your house for. If you plan on keeping it for years, it’s worth investing a little more. However, if you’re not sure your children will like it, maybe purchase a smaller, cheaper one to start with.
2. What way does it open. Some of these have a front that opens while others separate in the middle displaying half the house on one side and the other side on the other. Usually it’s a hinge that holds it together. If you have a space allocated for it in your house, make sure the space it big enough for it when it is open, as well as closed, as often they become twice as big as they look initially. If you have a table in mind to place the dolls house on, you need to bear in mind the open size so it doesn’t over balance and topple over onto the floor every time it’s opened. My husband attached our one to the wall at a height that suited our daugthers which has meant that it never topples over or gets carried around.
3. What does it come with. Some houses come furnished while others come empty. It is possible to buy furniture for each room, but it can be pricey, so make sure you consider this extra cost when purchasing your house. It’s unusual for the houses to come with dolls. In the past, most peg dolls were very similar, but recently I’ve spotted lots of different dolls – African and Asian ones, as well as grandparents, children, babies and dolls dressed in their work clothes like farmers, firemen etc. Peg dolls come in one outfit. You cannot change their clothes/dress-undress them.
4. What age are your children. What I love about these smaller dolls houses are the details. When my daughters were very little, we were given a gift of a really gorgeous one. It included furniture and lots of tiny things like wine glasses, cups and saucers that are about the same size as my little finger nail. Obviously it wasn’t wise to put all the small things in the house when they were little, but we’ve gradually introduced them now that they are bigger and don’t put things in their mouths or up their noses any more! Still, anytime we have visiting young children in our house, the first thing they want to play with is the dolls house, so I need to remove all the small items regularly and be extra careful when hoovering.
There is a huge variety of doll houses for larger dolls like Barbies, Bratz and Lottie dolls (Lottie dolls are slightly smaller than Barbie dolls as they are children shaped dolls and not as tall as adult shaped dolls)
Most of the tips and advice mentioned above applies to larger doll houses too, so I won’t repeat myself instead I’ll do a short review on the dolls house my daughter’s have for their Lottie Dolls.
This past Christmas, Santa brought them the Kidkraft So Chic Dolls House. They are massive Lottie Doll fans so they were thrilled with this surprise. The So Chic Dolls House is made extremely well and is a very sturdy wooden doll house. It comes with 50 pieces of wooden doll’s furniture and is three storeys tall. What I love about this dolls house is that it’s on casters so it can be pushed into the corner when we are not playing with it and pulled out and accessed from all sides. The furniture is quite big for Lottie but children aren’t used to having child sized furniture and think nothing of Lottie sleeping in a bed that’s quite long for her. There are some lovely pieces of furniture in this house including a shower and toilet. Considering the amount of clothes most dolls have, it would have been nice to have a wardrobe or chest of drawers to store some of them in. However, their is a toy box and my daughters have filled it with Lottie’s beach toys. The furniture in the utility room has to be my favourite and includes as washing machine that opens, an iron and ironing board an a hoover! The house is decorated really lovely and has a ‘wow’ factor when people see it. The only thing I would change, if I could, would be to make the roof and stairs wooden, like the rest of the house, and not plastic.
Usually the smaller doll houses come assembled but the larger ones come in flat pack. So if you are giving one as a present, make sure you order it on time to assemble it before giving it. Depending on the house, this can take 3-4 hours and often two people are needed.
Finally, I’ve heard that the company behind Lottie dolls are in the process of developing a doll house specific to Lottie dolls and they are open to hear suggestions from fellow Lottie doll lovers. So, if you have any ideas, can you comment below and I’ll pass them on. Thanks,