Timeless Thoughts: Doll houses

Timeless Thoughts is a monthly linkup hosted by Georgie and Tara, where bloggers write about something from their past – it could be an item, a place, an event – anything that evokes a trip down memory lane. Timeless Thoughts is held on the first Saturday of the month, and runs for two weeks.

I loved playing with doll houses when I was younger. I longed to have one of those giant classic wooden ones with a lot of levels, a lot of rooms, and a lot of furniture, but I never had one even remotely similar.

A front view of the rooms of a doll house
Inside of a typical doll house

There is a toy library near my house where you can borrow toys for a couple of weeks and then return them. They were great for when I had a birthday party when I was younger, because you could borrow giant toys like a cubby house or a rocket that you could put together (that was an awesome one). I watched my parents struggle to carry the giant pieces to the car because I was only a kid and couldn’t help them!

One of the toys I liked to borrow was a doll house, and I really wanted one for myself, but borrowing for a short time kept me entertained.

Even though I loved playing with doll houses from a young age, I don’t think they were as ‘advanced’ as they are now. I spotted one a year ago that had an elevator in it. When I was a kid, there were no elevators in the doll houses. Actually, you’d be lucky if there were even stairs.

A girly, modern doll house with stairs and elevator
This doll house has an elevator!

That’s how I thought that I was too smart for doll houses. A while back, all you had was rooms, and sometimes no doors between the rooms. And when you did have doors between the rooms, you probably didn’t have stairs between levels. Sometimes, the stairs were just a part of the wallpaper in the house to imply that yes, there are stairs, but they weren’t physically built into the house.

A two-storey wooden doll house with slightly distinct rooms, but no stairs
Um, how do I get upstairs?
A wooden doll house with furniture, but no doors between the rooms
This one doesn’t even have doors between the rooms!

I asked my mum, ‘How can I get my doll to go upstairs when there are no stairs?’

I’m not sure what my mum thought at the time, but she said something like, ‘Well you just have to take the doll out and put it where you want to put it upstairs’.

‘But how does it actually go upstairs, because there are no stairs?’

My mum also said to imagine that there were stairs going from that level of the house to the outside and back into the house at the next level. It wasn’t that I disliked using my imagination, but it didn’t make sense to me why the house couldn’t be built like a real one and why I had to imagine something as basic as stairs.

A simple doll house with stairs and doors
A simple doll house with stairs and doors

There were some doll houses that were portable and that you could close and carry, but they seemed to be limited. I did not like the idea of furniture moving around and sometimes it was limited because any stairs had to be folded up or bits and pieces had to be moved in order for it to be able to close.

I still enjoyed playing with doll houses, and to this day I still marvel at what they look like now compared to when I played with them. Did you ever think about the logistics of doll houses?

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Comments on this post

Awwww :D Your story about wondering how can there be no stairs/doors in the houses made me smile ^^ It’s definitely something I can see some kids asking and wondering about.

I think it’s neat you guys had a toy library! I don’t think my community had anything like that, so the idea of it is neat :D I can see how beneficial and economical that is to families :)

You know, I had Barbies and such when I was a kid, but I never had or asked for a dollhouse. Strange now that I think about it. Or maybe I did ask, but my dad deemed it as not a thing I needed. Either or, I kind of missed out on playing with that, so it’s not a thing I’ve got an attachment to . . . ^^;;

The doll houses that are made now are pretty amazing! I have never seen one with an elevator, that would be so funky. I can remember the old stair dilemma! Everything was very basic. xD

My sister had a wooden dollhouse, and all the furniture was wooden etc. We hardly actually used the dollhouse itself, but used the furniture (bed, couch, table) with our Barbies haha. The bed became a couch, for example :P We were quite inventive in our gameplay.

There is something about doll houses that I love, especially the old, classic vintage ones. The ones you don’t feel right playing with, that are simply for display. One of my best friends collects Sylvanian families and she bought one of the Sylvanian houses, and wallpapered it herself :O http://sylvanians.vampify.net/diy-cedar-terrace-wallpapering/ Pretty cool haha. I should ask her what it looks like now as this was AGES ago.

Oh wow, yeah, I have definitely seen doll houses that look like they are just for display. Whenever I played with doll houses I wanted to make sure they looked good when I finished playing, rearranging the furniture and dolls back to their usual spots.

Dollhouses are unique and special. I’ve always wondered why some don’t have stairs. I agree that it makes no sense that a dollhouse has no stairs. I had a dollhouse made of cardboard, it was a fully functional little house, but it did lack the basic stairs. They were painted into the dollhouse, but still. I would like to participate in Timeless Thoughts. :)

Um, a toy library sounds amazing. Especially since kids get tired of toys super easily.

