***Update*** Detailed photos of the furniture we built for this house can be found here!
Growing up, my sister and I were excited to receive a Barbie house from our dad that he had built. It was wonderful! We spent hours and hours playing with that house and had it for many years. Unfortunately - it had one fatal flaw. The doorways to get from room to room were only about 4 inches tall. Dad, Barbies are 12 inches tall. It remains a mystery to this day why he made those doorways so short.
That's me on the left in blue and my sister, Anne, on the right. I wonder why we are dressed like Laura and Mary from Little House on the Prairie? Most kids sleep in floor length flannel gowns trimmed in lace, right?
For Christmas 2011, Brent and I decided to build Emma a Barbie house. She was just about to turn 5 so it seemed like a perfect time to do it. Building this dollhouse was easy on the budget, maybe $50 worth of materials, but extremely labor intensive. It literally took us 2 months to complete.
Let me take you on a little house tour:
For the entire back of the house, we used a piece of plywood cut to size and I painted the entire thing pink.
I made the kids stand next to it so you have a point of reference for it's size.
We'll begin with the master bedroom. Brent built the bed and wooden dresser. The mattress is a piece of foam covered in a scrap of an old swaddling blanket and hot clued underneath to keep it tight. The comforter is another swaddling blanket from Emma's infant days. I just hemmed up the edges with my sewing machine so it wouldn't fray. Pillows are made of scrap fabric and stuffed with stuffing.
The walls are wallpapered with scrapbook paper. That turned out to be a ton more work than I was expecting. Next time I would just paint them. It was impossible to match up the seams and now that it's been a few years, the adhesive is beginning to fail so the seams are becoming more noticeable.
The wall art are Christmas ornaments I found at Hobby Lobby. Don't forget to notice the crown moulding, wainscoting and chair rail!
Looks like these two are getting pretty comfortable! Should we tell GI Joe that he can take off his combat boots and helmet? Maybe they're role playing.
The pink shaggy carpet is some sweet fabric I found at the fabric store, cut to size and used spray adhesive to lay it down. No tack strip or pad needed here!
There is also a little mirror I hung on the wall, you can sort of see it on the right. Next to the master bedroom is the bathroom. Looks like we've got a peeping Tom!
Prince Charming is prepping for a shave. That bathroom countertop is made of real Corian - fancy, huh! I cut up some towels to make tiny Barbie size towels to put under the vanity.
Here you can see Barbie relaxing in the tub, which is actually a $3 plastic organizer from Bed Bath and Beyond. Did you know pink Barbie bathtubs you buy in the store are over $20? That's cray!! Nice tights, Charming.
The flooring is special linoleum they make just for doll houses. You may have noticed there is no toilet. My question to you would be, did you ever have Barbie use the toilet when you were growing up? Barbie just doesn't do THAT.
Finishing out the 2nd floor is the bedroom for the baby twins. Brent made these adorable little cribs and then we made mattresses out of foam and little blankets to go on top. We used spray paint to finish all of the furniture, there was no way to get a brush in all those nooks and crannies.
Moving to the lower level, we have a living room. And a Christmas tree, with a monkey hanging off the back. OWEN!!!! Miniature gifts used to be under that tree. Owen thought they were real so he opened them all when no one was looking, he was confused to find a cube of styrofoam inside.
Brent, of course, built the sofa and coffee table. I happened to have that blue fabric laying around which worked great for the cushions. It should be noted that when Brent was building all of this furniture, it was important to build it to scale. So frequently, I would see dolls laying around in his shop that he was using to test furniture sizes with. To a visitor, that may have looked incredibly awkward.
Prince Charming finally showed up with that drink Rapunzel was waiting for! If you're me, you looked right past Prince Charming and at those doorway moldings - seriously folks, those look better than most of our real houses!
I wish this coffee table was life size - it's really cute.
Next to the living room is the dining room. I felt like Brent really outdid himself on this dining room set. We wanted to build our own furniture because as I could recall from my childhood, plastic Barbie furniture was always so flimsy that it would tip over when you put your Barbie in it. Plus, it is really expensive and it breaks!
The chandelier is another Christmas ornament and the "rug" is a scrap from some of Owen's bedroom curtains.
And of course we have hardwood floors in the dining room! Looks like it could use a little cleaning.
Through the dining room is the kitchen. The gathering space of any home. We've got wood cabinets and real laminate counter tops. The flooring is linoleum as well.
And finally to the attic. Those bunk beds will also fit a full size Barbie. Notice the two skylights on the ceiling. I know, hard to look at the skylights when you can't see past those little girls' hair - why does doll hair always get so crazy?
The roof suffered some damage from Hurricane Owen in 2012. Insurance wouldn't cover it so we have yet to get it repaired.
I love that Barbie cars only come in pink. How do you think these two feel, cruising around in a pink convertible?
I almost forgot - Brent also built a hot tub that actually holds water! It weighs about 20 lbs though, so I am usually the one that has to lug it outside for the kids to play with.
Would we ever build one of these again? Heck no!! Well, maybe we would, if we didn't have to wall paper it. I also would have figured out a way to put some lighting in it so it wasn't as dark towards the back. It was way too much work, but we had a good time putting it together and we know Emma loves it.