I had a baller dollhouse. Not only did it have doors and stairs, it had working light fixtures. And I remember putting wall paper in it and this one rug that I used to move around like it was super important where it was. It was more of a hobby crafting sort of thing than for playing with dolls, actually. And now that I think about it I don’t even remember if there were dolls… probably. But I cared way more about decorating it.

Haha, I definitely agree. Even as an adult it sounds awesome.

That sounds amazing. I know I really loved furnishing doll houses and making them look like my dream homes, wishing I was the doll and could shrink and enjoy my house.

I never had a doll’s house of my own, though I used to play with one sometimes at an after school club. It was a princess castle one, lilac and blue plastic and I loved it. Then I moved onto Hamma beads, haha.

I remember playing with some doll’s houses which had stairs, but an elevator seems weird to me. Who has one of those in their home? :P

A Midsummer Night’s Dream was my favourite Shakespeare play. I’ve seen it at the theatre and it was so good. Unfortunately for A Level I had to study As You Like It. I disliked it before, but after a year of analysing the portrayal of love and discussing pastoral symbolism I hate it.

I never had dolls houses when I was a kid – I was far more into toy cars, scaletrix and lego. But I always made sure my lego houses had important things like stairs and doors. I used them to tell stories – I had lego hospital and fire and police so usually crime stories.

I loved LEGO too! I made my own LEGO house too, my brother and I fought over the pieces because I used many non-standard bricks to decorate it and he would want the bricks to build something else. Houses took up a lot of bricks, as you probably know. I was also into toy cars with the rugs/mats with roads printed on them. Amazing.

I wished I had a doll house, and if I did, I don’t remember it much. <3

I was a bit of a tomboy growing up (loved Hotwheels and toy cars), but I had a small phase where I liked Barbies and dolls. Anywho, I had one Barbie dollhouse that I could literally fit into. Seriously. One day, I crawled throw the lower level and got stuck.

Dollhouse: 1. Brandy: 0

That sounds hilarious. Here I was wishing I could shrink and live in a doll house. I was also into toy cars, my brother and I would fight over them. My particular favourite was this metallic blue one, my brother always wanted it to win all the races.

I used to have a dolls house. My parents spent quite a bit of money on it, then we only ended up playing with it for a couple of weeks. After that it just got used for storage. Sorry mum and dad!

I don’t think I ever thought about the logistics, but then I loved imagining everything. I wish I was that imaginative now!

I can’t believe that dolls house has that in it. Houses don’t really do that!

Doll houses bring me back to my childhood! I only had a Barbie doll house and it brought me endless joy. I never knew about the doll houses you posted here until many years after I got over it XD. But still, doll houses bring out the imagination of people. I feel you about the stairs and doors, but I guess the designers wanted to save money from producing it?

Another thing to consider is that the designers probably thought so little of children X’D. Whenever I built my Lego houses, I always made sure stairs are available and the interior is there as well… It was all fun and games until I made a 2nd floor XD.

I remember trying to make a second floor for a LEGO house – but there was no way of sticking the bricks horizontally! Shame. Yeah, I suppose with doll houses it was easier not to bother making things like doors and windows and stairs. Lazy. 😆

A toy library is such a cool idea! I wish there was one near me when I was growing up. I was never really into doll houses when I grew up. I think it’s because I liked stuffed animals more, though I also had Barbies. My brother and I ended up using book shelves to make apartments for our stuffed animals.

I did love looking at doll houses though, and I especially liked all the little furniture pieces. I think it’s weird that there are ones with elevators! That just doesn’t seem necessary! I also think the lack of doors and stairs on some of them is funny. I’ve found it odd before too. The lack of doors bothers me more because… you’d just be trapped!

I wish I could ‘like’ this comment because the last sentence made me laugh! I really just didn’t understand how a house wouldn’t even let you go from room to room. I had a few Barbies and stuffed animals too, but I was also really into those Starcastles and Polly Pocket, I didn’t mention them because I wrote a post on it a while ago, haha.

This was a dream I never had a chance to have. I did have a two-door refrigerator full of food for my Barbie, though! Hahaha!

Wowwww thanks for this post because now I wish I had a dollhouse! In my doll-playing days my family did not have enough money so I was thrilled that I got a car for my dolls. I recently watched The Secret World of Arrietty where there’s a dollhouse that’s actually functional where everything is just a miniature version. So cute! It’s a physical manifestation of our imaginations I think. :)

Ooooh, I love looking at the pictures of doll houses you posted! I used to adore them when I was a kid, especially since I never really played with as many (and never that extravagant) as I would have wanted to. Since doll houses were typically too expensive or space consuming, I made do with the “polly pocket” houses :)

I loved doll houses! I had a Barbie dream house, mine had an elevator, but I too loved looking at those fancy doll houses that Hobby Lobby has and sometimes displays. I would never have been able to have one though, because those couldn’t really fold up and put away. Barbie’s dream house would fold up and I could put in the closet when I was done playing with it.

Great memory!